Neverworld – Visions Of Another World

Visions Of Another World Cover

Neverworld – Visions Of Another World

Running Time 57:27

Released 2014

Dream Demon Recordings/Self Released


Album Review By Rick Tilley



I am honoured to be one of the first people to listen to and review the debut album ‘Visions Of Another World’ from Progressive NWOTHM Metal band Neverworld. I know there are a lot of people who have been pulling their hair out waiting for this so I’ll not beat around the bush, are you ready everyone…Forget the bubblegum, this CD kicks ass BIG TIME!! Neverworld have delivered a rip roaring and emotional nine songs of metal magic and fantasy spread over nearly an hour and I still fail to understand why they have not been snapped up by a record label! Hopefully with this release, and the exposure it will undoubtedly bring, Neverworld will be able to hold their collective heads up high and say “We have arrived!”

Opening with the ticking of a clock and gorgeous orchestration, the instrumental ‘Tempus’ sets the scene wonderfully. This leads headlong into the title track riff and we’re off on our Neverworld journey of discovery. When vocalist and guitarist Ben Colton kicks in with his trademark thundering scream the Cheshire cat grin on my face was huge. Not only is this track heavy it has wonderful melody, a sublime chorus and immense guitar solos courtesy of Colton and fellow axe master Jack Foster. Believe me these two make an outstanding team. Couple that with the fabulous bass work of Gary Payne, drumming of Mike Vaughan and keyboard wizardry of Daniel Potter and you’ve got a super talented bunch here! Not content with this amazing opening salvo the guys then lead in, almost immediately, to arguably their best known song and anthem ‘They Live’. If you’re already a fan of the band then you’ll know what an absolutely mighty track this is. Instantly recognisable as giving Neverworld their signature sound it is one of those songs that will be remembered long after I’m gone! ‘Blood & Romance’ is up next, a near perfect 10 minutes of emotional impact that introduces us to sublime female guest vocalist Christina Gajny. Her voice compliments Ben’s superbly and she puts a lot of more well known female singers to shame! Without pause for breath the titanic riff of ‘Ghosts’ comes next and also what I think is Ben’s crowning moment vocally on the album. He absolutely nails the singing with enough power to split an atom!

I could go on telling you how good these tracks are. ‘The Wheel Of Misfortune’, ‘Eminent Reprisal’, ‘Salt Water Bandits’ (with guitar work that gives me goose bumps) and final song ‘This Fire’, which comes full circle and leads back into the ticking clock, are all utterly superb, the quality of writing, lyrics and musicianship is outstanding and you would be correct in thinking I’m just a little bit in love with this band. As far as influences go then think Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Gamma Ray, Judas Priest, Sonata Arctica, Iced Earth and Blind Guardian amongst others i.e. some of my favourites which is probably why this works so well for me!

Of course, I always try to be completely honest when reviewing and if there is one (only very slight) weak point, it’s in the production. Mike’s snare drum could definitely do with being higher in the mix, especially on the heavier numbers as it can get a bit lost, and on a couple of occasions Daniel’s keyboards come through a little too loudly, but you also have to remember that Neverworld do not have the resources to employ Mr ‘Uber’ Producer and this whole album has been produced by themselves. With that in mind, I sort of feel bad even mentioning it!

At the end of the day, for a debut album, this is nothing short of blissful to listen to and I’m utterly stoked for the guys that they’ve released something this good because they deserve nothing less. Artwork and CD booklet are also of extremely high quality, damn, I know how hard they’ve worked on this and it shows. It’s only March and I have yet another contender for my top five albums. Get ready everyone because Neverworld are here to stay!!

Neverworld photo courtesy of Sally Newhouse


  • 1. Tempus
  • 2. Visions Of Another World
  • 3. They Live
  • 4. Blood And Romance
  • 5. Ghosts
  • 6. Wheel Of Misfortune
  • 7. Eminent Reprisal
  • 8. Salt Water Bandits
  • 9. This Fire



31c Neverworld Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Reproduced with the kind permission of Brutiful Metal Radio

Dean Foxx / Knock Out Kaine Interview

Dean 3

Dean Foxx / Knock Out Kaine Interview

By Beth Jones & Rick Tilley

RockWich 2017

Lostock Club Sunday 27th August

Rick has had the great pleasure of talking to and interviewing Knock Out Kaine front man, Dean Foxx, on many occasions before, and we were really looking forward to seeing them perform at RockWich on the Sunday evening. It was my first time seeing them live and it was an added bonus when we bumped into Dean earlier in the day, prior to their set, and he was more than happy to have a brief chat with us about what’s new and upcoming in the Knock Out Kaine pipeline. It was my first time talking to Dean, but it was great fun as he is such a diamond geezer! And here is what he had to say:

Rick: So, you’re doing a new album – how’s it going?

Dean: Its going absolutely brilliantly!

Rick: I saw a recent comment on Facebook that you were up at 3.45am listening back to new tracks…?

Dean: Yeah, it’s going to knock the other two albums into a top hat!

Rick: Really?… Because I was blown away by the first one, and I got blown away even more by the second one so…

Dean: Yeah. We’ve hit that little sweet spot I think. It’s going to be heavier – not all of it, but I think 50% of it is going to be heavier than we have done before, still melodic, still rocky, but definitely with a heavier edge. But we’ve still got some quirky little bits and pieces that people are going to go “What?!” at, which is what we always do!

Rick: yeah you like to throw in a few curve balls don’t you!

Dean: Yeah. It’s certainly shaping up to be the best thing we have ever done, without a shadow of a doubt. I am bowled over by the material because it isn’t something we have written for an album, it has kind of organically grown, because we weren’t even going to record an album. We weren’t going to do anything creatively to put into the commercial arena for quite some time to come, and then it just happened. And it is the first time we have had a producer as well, which I was really cagey about being such a control freak! But the guy is brilliant. After the first studio session, I was quite happy to go, ‘Do you know what…run with it’!

Rick: Who have you got?

Dean: His Name’s Sam Cooke – no not the soul singer! I think he’s dead, isn’t he? – so that would be horrible!!! The smell in a studio environment is never any good after a few hours anyway so that would be horrible! But yeah, it’s turned out to be great, and this is the first time that we have had the scope to be able to spend some time on things. In the past, we’ve had a contract with someone and we’ve had a deadline and it’s all got to be done in that time, but this time we’ve let Sam in and he’s said ‘the album’s finished when it finished’. It’s lots of different studio sessions and it gives us time to breath and not have to slog, and it has just turned out brilliantly. We tracked the drums first as everyone does, but instead of going to the studio, Sam said ‘no we’re going to this place’, and he gave us an address and it was an old deconsecrated church! He had rented it out for a couple of days for the drums! And the drum sound is absolutely amazing – its intense. So, there is a lot of experimental and weird stuff going on as far as we’re concerned, with the new environments he has been putting us in to, but it’s turned out amazing!

Beth: Do you think that your creative sides came out more this time, because you didn’t have the constraints of thinking ‘we’ve got to write an album’?

Dean: Well the songs had already been written – I think you probably know from speaking to you before Rick, that we always have this pool of material because we’re always writing. So, we still did lots of demo’s round at Jim’s home studio to put them in a place where we knew exactly where they were going arrangement wise. That has been done in exactly the same way as we always do it. We are continuously working. We never go into a place where we are writing specifically for an album I suppose. So, we just went through a load of the demo tracks that we have done very recently. The first two albums had loads of songs that I had written that came to fruition in the studio, but I’d written them years and years and years ago, before the band ever even existed. On this one, there is one song that was written by me well before Knock Out Kaine existed, about 14 years ago, but the rest of them are new and exciting and FULL OF VIRVE! FULL OF VIM AND VIGOUR AND SPUNK!!!!

Rick: Haha! Is it more collaborative this time?

Dean: Yes – it is! Everyone has put their two penn’orth worth in, and as far as writing goes, this will be the first one where the credit on the album for each song will say, ‘written, arranged and performed by Knock Out Kaine’, rather than individual names, which makes me happy. Because I like that! …It’s because I’m a rock and roll socialist!! Not a communist! A rock and roll socialist!

Rick: There’s a song in there somewhere!! (laughter)

Beth: So, what’s next?

Dean: Well we will spend the rest of this year working on this record and that is it really. We have a handful of shows – we spent the first half of this year touring wall to wall like we normally do, but this last part we have some shows, like this one today here at RockWich, a couple of festival dates and then we will probably put together a Christmas Knock Out Kaine – KOKstock! At some outdoor venue in Lincoln later in the year, but the rest of the year is going to be spent doing the record!

Rick: I have been pushing your name for the new Stonedeaf Festival next year. I know a lot of people have and I think it’s perfect – cracking band, local to what they’re trying to do – it would be perfect to have you on.

Dean: Yeah! We’ll see what happens there. I’m hopeful it will be a good bash. If we’re not playing it and not doing something else, I will come along to have a look at it. It’s a great idea – it’s is a great premise to get back to the old one day thing!

Rick: Yeah, we are hoping to go.

Dean: It should be great. Anyway – I will give you a sneak preview of some of the album.

Rick: Oooh – are you sure?! Awesome.

Beth: Well this interview is a bit ‘off the cuff’ so that is about it, but I do like to try and ask everybody a random question at the end, so…. Jaffa Cakes – cake or biscuit?

Dean: Ooooooh you see, now everyone is going to say this, but you have opened a can of worms there haven’t you!!! I reckon cake, unless you leave it out too long on a plate and then it’s definitely a fuckin’ ‘orrible crunchy biscuit!!

Beth: But why is it a cake in the first place?

Dean: It’s spongey. It’s got a filling. It’s not a creamy filling accepted, it’s like a marmalade hybrid something!

Beth: But Jammy Dodgers have got jam inside.

Rick: Yeah but they’re biscuits – they’re not sponges!

Dean: And they are also horrible as well!! No one wants to eat one of them jam biscuits that ain’t got a little bit of that creamy shit in as well!! Creamy shit??! Where did that come from?! Creamy shit! That’s a story for another day that is!..(lots of laughing)

And on that note, Dean got his headphones out and played Rick a couple of tracks from the new album. To say Rick is excited about the release after hearing this sneak preview would be an understatement. We will be keeping you all up to date with release news for it, and recommend that fans, old and new, check it out.

We would like to thank Dean again for talking to us – always a pleasure, never a chore – and we looking forward to hooking up with him and the rest of Knock Out Kaine again very soon!


(‘Ain’t Your Kind’ Video taken from the album ‘Rise Of The Electric Jester’ 2015)

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Richard Tilley, Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities


Silent Jack – Heaven Metal / Hard Rock Hell EP

Heaven Metal- Hard Rock Hell EP Cover

Silent Jack – Heaven Metal/Hard Rock Hell EP

Running Time 16:26

Release Date: 2017

SJ Records/Electrify PR

EP Review by Rick Tilley


What we have here is the latest EP from Birmingham based Sleaze Rockers ‘Silent Jack’ and if you want just over fifteen minutes of no bullshit Rock N Roll, that doesn’t reinvent the wheel and reminds you why you got into this music in the first place then you’ll not go far wrong with ‘Heaven Metal/Hard Rock Hell’, or indeed Silent Jack’s previous output.

I first heard about them in 2014 when Vocalist/Rhythm Guitarist Rich ‘Stitch’ Mason (who, by the way, is a thoroughly decent bloke) sent me their debut EP ‘Snakebite’ to review and a very good listen it was too. I then got to see them gig later that year at Degeneration Fest and all that sleazy goodness transferred to the stage brilliantly. They then released their debut album ‘Play The Game’ in 2015 and have been gigging anywhere and everywhere since, even bagging an illustrious spot at Hard Rock Hell AOR in March of this year. Now the new EP ‘Heaven Metal/Hard Rock Hell’ is upon us!

Opening title track ‘Hard Rock Hell’ slowly builds in the speakers with chants of…wait for it…’Hard Rock Hell’ before bursting into a feel good riff, thumping drums and rumbling bass courtesy of Adam Carson, Scott Carson and Dickie Spider respectively before Rich arrives with his Jack Daniels soaked vocals! It does exactly what it says on the tin and even though it’s only 10.30am as I write this I’m thinking a shot of something sounds like a damn good idea! That is quickly followed by ‘Killing Time, ‘Life On The Road’ and ‘Let’s Go’ and just as memories of bygone days, in the sun, listening to Guns N’ Roses, Poison and Motley Crue are surfacing in my head ‘BANG’! it’s all over and Silent Jack have departed…probably to a bar somewhere where they can rest their cowboy boots on a table and sink some bourbon!

‘Heaven Metal/Hard Rock Hell’ (I must ask them why they chose that title) is feel good and makes you smile, tap your feet and bang your head. It’s not pretentious, the lyrics are exactly what you would expect them to be and it’s played well. Silent Jack obviously love what they do and have great fun doing it and in this current world climate of death, destruction, politics, war, famine and disease then you really cannot argue with that!


  • 1. Hard Rock Hell
  • 2. Killing Time
  • 3. Life On The Road
  • 4. Let’s Go



Promo Pic3


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley, Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Crystal Viper – Queen of the Witches

Queen Of The Witches Cover



8 OUT OF 10

Running time:  43:23


Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King


I think Rick, my partner at Ever Metal, knows my taste in metal better than I do, as yet again, he has sorted me out a band from one of my favourite genres……. power metal! Ok, not just a power metal band, these guys (and gal) could also be considered classic heavy metal too, but Rick knew that the band, Crystal Viper, would suit me right down to the ground. But just how right was he in his choice?

Well, as much as I would like to say HE WAS WRONG, he, in fact, was very much on the button (again!) and I absolutely loved the album.

Founded in Poland (the only other Polish bands I have heard of being Behemoth, Vader and Decapitated) in 2003 by singer, guitarist and composer Marta Gabriel, they have released five studio albums, seven singles and have toured in over 15 countries, making them one of the most hardworking and determined bands of their generation.

However, in 2013, Marta had to cease activity due to ill health and the future of the band seemed in jeopardy. But, Marta had a strength to keep the band alive and 2017 saw them making their comeback with “Queen of the Witches”, an album on which they are sounding stronger, heavier and louder than ever.

“Queen of the Witches” is sort of concept album that tells the story of witches and true evil and includes all the elements that fans of the genre look for. There are great melodies, impressive vocal lines, classic sounding riffs and harmonies, catchy refrains and pounding drums…. what more could you want? Oh, and tracks range from headbanging anthems, to speed metal monsters and classic power ballads! This album is consistent power/classic heavy metal reminiscent of Iron Maiden or Helloween.

And in true Crystal Viper style they pay tribute to the 80’s/90’s metal they are so obviously influenced by. Some people think trying to sound like a band from a bygone era when you weren’t part of that bygone era to start with is a bad thing, almost like the band are digging up the past! Personally, I think it’s a good thing. Many people long for the music of their youth and if there is a new band playing it, then all the better!

Another tradition of Crystal Viper is inviting guest musicians to take part on their album and this one is no different. Manowar co-founder and guitarist Ross the Boss appears on the anthemic “Do or Die”, Mantas of Venom slays a shredding guitar solo on the speed metal monster “Flames and Blood” while power ballad “We Will Make It Last Forever” features the vocal talents of Steve Bettney from NWOBHM cult heroes Saracen.

And there is also a gem at the end of the album but whether you get the cd version or the vinyl version depends on which track you get. The cd has a great cover of “See You in Hell” originally recorded by Grim Reaper while the vinyl version has a cover of Exciter’s “Long Live the Loud.” I had the cd version so haven’t heard their version of “Long Life the Loud” but if their take on “See You in Hell” is anything to go by, it should be a stonker.

The album opens with the track “The Witch is Back”, a metaphor for Marta and her band’s strong comeback?? Who knows but it starts with a blood curdling scream before the guitars kick in with riff after heavy riff. And finishing with the Grim Reaper cover wraps the album up nicely.

I personally hadn’t heard anything else that Crystal Viper had previously done but if this is their comeback album I would love to hear what else they have done. This is a strong, solid album and all music and lyrics have been written by Marta, who is also a successful clothes designer making stage clothes for the likes of Sabaton, Vader, Wolf and even Samantha Fox under her label Thunderball Clothing and a respected session musician, having played with Manilla Road, Vader, Sabaton and Majesty and now completes the live line up of Jack Starr’s Burning Starr! Wow, what a woman!!

If you want a good, classic heavy metal / power metal album then this is for you. It probably won’t sway the power metal haters but then which power metal band can?

I am going to head on over to YouTube now and check out some older stuff this band have done, you should go order this album……. well go on then!!!



  • 1. The Witch Is Back
  • 2. I Fear No Evil
  • 3. When the Sun Goes Down
  • 4. Trapped Behind
  • 5. Do or Die
  • 6. Burn My Fire Burn
  • 7. Flames and Blood
  • 8. We Will Make It Last Forever
  • 9. Rise of the Witch Queen
  • 10. See You in Hell (CD Bonus Track)




Promo Pic1


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities


Inglorious – II

II Cover




Running time: 42:39

Frontiers Music srl

Review by Vikkie “Queen Of Rock” Richmond


For a band that seemed to burst onto the scene out of nowhere, Inglorious are certainly doing very nicely for themselves, thank you.  They only formed back in 2014 and a line-up change saw original rhythm guitarist Drew returning to the band earlier this year.  Appearances with such rock royalty as The Winery Dogs, Dead Daisies and Steel Panther have garnered an ever growing fan base and a forthcoming headline tour will see them play across the UK, with some venues already sold out.

Debut album “Inglorious” was well received and catapulted the band into the limelight, bringing with it some anthemic tracks including their eponymously titled anthem.  “II” was eagerly awaited by fans and critics alike, as most second albums are.  So, what’s it like?  Don’t be fooled into thinking, from the introduction of the first track “I Don’t Need Your Loving”, that this is going to be a weak, watery copy of the first album.  After a few seconds, this track literally explodes into a cacophony of funky guitars and raunchy vocal stylings.  Nathan’s voice is in fine fettle and this song will make you get up and dance, for sure.

Third track, “Tell Me Why” is a huge song, with a time signature change just before the end and some startling vocals.  One of my stand out favourites is track four, the familiar sounding “Read All About It”, which I believe has the potential to become the anthem of the album.

There’s a nice, thoughtful guitar intro on “Change Is Coming”, indeed it almost lends itself to ballad territory but again, it segues into a massive sound, rather than the softer song that you might be expecting.  “Hell Or High Water” is a bruising affair that races along faster than Mo Farah in a 5,000 metre race and features some sweet vocal harmonies, underpinned by a strong bass line.

The classic influence is particularly strong on several tracks, not least “I Got A Feeling”, with some killer keyboards coming through.  The album closer, “High Class Woman” begins with a nice riff and some promising drums and the rest of the song doesn’t disappoint with more of those sweet harmonies and lots of attitude.

Basically, if you like your old school rock, such as Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Led Zeppelin, etc, there is nothing not to like here.  “II” is not that big a departure from the debut “Inglorious”, although it does have a bigger sound and clearly there is more experience and knowledge under the collective Inglorious belts.  There are several tracks that match the first album in terms of anthem potential and it’s no surprise that, although the band produced this album themselves, it was mixed by none other than Kevin Shirley, who has worked with all manner of legendary bands including Led Zeppelin and Iron Maiden.

It will be interesting to see how album three turns out when it eventually comes, but for now, enjoy the ride and make sure you catch them live.  See you at the front!



  • 1. I Don’t Need Your Loving
  • 2. Taking The Blame
  • 3. Tell Me Why
  • 4. Read All About It
  • 5. Change Is Coming
  • 6. Making Me Pay
  • 7. Hell Or High Water
  • 8. No Good For You
  • 9. I Got A Feeling
  • 10. Black Magic
  • 11. Far Away
  • 12. High Class Woman







Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Vikkie “Queen of Rock” Richmond and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities


Burnt Out Wreck – Swallow

Swallow Cover

Burnt Out Wreck – Swallow

Running Time 51:24

Release Date 10-02-2017

The Right Honourable Record Company/Cherry Red Records

Album Review by Rick Tilley


Before I get started properly with the review I want to apologise to Gary Moat and everyone involved with Burnt Out Wreck for the hideously long time it has taken me to get this written. Every time I sat down to start it something else got in the way and I was beginning to wonder if someone out there didn’t want me to finish, however, I promised a review so a review the band shall get, especially as ‘Swallow’ is still up there as one of the best and most fun albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in 2017!

If you’ve not heard of the name Gary Moat before then here is a little background. If you are of a certain age and you remember the early 1980’s well (like me) then you might remember a Scottish band by the name of ‘Heavy Pettin’. They were one of a huge number of bands playing NWOBHM/ Hard Rock (although they dabbled with a more Melodic Rock sound as the decade progressed). I saw them live twice at that time (supporting other bands) and seem to remember them having a fair amount of success and publicity as well as being signed to Polydor Records, in fact they really should have made it big! Well, Gary Moat was a founding member, drummer and song-writer of Heavy Pettin’ and I really liked them. However, like so many bands, their push for the next level and change in sound, due to musical trends didn’t work and the band disappeared and their names dropped off of my radar!

That all changed when I was sent this promo earlier in the year and my eyes immediately picked up on Gary’s name. Whereas most people will remember a guitarist or vocalist, I nearly always remember the drummer because I was one for thirty plus years and, as an impressionable young thing back in 1982/83, it was the drummers that I followed and learnt from! Seeing his name really piqued my interest for this album but it was only when I played it for the first time that I realised just how good it is!

What you’ll get to hear, if you are sensible enough to bag a copy, is that Gary is the vocalist of Burnt Out Wreck and, for a man who plied his trade as a drummer, he has one of the best Rock voices I’ve heard for years. Imagine a note perfect mixture of Bon Scott, Mark Tornillo (Accept), Mark Storace (Krokus) and Bernie Shaw (Uriah Heep) and you’ll have an idea of how good he sounds. In fact he sounds so close to Bon Scott in places that it’s quite uncanny but don’t think that this is just an AC/DC covers band under a different name! Burnt Out Wreck have produced eleven top class Classic/Hard Rock songs and put them all on an album that’s hard to stop listening to. Yes, a couple of tracks ‘Swallow’ & ‘Rocking Man’ are straight from ‘Powerage’/’Dirty Deeds’ era AC/DC and my favourite track here ‘Talk About Love’ with its beast of a riff, brings to mind the ’Flick Of The Switch’ album but they are so well written and performed that it doesn’t matter one little bit!

Gary put Burnt Out Wreck together in 2016 and it’s worth noting that when this was recorded they weren’t a fully formed band so Gary plays pretty much everything with the exception of the superb guitar solos which are supplied by long-time friend and musical partner Adrian Dunn. What this proves to me is that Gary Moat is an extremely talented individual and a very annoying one! I wish I could play and sing half this well, hey, I’ll settle for 10%!

‘Swallow’ is such an authentic album but also sounds completely relevant in 2017 and now that Gary and Adrian have a full band backing them they have been playing, by all accounts, some excellent gigs up and down the country. They are a band I MUST see live soon!

If you love Classic Hard Rock mixed with some Southern Blues and you have a hankering for AC/DC, latter day Uriah Heep at their rockiest, UFO, Rhino Bucket and Thunder that’s brilliantly played, with choruses more catchy than Chlamydia and some lyrics straight out of the David Coverdale book of Sexual Innuendo then Burnt Out Wreck are going to have you dribbling in places you didn’t know dribbled! Welcome back Gary…even if you are annoyingly talented!


  • 01. Burnt Out Wreck
  • 02. Swallow
  • 03. She’s The One
  • 04. Pulling It Out
  • 05. Talk About Love
  • 06. Medusa
  • 07. Flames
  • 08. She’s A Dirty Love
  • 09. Your Love (Is All I Need)
  • 10. Rocking Man
  • 11. Best Of Your Life




Promo Pic1 (14)


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Interview with Luke Appleton

Skype Interview with Luke Appleton – Sunday 3rd September – Somewhere around lunch time, with a cup of tea!

Interview by Beth Jones and Rick Tilley

For those of you who have not encountered the Appleton family, they are a beacon of professionalism and dedication in the hectic UK Metal scene. Today we had the pleasure of interviewing the baby of the clan, Luke, the rhythm guitarist with Absolva, in preparation for their up and coming European tour. It was great to chat to Luke to find out all about the tour, his journey with Iced Earth, and his views and experiences of the past, present and future of his career.

Ever Metal: It is lovely to be able to catch up with you again – it has been a while since we last spoke. So, the new album with Absolva, ‘Defiance’ came out about a month ago – tell us how that’s going down and how’s it has been accepted by everyone?

Luke: It’s been fantastic actually! We’re really happy with the response all the fans have given us. We’re very proud of this album. It’s been a very pleasurable experience in the studio recording it with everyone. Myself and Chris –  my brother, we’ve been working very hard on the writing –  a lot more together more than ever actually. On ‘Never A Good Day To Die’, our previous album, we co-wrote a lot of the songs together. However, this time I think we did it even more; I think you can tell that we’ve taken a lot of influence from the Iced Earth side, and the Blaze Bayley side, and kind of fused them together. I think that definitely shows with ‘Defiance’. It’s been a brilliant experience so far, and all the fans have taking it very well. I can’t wait for the tour really and to play all these new songs live!

Beth: That was my next question! The European Tour is starting 15th September – tell us all about that?

Luke: Well! Big European Tour!! It’s been a while since we’ve toured together due to our other commitments, but we’re very excited about it. We’ve got a good bunch of dates; a lot of these places we’ve been to quite a few times before and had some amazing crowds. We are returning to Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Czech Republic and we’re doing some shows in the UK in December as well. But we’ve got a very good hardcore following in France at the moment, which has been building for the last few years. We’ve got a very special show in Chez Paulette, for example, that’s going to be really good, we’re selling a lot of tickets for that! It’s always been full of die-hard Absolva fans, so we’re especially looking forward to that. But the whole tour is filled with amazing venues that we’ve been through in the past. It’s almost like a ‘best of’ tour kind of thing, but it’s going to be really good to tour this album. We’re extreme excited to get all the new songs out there.

Beth: So, at the moment the rest of the guys are in America touring with Blaze; What have you been doing while they’re out there?!

RICK: In case people don’t know, of course, you also do another job!

Luke: Yeah! Well whilst the boys have been out over in the States with The Blaze Bayley Band –  they’ve been out there for a while now, but they’re coming home soon –  I’ve been keeping busy with Iced Earth as I’m the bass player. I have been doing the summer festivals with them, which has been very fun actually! We’ve only just finished a few weeks ago, but we had about 12 festivals all over Europe. We did some really amazing ones. One of my personal highlights was Alcatraz Festival in Belgium. Belgium has always been kind of a second home for me. I’m sure the Belgium beer has something to do with that!! (lots of laughing) But the people are amazing.

We did Metaldays in Slovenia, and Sweden Rocks Festival. We did some amazing stuff, and we were out there promoting our new album, ‘Incorruptible’, which was released only a couple of months ago again. So, it’s been fantastic to tour that album a little bit and get to see all the Iced Earth boys again!

Beth: How does the balance between Absolva and Iced Earth work?

Luke: It’s surprisingly easy! The scheduling has been pretty amazing! As soon as I joined Iced Earth I thought, ‘everything is going to be 110 percent Iced Earth’, which in a lot of ways it is – Iced Earth is the priority for me – but I just thought I’d have no time for anything else. My down time would be just me sitting at home waiting for the next Iced Earth tour!  But, it’s worked out well, so in between those gaps I’ve had with Iced Earth, we’ve been able to plan Absolva tours with my brother (Chris Appleton – Absolva singer and lead guitarist) and so far, we haven’t really had any clashes, so it’s worked out very well – if I’m on tour with Iced Earth for a couple of months, it’s usually the case that my brother and the rest of the Absolva band are on tour with Blaze. It’s got such so much potential to become very messy, and we could clash a lot of the tour dates, but so far, it’s worked out really brilliantly! Fingers crossed that it will carry on like that for the coming years.

RICK: Does John (John Schaffer – founder member of Iced Earth) mind? Because I seem to remember when you first joined that there was a thought that you wouldn’t be able to do other stuff, but in the last couple of years, especially, I’ve seen, you more and more with Absolva. So, is he still happy with you moving across and doing other stuff?

Luke: Yeah. I basically just asked his permission, and what he thought about this thing, and he was perfectly fine with it. He was always fine with me doing recordings with the band and then as Absolva grew, I did more tours with them. Obviously, the past few years Iced Earth haven’t been completely full on, so I’ve been able to do more and more Absolva tours. Iced Earth are going to get ramped up again next year and do a full on proper tour for ‘Incorruptible’. That’s more potential for things to clash, se we are going to have to prioritize and plan out with a bit more care. But so far so good! I’m very happy with the way I can balance everything out and it’s been good. I think everybody’s happy about that.

Beth: So, you’ve had a pretty crazy year, so far; What’s been your highlight of this year?

Luke: Well, playing live is my main drive in the music business really. I love playing live and to play at these festivals this past summer has been fantastic really. There’s been some amazing audiences; some huge crowds we’ve done, so that is always my biggest adrenaline rush. That’s always going to be a highlight for me. At the beginning of the year, it was quite hectic because I was recording two albums!! I was recording ‘Incorruptible’ for Iced Earth, and ‘Defiance’ for Absolva. We did ‘Defiance’ first, I think it was the end of December beginning of January, something like that, then literally a few days after I finished in the studio with Absolva, I flew out to the States to record ‘Incorruptible’. So, it was ‘right I’ve got to switch from Absolva a mode and go in to Iced Earth mode’ which I found really fun, because it was just a good solid month or two just on the songwriting and recording. It was brilliant to just zone out everything else and focus purely on the songs, and to go over to the States and stay with John and the boys for a little over a week or so, record my bass parts and just hang out –  that was really nice. It’s something we don’t get much chance to do because we all live so far away from each other – everybody lives in the States, the singer lives in Canada, and I live here in England. So, it’s great to just hook up and do some song writing and get to hang out a bit.

Beth: How do you keep going with the schedule you have?! Do you ever sleep?!!

Rick: Not just you – it’s Chris and the boys too, as well as Mark and Lynne – you just never stop!!

Luke: That’s the way we like it! When Chris had some down time, he decided ‘I don’t want to have down time – I’m going to record an acoustic album and going to call it Restless!!’ So, it kind of like that with all our lives really, because we just don’t really want to stop! Whatever opportunity we get, we’ll always find something to do – go on tour, write an album, do something you know, whether it’s within the grounds of our bands and what we do; Me and Chris have similar kind of goals and aspects with what we do – our main thing again is playing live really. We want to play as many shows as possible, but also make sure the quality of those shows is the best possible. So those are our goals, and I think in this tour with Absolva coming up in a couple weeks, that is definitely going to show. It’s going to be fantastic to play this new album because I think this is going to be a big album for Absolva. We both have that same feeling and hope for this tour.

Beth: It is a superb album. We were listening to it again last night. I love it – it’s brilliant!

Luke: Thank you. We are very, very proud of it.

Rick: Well there aren’t many bands, nowadays, that can do four studio albums and a live album in basically five years is there? I can’t think of any other bands that could work at that schedule. It’s very old school isn’t it – it’s how it used to work?

Luke: Yeah exactly. It’s just an album a year we kind of used to work off, and whether it’s a live album or a studio album, we’ve just done it. We’re very, very pleased with it. And again, it’s something we want to do – we want to keep busy, keep the fans entertained, keep the material coming out – every time we release an album, a couple of months down the line, they ask ‘when’s the next one out?’! We haven’t even toured this one yet!!! (lots of laughing)

Beth: So, what’s next in the long term? Your plans for the next year with Absolva and Iced Earth?

Rick: You’ve mentioned Iced Earth touring much more next year, so if Absolva tour again, they will be going out without you, we assume?

Luke: We try and avoid that as much as possible – It has happened where Absolva have done it without me, I think it was SOS last year – SOS Festival which is the Appleton run festival in Manchester -Absolva did it without me and they just performed as a three piece because I was playing at Bang Your Head Festival in Germany with Iced Earth. That’s probably one of the only times we’ve ever done it, but we try and avoid that as much as possible and plan ahead as much as possible so that we can all be together, because the line -up is us four in Absolva now, we’ve established that, it’s not a three piece. It’s definitely us four as a band. So, we like to try and make that happen as much as possible.

There is going to be more Iced Earth touring because we really want to push the new album ‘Incorruptible’. Plans are going to come to a head for next year, but whilst that’s going to happen, the rest of the boys in Absolva have got another album to do with Blaze Bayley, which I believe they are recording at the end of this year. That will kind of finalize the trilogy of the Blaze Bayley’s story. They are going to tour that heavily, pretty much do exactly the same as they’ve done this year and last year, just do a mega tour for this as a finale of his trilogy. I think the scheduling is going to line up pretty similarly again. Iced Earth are going to be on tour whilst Blaze are on tour so it’s impossible to do any Absolva in that time. But something probably will happen for Absolva – we’ve just got to plan it and finalize it. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for.

Beth: You are playing in Sound Control, Manchester in December as part of the Absolva tour. How much are you looking forward to that– your home coming gig?

Luke: Very much so actually! Because even though we live here, we don’t actually get to play it that much, so it’s really nice that to finish the tour off, the last two shows of the December run, after Newcastle and Glasgow, are Manchester which is mine, Chris’ and Martin’s home town, and then we’ve got Swindon, which is Karl, our Bass player’s home town, so it’s really cool! We get to finish the whole tour off with two hometown shows. I think that’s going to be really special – there’s going to be a lot of good vibes, a lot of friends, family and a lot of really good hardcore fans there. I’m looking forward to that because it’s going to be a very good celebration, and home coming, if you want to say that, after a big long tour. It’s going to be good – definitely a highlight.

Beth: With you all being so busy, is it difficult to find a good work / life balance? Or does it just become your life?!

Luke: It’s pretty much become my life. Whenever I’m at home, I’ve got some hardcore friends and whatnot who really have stuck by and supported me throughout the years, since we really started to be honest, but the band comes first. There’s so many birthdays and family occasions that we’ve missed because the band always comes first. Many relationships with the boys have come and gone, kind of thing, but you know – it’s a hard life to handle, but we’ve got our eye on the prize!

Beth: An interesting one for you here – Will we ever see a Fury UK gig again for nostalgia’s sake?

Luke: We get asked this quite a lot actually! I really like the idea of it. However, it’s just finding the time to do it! Obviously, we’ve got three bands to balance with, so throwing a fourth in there – there are only a certain amount days in the year, you know! I would really like it to be honest. My dream plan would be getting Fury UK to headline at SOS Festival one year and make a little mini tour around that – a lot of people in the UK ask for it and a lot of people in Belgium were really keen on Fury UK, so it would be really good to do that again; to bring back all those lovely memories that we had, and to treat the fans. A lot of those Fury UK fans have gone on to follow Absolva and keep on backing the band. We still get people coming to Iced Earth shows even with an old Fury UK CD, wanting me to sign that. So, the fans still remember! It would be really cool to do that one day and we’ve talked about it a few times, it’s just finding the time and the place really. I think it will definitely happen. We’ll just discuss it and figure it out first.

Beth: If you had one story, from your career so far, that you’d want to tell the grandkids in years to come, what would it be?

Luke: A non-explicit one probably!! (Lots of laughing) I think one of my most memorable times was in Iced Earth, I would say. It was my first show with the band. We were in Toronto Canada, and we were opening for the band Volbeat. This was my first tour with the band, I think about five years ago now. It was an unbelievably nice but scary feeling. Just before the show I was crazily nervous, because Iced Earth had been one of my favourite bands for many years, and I was over the moon when they offered me the job. I knew a lot of the songs already, and when I was rehearsing and everything, I’m like ‘this is great! I’m playing some of my favourite songs, playing with my favourite band’. Then when it came to the day, maybe 10 minutes before the intro was going to start, I was just so nervous – my whole body was shaking – I was just unbelievably nervous and I remember John just coming over to me and giving me a big hug and just saying ‘you’re going to be all right. You’re going to do really well – have fun, just be natural out there’, and then I went on stage, played the first note and the fear went away and adrenaline took over. I think if I ever have grandkids, that would be one story to tell, because that was just such a monumental part of my life and experience. The way I look at it is just overcome your nervousness and your fear, and just go for it and then, ultimately, you will prevail – and something amazing has come out of that. That would be a story that I would like to tell one day.

Beth: You’ve already mentioned next year you going to have a heavier schedule again with Iced Earth in the summer. Have you got any festivals lined up that you can tell us about yet that have already been announced?

Luke: Not at the moment. We’ve not got anything concrete yet. Anything that I would be able to say has to be announced first, but we’ve got some very good plans. I’ve heard a lot of cool discussions about what we’re going to be doing next year. It’s very, very exciting, and it’s killing me that I can’t say it!

Rick: I want you at Bloodstock!

Luke: Yeah, that would be nice. I would love that!! I feel like it’s like a Game Of Thrones spoiler kind of thing! (laughing)

Beth: What about with Absolva – have you got anything with them that is already announced that you can fill us in on?

Luke: At the moment, we’re just focusing on this next tour for Absolva. We want to build a big hype for this and focus really on the shows. Stuff will happen for Absolva again next year – a particular festival in Manchester may happen as well! Everyone can read between the lines there Maybe!! But no, there’s going to be a lot of good stuff coming up and it will be announced very soon, so we’re very excited! Again, it’s going to be Iced Earth and Blaze Bayley; they’re the priorities for the first half of the year and then we’re going to dig into some more Absolva stuff.

Beth: If you were forming a super group, who would your perfect members be?

Luke: OOOh Yes! I’m going to be good at this question because my friend asked me that not too long ago! Is it anybody I can have? (Anybody! Anyone.) Anybody right? Well. Me on bass! Bit biased there, but me on bass. I’d have Tony Iommi on guitar. Glenn Hughes on vocals, ooh, drummer – not thought about that…Oh Mikkey Dee would be a good drummer, from Motorhead, I think that’s a good start for a super group! I suppose I can have another guitarist in there – I’ll have John Schaffer!

Beth: I’d pay good money to see that!

Luke: I think I’d pay good money just to be in the band!! (laughing)

Beth: What’s in your essentials bag for the tour bus?

Luke: No adventurous things. Lots of socks!! Lots of Socks – but I just take general stuff, you know, clothes and everything. I don’t go anywhere without my laptop – that’s my baby!! I always take a little interface with me as well, so I can actually plug my guitar into the interface, into my music program on my laptop, so I can just jam away in the dressing room, or if I’m in a hotel room, or something like that. So, inspiration can spark up anywhere kind of thing. The rider is much better than what I put in my bag actually! Bottles of rum and beers everywhere! That’s more like it!! (laughing)

Beth: What’s the most random thing you’ve ever had on a rider then?

Luke: Well Blaze likes to put a pair of socks on his rider!!! We don’t like doing laundry on tour, you see, so if we get a pair of socks every gig we’re all right!!! There was a funny one, one time; it was something to do with a banana! It had to be chopped in a particular way. The theory behind it was if you put this strange thing on the rider, the tour manager walks into the dressing room and sees that the promoter has done this crazy thing with the rider, he doesn’t need to check everything else because if they have done this really stupid thing, then they must have done all the normal things! That was the theory behind the M&M trick, you know, putting all the green M&Ms in a cup or something. So, yeah, that was probably the weird one with the banana!

Beth: We have seen a couple of instances recently of 80s pop icons singing with metal bands – Kim Wilde with Lawnmower Deth, then last week Rick Astley sung with The Foo Fighters. Who would you pick to sing with you?

Luke: I’m not very good with knowing who’s from which era… erm…. Was Bonnie Tyler from the eighties? Sorry – I’m a baby! Yeah, I’ll say Bonnie Tyler! We played a gig with her once actually, so it was very close to happening! It was cool because we played this festival in Sweden with Iced Earth. It was a very eclectic festival – there was all sorts of stuff going on – so it was Bonnie Tyler and then us!! I didn’t really know how it was going to go, but then all these swarms of metal heads came in after all the Bonnie Tyler fans!! It was quite a sight to see!

Rick: There’s one thing I’d like to ask – I have read about it in the magazine you did with the new Absolva album! Swapping between bass and guitar – how do you find it? I used to drum and it’s all I could do to remember the drum parts sometimes, but you’re going from one band playing bass to another band playing guitar – how do you find it? And I know you get on well with Karl (Bass player in Absolva) but how does the relationship work there?

Luke: Changing in-between the instruments I find quite fun, because it’s good to get a perspective on both sides of what you’re playing. With Absolva, I think it works very well because I do twin lead guitar solos and whatnot with Chris but I’m mainly the rhythm guitar player, so I’m all about staying with the bass and the drums. So, I’m still on the rhythm section page.

My relationship with Karl is very good, we get along really well, we have a lot in common, but we also have this little friendly rivalry going on. If we’re playing an Absolva a song that I demoed and wrote the bassline for, I’ll say, ‘Come on Karl – you need to play this properly!’ and then he will return and say, ‘you may have written the bassline but I improved it!’. So, there’s this little friendly rivalry and jokes going on but it’s all friendly you know – we never start punching each other or anything!! Not maliciously anyway!

But, the swapping between guitar and bass Is fine. I find it very fun. I love playing guitar. I find it a lot easier to write a song on a guitar than I do a bass. However, I prefer playing a bass because I feel like I have a little bit more freedom; improvising with the drums, and whatever fills the drummer does, I feel like I should follow. With a guitar, I believe that you’re a little bit more limited with what you play, because it’s all about the melodies really, and the guitar you can hear playing those melodies a lot more than a bass player would do. As long as I’m staying within the groove of the song, I like to throw in a lot of fills with what the drummer is playing whether that’s Iced Earth, Fury UK, Whatever. The best way of describing it is what John says; I believe the bassist has to be the rock of the band. It needs to be together with the drums and the glue between the drummer and guitar player. That’s the best way of describing it in my opinion because it really is the base of the band – it’s like creating a house; You’ve got your base, then your upper levels and your singer is your roof. I had a comment when I went into the studio with John and I was playing bass and he said, ‘right snap out of guitar mode get into bass mode’! So sometimes I do just have to say, ‘right, okay, I’m playing bass right now’! But I find it fun, more often than not!

Ever Metal: Well that is it Luke. Thanks so much for talking to us today and we are really looking forward to the tour, and hopefully we will get to the Manchester date to come and see you.

Luke: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and we’ll have a beer in Manchester!

The Absolva ‘Defiance’ tour 2017 kicks of next week in Germany and, from listening to the album and knowing how hard these boys work, we can pretty much tell you now with 100% confidence that it is going to be amazing. If you can make one of the dates, do, because we promise you won’t be disappointed!! We would like to thank Luke again for his time talking to us, and wish him and the rest of Absolva immense luck and success for the tour and beyond.

For more information on the Band, the tour, and of course their other bands, Iced Earth and Blaze Bayley, here are the links you need:


Absolva Tour Poster

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Richard Tilley, Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities