Thursday, September 18, 2014

NEWS - Triple dose of metal for Indian Summer - Anathema, Carcass and Dragonforce. Neck snapping time!

REGULAR readers will know that earlier this year we dubbed it the "Summer of Metal" given the plethora of appearances in Norn Iron by international and national acts - a big debt of appreciation owed by fans to all the promoters is due.

But as temperatures reach unfeasibly high levels for mid-September the 'Summer of Metal' rolls on...

Tonight [Thursday, 19th September] Anathema and Mother's Cake descend upon Limelight2 in a Distortion Project show sure to intrigue and batter at the same time. Unfortunately, owing to circumstances beyond our control we can't be there....but that doesn't stop you shipping your sorry metal asses to this gig!"

Tomorrow night prepare to be pummeled. Carcass return to these shores for the first time. Following reports from our reporters Zakk & Nadz at Sonisphere it's set to be one hell of a show with a nice balance of Carcass classics and newer works. Tracks of Surgical Steel fit right into the set.

Some weeks ago we saw support act Coldwar at the excellent Monsters of Rot....broken wrists aside, suffice to say they were great and you have to check out their excellent Pantheist album.

Now, after all that things change pace on Saturday night as the metal gears are shifted into hyperdrive as Dragonforce bring their Maximum Overload tour to town. Dear metallic gods this is one band that are loyal to this town - they keep coming back. Something in the water we think...

Their Limelight2 appearance is notable for a few reasons, not just their loyalty to Belfast. They are one of the few bands that have survived a disastrous tour and re-emerged energized and a little more 'daring.'

Yes, Dragonforce daring? What we hear you cry! Thin on this...the first trance of Dragonforce releases were all about fast as fuck solos, big choruses and strange Nintendo sounds.

With Marc Hudson now handling vocal duties they seem to have emerged re-born as a pure Power Metal act - albeit with the back catalogue still on show for guitar histrionics.

On Maximum Overload they have reined back some of their excesses with a couple of mid-tempo tracks, and a better balance overall.

Of course we'll see the usual solo trade offs between Tottman and Li, but we are most pleased to get to see them up close and personal.

Support comes from the totally excellent Conjuring Fate. Be warned that the Fate are on stage at 7.30. Do not miss them!

A few tickets still remain for all the above shows...just a few.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Weaponized NWOBHM - Weapon (UK) Rise from the Ashes with classic smooth metal release

OKAY children, gather round the comfort of the fire, settle back and listen to a tale of way back; when denim and leather were the only fashion statement worth making, when bringing on the heartbreak was a source of joy and when we were running free to the sound of heavy metal.

As the winters of discontent and economic hardship merged into Thatcherite austerity for the poor and champagne lunches for the rich punk had become a statement rather than rebellious, and many of the originators of metal and hard rock were disappearing up their own arses with verbose shows that seemed to last decades.

But, before the fashionistas had even began to don frilly shirts and declare themselves as 'new wave' musicians, something stirred in the belly of the beast: punk attitude mind melded with the musicianship of rockers and metal heads.

Thus before it was even given a title, across the land the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), was born and spread like a musical plague across the globe, delivering millions of teenagers the music they wanted to hear. A middle finger was extended to the mainstream, and BBC1 and ITV were forced to include theses hairy type loud bands on to their shows.

However, while tapes were traded across the Atlantic to influence the birth of thrash here in the UK and Ireland the coveted hours were deep on a Friday night when the late, great Tommy Vance presented the Friday Rock Show, sharing classics and the new sounds of the NWOBHM.

If kiddies, you are expecting to check into the deep bowels of the NWOBHM cellar and find sounds that echo through to 'modern' metal and its scenes, you will disappointed. In 2014 many of the bands from those halcyon days seem 'lighter'.

But whether it was Sweet Savage, Praying Mantis, Tygers of Pan Tang, White Spirit, Girlschool and many more they provided something vibrant, something combining the visceral with tunefulness.

Among those knighted warriors of metal were Weapon, now named Weapon (UK) to avoid confusion with a US act, who recorded a double 'A' sided single, and toured extensively with Motorhead.

Alas, they faded away in the heady days of the 80s. But you can't keep a good band down [Even Hetfield adorns his cut-off with a Weapon patch...although whether that is payback for using sections of the Weapon song 'Set The Stage Alight' on 'Hit The Lights remains undetermined....] Earlier this year Weapon (UK) released their 'Rising From The Ashes' album.

Why are we taking you on this little musical history lesson, and reviewing the album?

For a start it is a great album. Secondly Weapon (UK) will be appearing at Limelight2 on November 8th in a line up that includes Donum Dei, Conjuring Fate, Midnight Transmission and Rabid Bitch of the North.

As you settle down to consider how great this line-up is we are more than a little excited to see Weapon (UK) play tracks from 'Rising From The Ashes'.

This is an album that includes great hard rock melodies such as on 'Bad Reputation' and 'Wonderland', classic NWOBHM riffing ('Ride the Moriah!' and Burning Skies') and considered, well structured rockers such as 'Warrior' and 'Alamein'.

But the question is always when a band returns, are they stuck in the past? As Black Sabbath proved on 13 (apart from Rick Rubin's production) you can still keep the 'soul' of the band without being stuck in yesteryear.

And Weapon (UK) have achieved that balancing act. There are a few moments when they disappear back into the past; but they are few and far between.

Keeping the intrinsic 'sound' of NWOBHM without sounding like a parody of the era Jeff Summers guitar work sounds fresh, while Ian Sweeting (drums) and PJ Philips (bass) play under-stated rhythms that belie the devilish patterns.

Dublin-born Danny Hynes vocals are sweet, ('Bad Reputation') and impassioned ('Bloodsoaked Rock'), but the whole essence of each element of the band is summed up on closer 'Killer Instinct', a super exemplar or how to make NWOBHM songs contemporary.

What is exciting about this release is that it is not just a re-tread of the NWOBHM sound, it is a fresh interpretation without the band trying to fit in with what is 'expected' of metal in 2014.

From the ashes arises a phoenix, spreading wings through re-birth: Weapon (UK) have not lost their roots...nor their edge.

Review by Jonny
Rise From The Ashes is available now
Weapon (UK)'s November 8th appearance is a Distortion Project promotion.
Tickets on the door, doors open at 4pm

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

EP REVIEW: Dead Daisies rockin' out with a set of good old fever pitch on Face I Love

CAST your mind back some time and you'll remember that the 'supergroup' that is Dead Daisies wowed audiences when they supported Black Star Riders in a Christmas show in Limelight1.

They proved that they were not just another band of geezers intent on lapping up the cash, but were a bunch of musos having a good time, and playing some killer rock tunes. [Review of that gig is here.]

After achieving critical acclaim and hooking up some stellar tour spots (they toured with Kiss and Def Leppard last month) the band have released their 'Face I Love' ep, a collection of four tracks.

And, they've even released an app to go along with the release...  More on that later.

Powered by the stunning vocalist, Jon Stevens (Noiseworks/INXS) and co-founder David Lowry, the combination of these two with bassist and showman Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy/Whitesnake), Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Richard Fortus and key tinkler Dizzy Reed and recent drum addition of Brian Tichy (Ozzy/Billy Idol) this is a group that knows its chops.

Released yesterday (September 8th), this is a collection of three original tracks and a cover of the band's favourite Beatles song, 'Helter Skelter'.

Lead track, 'Face I Love' is a smooth riffing rock 'n' roller, languid yet powerful - just as hard rock should be played, with Reed's keys perfectly backing Fortus and Lowry's tones.

'Angel Eyes' is a track with a dirty drive and Stevens vocals roll out as if his vocal chords have been coated with the best bourbon. The pace is picked up for 'Your Karma', with a real honky tonk groove, as all the band step up to get it down.

The cover of 'Helter Skelter' is pure rock nectar, although has an echo of Gillan's version, albeit with super solo snatches from Fortus that may owe a little to Bernie Tormé.

Overall this four-track is an enjoyable placeholder for a band that can bridge the classic rock/Radio2 gap, yet can sit in playlists of hard rock and classic metal.

And - as mentioned earlier - there is a 'Face I Love' app enabling Facebook users to upload a picture of the "face they love" on to Dead Daisies skull and watch it bloom...old fogeys may no truck with this witchcraft, but we're sure plenty will have a dabble with the app...and groove out to all the tracks on Face I Love.

Review by Jonny
Face I Love is out now on Spitfire Music/PIAS

LIVE REVIEW: Raconteur, musician, entertainer Mike Tramp wows with acoustic set at Diamond Rock Club

WHEN it comes to live entertainment, it is a tough gig. Entertainers are supposed to stand in front of strangers, making them smile, laugh, cry, applaud and generally go home happy.

Standing on a stage, with only an acoustic guitar and a mic makes the task even harder. No backing band, no fireworks or dancing girls...

But when Mike Tramp returned to the Diamond Rock Club in Ahoghill, County Antrim on Saturday (6th September) he proved himself once again to be a fine raconteur, a sublime singer, a true musical troubadour and a top rate entertainer.

Before the former White Lion frontman took to the stage local singer/songwriter Matt Fitzsimmons hopped atop a bar stool, strapped on his acoustic and opened proceedings with Chris Tattler playing lead foil alongside.

Matt is undoubtedly a fine performer and has a bag of songs up his sleeve worth airing. Similarly Chris - formerly co-conspirator with Matt, and Midnight Transmission - can lay down licks and lead work to a high standard.

While the closing set of cover versions always go down well, it is Matt's own compositions that need to be heard more. Let's hear more about your global adventures in music Matt!

After a suitable break for beverages, the audience gathered round the stage, acolytes to Mike Tramp's past and present work. No stranger to Ahoghill, Tramp is immediately at ease with his acoustic set.

Having been touring this set for a number of weeks around Europe - and being in familiar surroundings - he is both confident and in almost celebratory mode.

Making a point to thank Derwin for keeping live rock going, Tramp's set was a well worked mix of White Lion and Freak of Nature songs. While these were the ones most familiar to those present it is fair to say that his solo compositions stand proud beside the previous canon.

Keeping thoughts real, Tramp recounted his time as a vocalist in the 80s, recently confessing to "opening that well sealed box" and intermingling jocularity about the big hair and the many magazines of the time to a certain poignancy for the days when music was appreciated not consumed.

Noting Tramp's comments on the importance of people still turning up to listen to shows, this was an almost exact echo of the comments of English extreme thrash metal act Collapse's front man Harry Watson, who six hours earlier thanked everyone present for taking the time to turn up. [We were there with our colleagues from Planet Mosh at Belfast's Limeligh2 earlier in the day to review Sinocence's 13th Birthday show - review here.]

And, it is in the live environment that songs must be heard, and performances seen, in context rather than bracketed in a playlist sandwiched between advertisements about life insurance to remind us of our mortality.

Our mortality was something Tramp hinted at a number of times. The age and profile of rock fans varies enormously. While metal still attracts the younger enthusiasts - albeit in smaller numbers than in the past - the audience for hard rock acts is claimed to be on the decline.

Like a number of recent similar shows in Northern Ireland the age profile is very much in the 40 to 60 demographic.

But that is a double-edged sword. While those that listened to White Lion in the land of long ago may be adding a few pounds they also now have - in large - children who are older and hard rockin' are not rooted to the house as much now that their progeny has evolved beyond burbling and CBBC.

That means that the career of Tramp and similar acts should - and can - keep going. When there are songs as strong as 'Trust in Yourself' (opening track of the new Museum album) aired live together with 'Mother' and 'Hymn for Ronnie' there is clearly powerful rock and mature songwriting available to those that choose to listen beyond what the fat radio controllers say we should listen to.

Stand-out tracks on the night included 'Broken Heart' and a pretty cool cover of 'Radar Love', but the audience were more than content with the set and to listen to the war stories, the reflections and recollections; more than happy to singalong; more than happy to applaud, acclaim, empathise and laugh with and toast Mike Tramp.

The job of entertainer is not just the t-shirt or CD sales: the cash pays the bill, but surely when an entertainer such as Mike Tramp delivers this way it should be the balm to any setbacks and will propel him to keep on doing what he is doing.

Review by Jonny
Mike Tramp's latest release 'Museum' is now available on Target or by visiting

Monday, September 08, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Blue Pills produce something of a stunner with their first full-length release

PROCLAIMED as the true inheritors of hard rock heritage - never mind what the media say about Royal Blood - Blue Pills have earned real appreciation from the rock intelligentsia.

And, with the release of their first full length album, Blue Pills don't disappoint.

From the opening track of 'High Class Woman', vocalist Elin Larsson has us right where she wants us....hooked.

With the driving bass lines and a soothing guitar that would make Jimi sit up and take notice himself, she has a voice similar to the soul legend of Ms Aretha Franklin herself.

This is one band that, if there is any justice in the world of rock, are going go far and rightly so.

Not one band out there today can blend these styles together and make it work. Want proof? Listen to 'Ain't No Change' and I dare to try and stop the head from nodding along.
Zack Anderson's bass and Corey Berry's drum keep the whole thing moving along as Dorian Sorriaux's guitar soothes and rocks; provides a counterpoint to Larsson's vocals and helps Blue Pills stand above the rest.
With the haunting 'No Hope Left For Me', even Portishead wish they wrote this track years ago.
Much of that atmosphere, and the sensitive appreciation of their forebears is down to the production and mix by Don Alsterberg, who achieves a delicate balance between a sound harking back to the late 60s and early 70s while keeping the overall sound contemporary.
With a European tour coming up this year, make sure you do not miss these guys live if you can.
As for me I'm off to listen to this again for the fifth straight time in a row...
Review by Wes Morrisey - Our Man In Dublin
Additional notes/Sub-editing by Jonny
Blue Pills - Blue Pills is out now on Nuclear Blast

ALBUM REVIEW: X-Drive fail to stand out with solid if unspectacularUS rock

X-DRIVE, founded by guitarist Jeremy Brunner, includes drummer Fred Fischer and bassist James Lomenzo, well-known amongst White Lion, Black Label Society and Megadeth fans. Completing the line up is Burning Rain/Montrose vocalist, Keith St. John.
And they have managed to produce a competent and solid, if unspectacular album.
'Get Your Rock On' comes across as fairly 'traditional' American melodic rock, tinged with a touch of the blues.
With album opener, 'Love’s A Bitch', you're met with raw guitar riffs, and St. John's bluesy vocal delivery. The second and title track, 'Get Your Rock On'  gives a nod to early Velvet Revolver, albeit a slightly watered down version.

The mid tempo (a common theme on the album) ‘California’ is the most melodic and indeed memorable song on the album. It is the first single released. A catchy chorus, made for America! .
The next two songs are both in stark contrast to one another, 'Turn The Noize Down' (yes, the 'Z' is actually in there) is noisy and raw.
‘Beyond The Angels,’ on the other hand, is the album's big ballad, in the best traditions of a melodic rock power ballad, ticking all of the required boxes.

 With ‘Change Of Heart,’ the band again goes for a more laid back, acoustic approach. Closing tune ‘Love Breaks The Fool’ again hints at blues tinged melodic rock, similar in style to Whitesnake (arguably on an average day!)
The album is a solid if unspectacular release that will no doubt delight many whilst passing others by.
To our ears, the album suffers from too many mid paced tracks that simply blend into one another  and it would benefit greatly from a few more up tempo tracks.

St.John has a great rock voice and deserves a wider audience.To us, his vocals are indeed the main highlight of the album. Other than 'California', we’d be hard pushed to remember too much about the album and  there isn't much here to suggest X Drive will stand out from the many US bands already delivering music of this genre.
Review by Baal
X-Drive's Get Your Rock On is out now on Frontiers

ALBUM REVIEW: Garcia keeps the groove coming with self-titled release

WELL it had to happen. the multi-talented John Garcia finally clawed his way out of the shadow of those he has played and collaborated with previously.
The first solo album from the former Kyuss front man has been unleashed and boy it doesn't disappoint.
The opening track hits you hard and fast. Rolling Stoned harks back to the glory of Kyuss, but this is much more powerful and groove laden.
In an age of pop singers and their fifteen song writers, it's great to see someone with a real talent for telling the story in his song coming out a consistent album that does not fail to disappoint.
For someone of this calibre to only do collaborative work of late and with those laid to rest rumours of a Kyuss reunion long gone is a shame now rectified.
This album is a work of a man who has something to say and what a way to say it.
Kyuss fans will love this..........but then again so should you.
This is an no excuse, no sympathy album. Keep them coming Mr Garcia, because if this is your first solo album  I'm already looking forward to the assault of the second one.  
Review by Wes Morrisey - Our Man In Dublin
The self-titled release is out now on Napalm Records

LIVE REVIEW: Birthday partying metal celebrations as Sinocence, Collapse, By Any Means, Cutter and Donum Dei level Ormeau Avenue

ANNIVERSARY celebrations, new songs, mic cables trailing the floor, huge units from England, twisted ankles and pure metal ecstasy - what else could you expect when Sinocence celebrate 13 years of heavy fucking metal.

Yep, arriving at the auspicious age of 13 in the fickle world of heavy metal is no mean achievement, and Sinocence deserved to bask in this celebration as they move on to their next chapter with 'No Gods, No Masters Vol 2' moving closer to completion.

Gathering a five-band bill at Limelight2 on Saturday (September 6th) Sinocence welcomed English heavy act Collapse, local hardcore heroes By Any Means, stoner act Cutter and young metal thrashers Donum Dei.

After Friday night's blast with Maverick, Conjuring Fate and Villanova Junction (review here) this was further evidence of the diversity of styles and sheer talent on evidence in Northern Ireland.

Opening act Donum Dei have been growing in stature of late, finessing raw talent into a powerful thrash, contemporary metallic set of precise noise.

Despite Thomas Marshall's twisted ankle he maintained his presence, playing a rhythm foil for Stuart McLoughlin's lead, and matching the melodic runs.

'Gravelands' and new track 'Terrorize' stood out as Dean Kane maintained his hyperactive bass playing, and Alastair Marshall anchored the sound with solid drumming.

Growing with every performance the next stage is to make each track more distinctive by altering their set's pacing and considering at times varying guitar tones. However, overall Donum Dei's performance once again screamed potential.

Cutter's stoner metal is performed with aplomb and with a straightforward attitude to their style, and a real focus on delivering.

Featuring songs from the 'No Light' ep Cutter were worthy of a close listen - but why the hats?

Ritalin - even triple doses -  couldn't keep Chris (CC) from By Any Means calm on stage or off stage...from the start he's rampaging on the floor, calling his hymns of hysterical anger as he runs and stamps throughout the venue - or at least as far as his mic cable will allow.

But while many focus on CC's roaming and charismatic energy it is By Any Means total output that deserves recognition and utmost respect.

Chris McDowells's bass groove matches Paul 'BAM' Anthony's staunch and precise riffs.

To have metalheads, hardcore fans, rockers and almost everyone joining in with "Built On, Respect" reflects the acclaim and the respect that By Any Means have earned that respect; and in true hardcore style Steve Martin and hard core chanter Wayne Donaldson (from Defyed) joined in on well as anyone else who knew the words.... Earned with honesty, earned with basically true hardcore attitude.

Is it wrong to have such fun when By Any Means batter their hardcore hymns? No, because with that honesty comes devotion. (And everyone enjoyed the moment when CC tapped the mobile phone of someone not paying sufficient attention...)

Collapse travelled all the way from Engerland for the Sinocence celebrations...and what a surprise they turned out to be...a fucking loud surprise!

Fronted by the huge unit that is Harry Watson, Collapse delivered a huge noise. Not familiar with their output previously, suffice to say the commitment, the modern thrash, the pounding was enough to convince almost all who attended to check out more Collapse tunes.

Guitarists Andy Ongley and Christain Stevens laid down some awe inspiring riffing and soloing. Fuck they were the right type of loud.

Ahh Sinocence...13 years and still thrashing out the metal the right way. 'Long Way Down'? Great song, but fuck no, they're on the up not going down!

This was proof that making a long journey can result in a destination that is a mere waypoint towards yet more excellence. (Read an interview with Anto here.)

New song from 'No Gods, No Master Vol 2' 'Ascension Code' slots seamlessly into a set that reached back through their back catalogue with 'Perfect Denial' and 'Metal Box'. Too many great songs to mention...

Anto's soloing, Moro's riffing, Jim's bass attack and Davy's drums meld into a tuneful brutality that reaches down to the core of all true devotees of 'The Metal'.

Still going strong - 13 years is just a date on the journey, a date that was marked in style, marked with a Distortion Project RockD show that deserves to be noted as a benchmark for all that follows.

We all should hail Sinocence, groove with Cutter, get down with By Any Means, and thrash it all out with Collapse and Donum Dei.

But, as Saturday was all about raising pints and horns to Sinocence suffice to say that this anniversary was marked in style and we can't wait for the 14th anniversary, the 15th anniversary, the 20th get the picture.

Review by Jonny
(Additional notes from Zakk)
Photos courtesy of MetalplanetBelfast


Sunday, September 07, 2014

LIVE REVIEW: Rock & Metal magic strikes a spell over the Voodoo thanks to Villanova Junction, Conjuring Fate & Maverick

BELFAST'S Voodoo had a serious spell of rock and metal cast upon it's Fountain Street foundations as the gods of noise gathered to join the audience for a triple bout of hard rockin' and heavy metal being laid down upon those there to witness it.

The date (Friday, 5th September) had originally been scheduled with Maverick supporting Snakebite, but with the 'Bite not able to sink its fangs the Maverick crew invited Conjuring Fate and Villanova Junction to join them - and what an inspired move it was.

Troupers to the end, hard edged blues act Villanova Junction had to deal with a lack of regular stickman, so rather than their usual set they said they were "just going to jam" in the words of vocalist and guitarist Joel Harris, who then proceeded to lay down blistering solos, blues jamming, and dextrous runs up and down the fretboard as Josh Bickerstaff kept the bass nailed tight.

Guest vocalists, stand-in made no difference. Playing their own songs and some inspired covers such as a slowed down 'Johnny Be Good' and 'Sweet Home Chicago' Villanova Junction proved that when there is talent adversity can be shunned for the show.

Many moons ago, the lord that was Tommy Vance shared his wisdom over the airwaves, and Kerrang! actually reported on metal, the music form that became dubbed as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal emerged and snarls, musicianship and skill counted.

Taking that 'hallowed' format, giving it a contemporary edge, and then kicking the living daylights out of it all for the sake of the music, the glory and the audience Conjuring Fate arose from the denizens and scenesters of Fountain Street on Friday, casting them a dismayed glance over their shoulders and shat a pure metal performance on the heads of all.

Unadulterated, unafraid, the Fate, led by Tommy's heroic vocals, flanked by Karl, Phil, Steve and backed by Boggy proved just why they are worthy of opening for Dragonforce, but for many also why they can stand toe to toe with many of the so-called 'big bands'.

Trading solos, riffs - and throwing the occasional 'proper' metal pose - Phil and Karl seared throughout the set. And, Phil showed the real reason why you put your foot on the monitor when playing with a flying 'V'. It's to nestle that awkward body somewhere...and the guitar too.

Drawing from their ep, 'House on Haunted Hill' and showing a varied and stylish take on their material. Recent shows in Dublin and Keady (on the same day!) have added yet more confidence.

But to have that musical swagger you got to be able to deliver on all levels - which undoubtedly Conjuring Fate did. The recent incarnations of bands like Helloween could do well to try to achieve this level of confident songwriting and performance. No re-treads here, Conjuring Fate were driving on brand new slicks as they tore across the Belfast evening.

Maverick - well this is where one has to take a back seat momentarily from the noise and buzz surrounding this ten-legged hard rock/metal act and try to be objective....

Ahhh fuck that - Maverick deserve every ounce of praise they get and every ounce they will get in the future. Just witness them perform, chuck objectivity out the window and get your head banging and fists in the air.

Dave Balfour stalks the stage, grin affixed, roaring for all his might as if the sleaze of the Sunset Strip of the mid-80s and the Hammy Odeon of glory metal days had been moved lock, stock and barrel of beer to Northern Ireland.

Ryan, finger fitness now restored, and Ric sounding like their combined 12 strings were 36 strings not 24, while Richie (bass) and Mike (drums) provided a musical backdrop that was as every bit precise as it was muscular.

With new album 'Quid Pro Quo' due for release at the end of November, Maverick aired new song, familiar anthemic rockers, metallic edge and downright good time madness was front and centre.

The airing of the lead release from the album 'Paint by Numbers' was just one of the many highlights. And, the moment somewhere in time that should have been caught by many more came when Maverick were joined on stage by Tommy and Phil from Conjuring Fate for Maiden's 'Wasted Years'.

From Villanova Junction through Conjuring Fate to Maverick: there is clear and evident proof that no years were wasted in preparing for musical majesty as the spellbound crowd acclaimed all three bands who wove their rock and metallic mystic magic at the Voodoo.

Review by Jonny

Friday, September 05, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Brimstone Coven bridging metal and psychedelia

WHILE we always contend that Black Sabbath killed the Age of Aquarius many people forget that the inventors of Heavy Metal had a lot of psychedelic songs and moods - Metallica left out the "hippie" bit in 'Sabbra Cadabra' and used a piece of 'National Acrobat' to bridge the gap.

And, Brimstone Coven are all about bridging the gap between the hippie, drug inspired musings á la Woodstock and proto-metal such as Iron Butterfly.

This self-titled release - their third album - certainly earns them the spot of being a "retro-hard rock/doom" band as it is put in the blurb.

At times the music within is almost hypnotic such as at the conclusion 'Blood On The Wall'.

While the trance like psychedelic mood is firmly established throughout this album, it works with heavy groove from Corey Roth (guitar) and Andrew D'Cagna (bass). D'Cagna's role is very much like that of Geezer Butler in early (and on 13) Sabbath material; holding on to the whole thing.

This is particularly evident on 'The Grave' which also sees Justin Woods drums echo a certain Mr Bill Ward.

That is not to say that Brimstone Coven are mere Sabs copyists. Within the retro sound there is a reach for the late 60s and early 70s era of music, before genres and scenes became "de rigeur".

John Williams vocals in particular merge real resonance with an ominous take on that sound; sounding particularly haunted on 'Lord and Master', which could be a narrative for a Hammer Horror film, or a Dennis Wheatley. When this track speeds up  just before four minutes in suddenly the album's strength kicks in. It is almost the defining moment. Roth delivers a well measured and speedy solo, while D'Cagna and Wood tear through. Then at the five minute mark they wend the tempo down for Roth to echo the earlier menace of Williams. These are four musicians confident in their inspirations and re-imagining their sounds for the 21st Century.

'The Grave' and opener 'Cosmic Communion' are among the stand-out tracks on this release. But the band - and their label Metal Blade - have gone the extra mile in unveiling Brimstone Coven.

When they were first emerging from the Western Virgina scene they recorded an ep, which has been re-mastered to give the package a more rounded introduction for those unfamiliar to Brimstone Coven.

"Creighton" is the man behind the artwork, which is a clear nod to the glorious early 70s album sleeves, and serves to give it a 'feel' that places the music right at the heart of a vision of flower children seeking out more enlightenment in the dark arts than the peace and love of the Age Of Aquarius.

Taking the album as a whole, Brimstone Coven have produced a slightly off-the-wall recording for many modern listeners, but after a spin or two the glory of it emerges - especially on the wonderful 'Folly of Faust'.

Yes, there is Sabbath, Pentagram, early Floyd and a smidgeon of Zeppelin contained within, but Brimstone Coven have managed to produce something worthwhile from that mix. Just one word of warning: don't take hallucinogens while listening to this...could end up with a very weird trip.

Brimstone Coven by Brimstone Coven is out now on Metal Blade
Review by Jonny

Thursday, September 04, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Bestial Blackness from Belphegor on Conjuring the Dead

FROM the depths of hell one of the seven princes of that forsaken place, Belphegor emerged...then the demonic prince heard the band he was named after, Belphegor, and went straight back to Lucifer to report that their evil intent was being spread around the world by Helmuth and Serpenth.

And, now, once more Belphegor are spreading their dark symphonies in the shape of 'Conjuring The Dead', their latest release in a long line of black metal albums.

Full on as always, this is how the label's press release describes it: "The ten new compositions unleash a state of brutality yet unknown to mankind. Soundscapes of a melodic monstrosity, forceful & fierce yet fulfilled with razor sharp precision. Straight in-your-face onslaughts, devastating string-slaughter, blazing machine gun drums and the sickest vo-kills [sic]." 

Does it live up to the hype? Can it live up to hype that has so much hyperbole?

On one level it does, and on another it is more of the same from Belphegor with slightly more mature musicianship. And, that's not necessarily a bad thing...

Take for example the track 'Lucifer, Take her'. A combination of brooding riffs, slow delicate sections and full-tilt speed have all the ingredients one would expect from Belphegor.

But the danger always is that it can be easy to descend into parody of oneself. The same 'evil vo-kills' and the same malevolence. However, Helmuth and Serpenth escape this by excelling within the tight constraints of their blueprint.

Aided by session drummer, Marthyn and guitarist Schoft they have produced a deeper range of variety within the band dynamic.

One must also take into consider that Helmuth was near to death in 2011 with a typhus infection. To come back in 2014 with such a powerful album is a testament to the force of will within the band.

That force of will is evident from the start with 'Gasmask Terror' unfurling a viciousness and straight punch into the face. Salzburg - from which Belphegor originate - must have something in the air to piss these guys off.

The lyrical themes are the usual blasphemy, delivered with enough malevolence to avoid it sounding ridiculous.

Glenn Benton (Deicide) and Attila Csihar (Mayhem) join in the fun and games on 'Legion of Destruction' to keep the hate quotient at a high level.

From 'Gasmask Terror' to closer 'Pactum in Aeternum' Belphegor have delivered an extremely enjoyable dose of blackened death metal, full of musical punch, and enough lyrical vileness to bring a smile...if you know what we mean! Yes, it mostly lives up to the hype.

Review by Jonny
Conjuring the Dead is out now on Nuclear Blast

Gasmask Terror give you as taste....

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

INTERVIEW: Sinocence: 13 years, new release, stormer of a gig coming on Saturday and much more

SINOCENCE. If you look carefully in the dictionary you'll see Sinocence's picture next to the definition of 'stalwarts'. And, that's not a negative thing for a band that has been developing and growing.

Now as the band prepare to celebrate their 13th birthday party we pinned Anthony McCaughley to the floor, and threatened to take away his guitar until he told us a little about those 13 years, what was coming next for Sinocence and...well a lot more. Including a declaration about keeping going and going... 

Back in 2001, to quote Douglas Adams: "men were men, women were women and small green furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were small green furry creatures from Alpha Centauri" and metal was once again rising, undefeated by trends or fashions, and the 'Sinners' were just starting off.

Looking back on it Anto had this to say: "Christ, that’s so long ago!, when we started I can honestly say there were no expectations at all. I can remember just wanting to get playing at RocKD in Belfast. Coming from Lurgan, Belfast was the “Big Smoke”. 

"There was nothing going on compared to what its like now in the local scene.  We were just happy to get a carryout and hit practice."

And, the band really didn't expect to be still going. "I’d have to say not a chance in hell," said the six-string slinger. 

"Things happen, people move away, get married, have kids.  You don’t tend to think will I be doing this coming 40!! Still, the feeling in the room when we play and write is as fresh as its ever bee.  When that stops,  then we’ll stop. We’ll not be faking it.

It has been quite a ride, at which they have played with rock and metal luminaries such as W.A.S.P., Prong and many more.

But was there an act that Sinocence learned from? 

"Out of all the bands we’ve played with we learnt the most on the Blaze Bayley tour," said Anto.  "About what to do and more importantly what not to do. 

"Playing has never been an issue in the band, it's more being prepared and having the right gear. We got a lot of great advice from Jay, one of Blaze’s guitarists at the time.  The Fyredogs in Germany just laughed at our gear haha when they seen it.

"This, and Jim, joining prompted the move from pedal boards to real tube sound. On the live front you can’t help but learn from bands like Machine Head and Prong… pure Pros."

Machine Head is also a gig that features highly in the memorable top shows the band have played, and we wanted to know what was the band's top gig, and what has been the favourite show Anto has attended

"Played? Over 13 years that’s a tough one. Nottingham  Rock City sticks right up there but then the local shows we did in Lurgan looking back were fucking crazy!. Off the chart, never see that level of intensity at any of the locals shows these days.
"To pin it down though to one show  it would have to the Machine Head gig in Belfast.  A band like that, sold out show. Pure volume! Was just fantastic!
"Attended? Flying in the face of metal and thrash the Skid Row/Ugly Kid Joe gig in Dublin was just another level.  The vibe between band and audience was something else, everyone looked like they were loving every second of it. Super positive gig and just tapped right into that."
At recent shows Sinocence have played tracks from the long-awaited Vol. 2 of No Gods, No Masters. When can we expect to hear it? 
"Closer than everyone thinks!" he said. "We’ve four and a half done so just the final part of song five. Looking at going into the studio end of October. 
"Songs feel really fresh and the reaction to the ones we’ve played live has been great so we’ll be ready to nail that down soon."
When that is down the challenge for Sinocence is what lies in store for the next 13 years?
"Well, 'No Gods, No Masters' Vols 2 & 3 will be getting finished", said Anto. "We’ll be shooting a few videos and hopefully hitting the UK next year for a few festival dates and shows with the UK bands we have been bringing over this year.
"But we have delusions or wild dreams. We're not too concerned about getting signed or any of that stuff.
"We are self-signed and we are best sorting ourselves! As I said there as long as the energy is up and the band are writing decent material we will continue."
With 13 years behind them it's also a time to reflect on what Sinocence would like to see as their legacy.
"Touring the world 5 times over with Slayer after 13.5 years on the go!!" said the guitarist.
"Seriously though its something I never been asked before to be honest. 
"Has to be the song writing and hard work. Ask any band together for awhile how hard it is to keep it going. It takes stamina and real will to do it.  I am proud of the fact that we are still going and proud that we are the strongest we’ve ever been at the minute."
Anto continued: "Sounds nuts but it's just how we are feeling at the minute.  The new songs are rocking, we have a fantastic back catalogue to choose from live, our gears now top notch.
"I’ll tell you what, ask me that again in five years. I'm not ready to fully answer that fucking question just yet!"
On Saturday 6th September in  Limelight2, The Sinocence 13th Birthday Party Bash takes place featuring Ourselves, Collaspe (UK), By Any Means, Cutter & Donum Dei.  Doors at 4pm.
Anto said: This bill is one of the strongest you’ll see this year! Get down early muckers! "
Normally we don't let anyone use capital letters like that, but he seemed so emphatic...

NEWS: Three months to shake 2014

THE Summer of Metal has passed and now we enter the aural assault of autumn, when metal, punk and hard rock ravage the passing days until we toast Saturnalia and bid goodbye to one of the heaviest years in Belfast.

Already autumn has had a metallic welcome with Karma to Burn, Desert Storm and the might of Armagh - Astralnaut levelling the first day of September.

It would be impossible to list all that is happening (well it isn't impossible but we can't be arsed...) over the next three months, but suffice to say it will be loud!

You can always kick things off at the Menagerie on Thursday with Thee Dreadfuls, Tusks and THVA, before heading to the Voodoo on Friday for Maverick.

Nicely warmed up by then Saturday has a plethora of choices...

Mike Tramp is up at the Diamond Rock Bar with Matt Fitzsimons in support, and Stop, Stop, Start Again are playing with The Lee Harveys and Mohican Jack in The Pavilion.

It's also a day of celebrations as Sinocence have a 13th Birthday party...helping them with this anniversary are English band Collapse, By Any Means, Cutter and Donum Dei. Who's bringing the birthday cake?

Oh we could go on about Freebase, By Any Means, Defyed playing the Voodoo, Steamroller at the Diamond and many, many more, but we think you should DO YOUR OWN research!

You can check out gig listings here and here.

But there are some essential things you need to know....

Anathema and Mothers Cake are at Limelight2 on the 18th September, on Friday 19th September Carcass and Coldwar are at Limelight1 and Dragonforce are at Limelight1 on 20th September - the same night Million$Reload are at the Diamond.

We also are keeping diary dates free for Tim 'Ripper' Owens, Sandstone and Rabid Bitch of the North on Thursday 25th September in the Voodoo and Overoth and Ceaseless Blight on the following night at Limelight2.

Fresh from their support slots with Amon Amarth Darkest Era are at Limelight2 on 4th October...

Oh there are also gigs from Alestorm, Ricky Warwick, Gallus Cooper, Black Stone Cherry, Asking Alexandria and many more.

But Hallowe'en night looks to be a messy one...Focus are at the Empire, Orange Goblin and St Vitus have an early show in Limelight2, and you can then run up to QUBSU to see Gama Bomb headline a four-band show.

There's many, many more shows coming up to like Black Sherriff, Gilby Clarke, Y&T, Tyketto, War Iron, Eluvite, Mastodon, Therapy?, The Quireboys, Dan Baird and Homemade Sin, Saxon, the Cockney Rejects, Sabaton, Joe Elliott's Down N Outz, The Answer, The Pat McManus Band, and already many announcements being made for 2015...

We, your editorial team have placed orders for new livers, a Lottery win, beer tokens and pit passes!

Monday, September 01, 2014

LIVE REVIEW: Satan slayed by Nomadic Rituals, Astralnaut and Zlatanera

SATAN ran away...

###     Dateline: 30th August      ###
###  Location: Limelight2   ###
Issue: The Distortion Project's RockD with Nomadic Rituals, Astralnaut & Zlantanera

SATAN is a pussy. He ran away when the sheer heaviness and unholy racket was brought to bear by three acts, each determined to layer more and more slabs of musical meat.

Your review team risked the demons, djinns, fiends and hellhounds left by the fleeing Lucifer on Saturday evening.

Fortified by pints of a mystical brew we watched as the spirits of Aleister Crowley and Anton Le Fay nodded ethereally in approval as metal rained down.

Nomadic Rituals sludge fest rained down a slowed down noise. Musical malfeasance; a solid wall of bass, guitar and drums. You know you're in for an endurance test when Mark on drums has nothing to do for the first minute and a half...

Craig and Peter's effects laden performance produced an unholy cacophony, with Craig's agonisingly passionate roars and Peter's wailing strings. While undoubtedly good at what they do, perhaps a little less of the effects next time.

Musically magnificent, mystical emerging from the mysterious County of Armagh, where strange tales rise like mist around the rolling drumlins, come Astralnaut, a ten-legged groove machine.

Where the Limelight2 to be attended by the remnants of ancient peoples, they would be dazzled by light and amplification, but would soon offer their praise to their lords that brought Astranaut's sound to this earth. Demons, djinns and other denizens of the dark corners cowered before the might.

But there is much, much more to this weighty beast of a band. Their ability to put a Northern Ireland stamp on what would otherwise echo of southern groove metal should propel them yet further.

From mellow bellowing to roaring rage Thomas led the line, with Gaz weaving ancient incantations on his six-string JonJoe locked down the rhythm on bass, tight with Stephen's drums.

However, Saturday was one of the last appearances of Pearse on the 'Naut's rhythm guitar. It didn't stop him raging out backing vocals and tying down the sound.

With songs from their releases 'In the Gaze of the Gods' and 'Thieves, Beggars and Swine' aired Astralnaut are accomplished performers, and, as agreed by our review team and several others we respect they were on fire - tight and terrifyingly good.

Headliners Zlantanera have - for those that do not know - is made up from former members of Residual Effect, Stand-up Guy and Interrrogate. This impressive pedigree has been finding its legs over the past year. Now they deliver the promised riffage in a fierce, fiery set of fundamentally furious metallic assault.

From 'A Bad Too Far' through 'Holy Man's Crook, and 'Advance of the Clodhopper' it is clear that Zlantera have risen...

It might have been vocalist, Andy's birthday, but that didn't take the sinister edge in his roars, nor the guitar attack of Willie and Andy. The remaining demons and djinns fled lest they be 'Hooked, Kicked, Hooked Again'. as Anto's bass rumbled and Keith's drums pounded.

What struck most in this set was the potential of Zlantanera, and their potential to grow yet further.

And, as the denizens of Limelight2 emerged agog from the Distortion Project into the Belfast night's peacefulness the faux evil of Satanists, devils and demons had ran, cowering as they realised that metal owns the night.

Nomadic Rituals conjuring, Astralnaut's mystical roar and Zlantanera slaying - another superb night from James Loveday's Distortion Project.

Review by Jonny & Zakk
### End of Despatch ###

Thursday, August 28, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Accept awe with Blind Rage release and toast their progenitors

THERE was a time when heavy metal was just heavy metal. There were no genres, sub-genres, scenes or trends. Occasionally a title might be used to group a diverse group of bands who emerged at the same time - such as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal - but all were simply heavy metal.

Accept are a band of that generation, and a number of the review team here recall them blowing Dokken off the stage in the 80s in Belfast's Ulster Hall.

However, Accept acknowledge on Blind Rage that themselves and their progenitors are a 'Dying Breed'. On this, the second track Accept name check almost all of the bands from previous generations, many of whose members are now in their fifties, sixties or older.

But like those bands have raised a middle finger to the split nature of much of the 'scene' promoted by the mainstream magazines. This is Accept, and Accept do what they do best - powerful, muscular metal.

And, you can even see where many bands follow in their wake, especially the so-called power metal bands. Such bands would do well to listen to 'Dark Side Of My Heart' and learn from the masters.

This album, like its predecessors 'Stalingrad' and 'Blood of Nations', shows why Accept are not prone to the clichéd and hackneyed band many other Euro-metal bands are, or have become. From the aforementioned 'Dark Side...' to the full on album opener 'Stampede' they demonstrate proficiency and understanding of their craft.

The ever-present Wolf Hoffman (he's been the lead guitarist since 1976) melds perfectly with Herman Frank in providing scintillating solos and melodic runs, such as on Blind Rage's last track 'Final Journey', which is simply a delight for guitar aficionados.

Setting aside Accept from many of their contemporaries is a rhythm section featuring Peter Baltes (who like Hoffman was there in 1976, with only a brief hiatus) bass and Stefan Schwarzmann drumming that keep the whole sound grounded in the Accept sound.

Lyrically this is as well crafted as any Accept album. While there are a few cringe-inducing moments ('200 years') mostly it deals with topics as diverse as the massacre of native Americans ('Trail of Tears') and human trafficking, drug dealing and capitalist so-called standards ('Wanna Be Free'). Even 'Dying Breed' has a seriousness within the metal community.

Mark Tornillo, therefore, has plenty of themes to work through, and does so with some skill, especially given the range of tempos on the album.

And, that range of tempos is part of the strength of 'Blind Rage'. From the full-tilt of 'Bloodbath Mastermind' to the mid-pace of 'Wanna Be Free' and 'From The Ashes We Arise'. 'Modern' metal bands would do well to learn this lesson.

Amongst the stand-out tracks is 'The Curse', which like much of the album melds muscle and melody. From its under-stated opening it progresses to a simple tale of how difficult it is to be good and morale in the 21st Century.

While some may see 'Blind Rage' as Accept re-treading past glories, they miss the point. Accept have developed incrementally with each release, honing what they do, but never straying from what they know and understand as heavy metal. We hail them.
Review by Jonny
Blind Rage is out now on Nuclear Blast

NEWS: Rory Gallagher's Irish Tour '74 released in 8-disc deluxe package

RORY Gallagher is a legend, a man who could make his guitar weep with the blues, rock out with dirty sounds from his battered strat, and revive the American folk legacy with peerless acoustic.

And, Rory had a strong affinity with Belfast, almost his adopted home.

In December 1973 Rory defied the ongoing troubles, and just five days after three people were killed in a bomb explosion and with the Sunningdale Peace Agreement floundering Gallagher played Belfast to kick off an Irish tour that has rightly been dubbed legendary.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the tour an expanded deluxe edition is being released on October 20th.

While some highlights never released, Sony Music/Legacy Recordings edition contains all three shows in an eight disc, 10" box set, including 43 unreleased tracks, remastered audio, photos, liner notes, a feature length documentary and much more.

Reflecting on his reasons in continually playing at the heart of Northern Ireland while it was an almost a ghost town each night Rory said:  “I see no reason for not playing Belfast. Kids still live here.” And, he did with Gerry McAvoy (bass), Rod De’ath (drums) and Lou Martin (keys).

Acclaimed filmmaker Tony Palmer was drafted in to document the tour. More than aware of the socio-political situation in the North of the country at the time and Rory’s refusal to be drawn on either side of the argument, Palmer knew "this [was] a very interesting proposition".

"Rory was at pains to point out he wasn’t active in any sense politically" Palmer recounts, but felt very strongly that he should be allowed to play both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

"I don’t want to make a movie with any political content but it will be self evident," said Gallagher.

 Both the Dublin and Cork shows also feature heavily on the subsequent documentary but it was Rory’s dignified but defiant impartial stance in Belfast that helped make this recording such a watershed moment for Rory’s legions of devoted fans.

The performances, for those that were there, and those who saw the snatches of the documentary - or subsequent Belfast dates - were peerless. No studio tricks, no over-the-top fx, and no overdubs.

Gerry McAvoy recalled Rory and the band's affinity with Belfast:

“Rory loved Belfast.  Just loved it.  Anytime we hit the stage after 1971 you were aware that, apart from the odd cabaret turn at the Abercorn [site of a 1972 bomb blast killing two and injuring 130], none of the bigger bands would come back to play Belfast, it was starved of music.

"Obviously after The Miami Showband tragedy it just got worse. We’re professionals. We play as well as we could wherever we played but it was a special situation in Belfast, something you could never acquire or attain at any other gig.”

Gavin Martin from Blues Magazine said: “Rory Gallagher brought hope and musical inspiration to his war-torn spiritual hometown of Belfast.

“It was within the walls of the venue on ‘bomb alley’ that the tender-hearted, soft-spoken, dogged determination and captivating presence of Ireland’s guitar warrior poet and people’s hero found
its fullest flowering. While Ulster teetered towards the brink, Rory’s rock hit with righteous affirmation.”
For Ray Hollingworth of Melody Maker the unifying power of Gallaghrer was emotionally charged.

“I've never seen anything quite so wonderful, so stirring, so uplifting, so joyous as when Gallagher and the band walked on stage.

"The whole place erupted, they all stood and they cheered and they yelled, and screamed, and they put their arms up, and they embraced. Then as one unit they put their arms into the air and gave peace signs.

"Without being silly, or overemotional, it was one of the most memorable moments of my life. It all meant something, it meant more than just rock n' roll, it was something bigger, something more valid than just that.”

The full - and we mean full - tracklist is below:

Disc 1 & 2
Cork (5th of January 1974)
  1. Messin’ With The Kid*
  2. Cradle Rock
  3. I Wonder Who
  4. Tattoo’d Lady
  5. Walk On Hot Coals
  6. Laundromat*
  7. A Million Miles Away
  8. Hands Off*
  9. Too Much Alcohol
  10. As The Crow Flies
  11. Pistol Slapper Blues*
  12. Unmilitary Two-Step*
  13. Bankers Blues*
  14. Going To My Hometown*
  15. Who’s That Coming
  16. In Your Town*

Disc 3 & 4
Dublin (2nd of January 1974)
  1. Cradle Rock*
  2. Tattoo’d Lady*
  3. Hands Off*
  4. Walk On Hot Coals*
  5. Laundromat*
  6. Too Much Alcohol*
  7. A Million Miles Away*
  8. As The Crow Flies*
  9. Pistol Slapper Blues*
  10. Bankers Blues*
  11. Unmilitary Two-Step*
  12. Going To My Hometown*
  13. In Your Town*
  14. Bullfrog Blues*

Disc 5 & 6
Belfast (29th of December 1973)
  1. Messin’ With The Kid*
  2. Cradle Rock*
  3. I Wonder Who*
  4. Tattoo’d Lady*
  5. Walk On Hot Coals*
  6. Hands Off*
  7. A Million Miles Away*
  8. Laundromat*
  9. As The Crow Flies*
  10. Pistol Slapper Blues*
  11. Unmilitary Two-Step*
  12. Bankers Blues*
  13. Going To My Hometown*
  14. Who’s That Coming*
  15. In Your Town*
  16. Bullfrog Blues*

Disc 7
City Hall in Session (3rd of January 1974)
  1. Maritime (The Edgar Lustgarden Cut)
  2. I Want You  / Raunchy Medley*
  3. Treat Her Right
  4. I Wonder Who*
  5. Too Much Alcohol*
  6. Just A Little Bit
  7. I Can’t Be Satisfied*
  8. Acoustic Medley*
  9. Back On My Stompin' Ground (After Hours)
  10. Stompin’ Ground (Alt version)

 Disc 8 (DVD)
The Tony Palmer directed documentary Irish Tour ’74
(courtesy of Eagle Rock Entertainment)
 * Previously unreleased
 Irish Tour ’74 Expanded Deluxe Edition is available to pre-order now at

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

NEWS: Cavaleras' extra busy (again) and Steak release video for new song

MAX Cavalera is a busy bunny - it seems he can't keep still...

Last month Soulfly were in Belfast as part of a tour cycle (review here) shortly after releasing
the awesome Killer Be Killed, with assorted collaborators. (Review here.)

And now the countdown to the release of the new Cavalera Conspiracy album is underway, with Iggor Cavalera revealing the track listing for the album and the artwork.

Pandemonium is set for release on Napalm Records on November 3rd.
The track listing for Pandemonium is:

1. Babylonian Pandemonium
2. Banzai Kamakazi
3. Scum
4. I, Barbarian
5. Cramunhao
6. Apex Predator
7. Insurrection
8. Not Losing the Edge
9. Father of Hate
10. The Crucible
11. Deus Ex Machina
12. Porra

If you want a wee preview the first track from Pandemonium is available for streaming now.  Check out “Bonzai Kamakazi” here:

For More Info Visit:

Steak sneak preview

With English stoner/desert rock act Steak added to the John Garcia they have released a preview of their forthcoming Napalm release, 'Slab City'. 

The album is out on 1st September. But while you wait you can watch the brand new music video for their track 'Rising' here.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Comply or Die bow out with stormer album in the shape of Northless

AND, lo it was foretold that all good things must come to an end...and Comply or Die have drawn a neat line from their birth to their demise with this, their third album, 'Northless'.

But, if you are going to allow your band to die, do it with style; a style resonating with hardcore, punk and prog metal in a furious assault on the senses of the unwitting listener.

From opener 'Meridian' it is clear that while the raw energy of the band is still evident there is a more mature approach. By the time that you reach 'Argonaut' it is clear that recent developments towards progressive noise have not past them by.

While the snappy 'Cultus' is on familiar territory, with two and a half minutes of riff-laden fury.

However, the seven and a half minute 'Iron Mountain' displays sensitive arrangements amidst the range of sludge, technical, death metal and atonal sections of this track; a track that unfurls its depths after a number of listens.

And, in many ways while most tracks on 'Northless' are likeable on first listen, once you hit them up two of three times they reveal elements of pure hard rock joy, joy and fury.

While the band called it quits after recording this, there is almost a prophecy within the lyrical theme, casting a sceptical on a dystopian world, and despairing over the foibles and frailties of fallible humanity.

From the full speed 'Architecture of War' there is a sense that all is not well out there - and halfway through the track there is a riff many a band would envy.

While 'Agon' has a hardcore feel it has metallic weight behind it, muscle bound noise, providing a contrast to the groove-laden 'Bishop', which has a real sense of experimentation. Closer 'Dagon' is a sub-two minute romp, with great guitar work and tight bass and drums.

So, that all said, is this a fitting coda for Comply or Die? On one level, yes. On another 'Northless', after a couple of spins just makes one think that we want to hear more.

What Matt, Michael, Ian have achieved is an album that is challenging, at times radical, and wrapped up Comply or Die's all too brief career of raiding the noise cupboard to provide us with delights.

Goodbye Comply or Die...

Review by Jonny
Northless, as well as Comply or Die back catalogue releases can be bought at