Interview with Dead Label

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Interview with Dead Label – Hammerfest X 17.03.2018

One band that Rick and I were looking forward to talking to at Hammerfest were Dead Label, a riff laden Metalcore band from Celbridge, Ireland. Many things interest us about this band, including the fact that they are only a three piece, the fact that they have a female drummer, and the fact that they did a spectacular video last year for their single release. We were intrigued to find out their views on gigging, writing, and that video, so we sat down with Claire (Drums), Danny (Guitar) and Dan (Bass / Vocals) for a chat.

So, who are Dead Label? How did you get together? Where did you start from, and when did it all come together?

Danny: Well me and Claire have been playing together forever – since we were about 14, but we chopped and changed a lot of members. The first time we were actually a proper metal band, we were a band called VX. We had five members, then we split, and we couldn’t really find anybody else with the same kind of commitment, so it was just me, Dan, and Claire and we said, ‘fuck it, we’ll try it as a three piece and see how we go!’ That was about 10 years ago!

Claire: When we were in band previously, we were looking for a bass player and Dan applied. When we went to pick him up for his try outs, he was outside waiting with all his bass gear ready to go and it was like, ‘ok, that’s the guy!’, and he’s been here ever since! And then we found out he could do vocals to and that was it!

Do you like playing as a three piece then?

Dan: Yeah – we have a very, very…… strange relationship, where the three of us know what is going on the whole time! It’s a rare thing to get in a band. We all know exactly what’s going on and how each other’s doing without a single word being spoken. I think if we were to add another person into that mix, they wouldn’t get it. We did try out a second guitarist a couple of years ago and it just didn’t work. The void in the room was just off. Yeah ok the sound was bigger, but it just wasn’t the same, so we just stuck with the three of us, and we’re all fully committed, so that’s the way it is.

Is that how you approach writing songs as well then?

Danny: Yeah, well I think we are kind of old school by today’s standards, but we just get in a room and jam. We don’t really do this sending each other riffs, or work over laptops or anything. We just plug in and jam.

Dan: We kind of judge it off the reaction, you know, we jam a riff and your like ‘yeah that works’. We practice two or three times a week, either just running through the set, or writing, and it comes together.

Claire: Yeah if there is a week where one of us is away or something it’s just bad – we are texting all the time like ‘eeeek’.

Dan: Yeah sometimes it is not so much that we want to, it’s that we need to do it three times a week to keep it tight.

I suppose as well when there is only three of you, there is nowhere to hide really.

Dan: Yeah exactly, and we are old school in that sense too. We don’t like to use backing tracks or stems or anything like that – it is literally just the three of us kind of turning up to play at the venue with nothing but our guitars… and drums! We Just play, we don’t need a laptop. We’re not relying on anyone.

Danny: That actually happened to us before. We were playing at Made In Metal, and we were supposed to be borrowing our friends’ gear, but they got held up in traffic or something, so we literally only had our guitars and stage backline, and we were just like ‘Right I’ll plug in to that Marshall amp, you plug in to that one’ and we had a great fucking show!!

Dan: So yeah, we are very traditional in that sense, you know, we play together as a band, we write songs as a band and that’s the way that we do it!

Is it your first time playing Hammerfest, and your first time playing in Wales?

Claire: First time playing in Hammerfest – err, have we played in Wales before… No, I don’t think we have – we spend a lot of time driving through Wales!! But I think this is our very first time playing in Wales.

Dan: No, we did a music video here!

Claire: Yes, thank you, yes, we did the video for Salvation In Sacrifice here – in Cardiff.

Cool! So, what is in the pipeline at the moment – are you working on an album or anything?

Dan: We’re writing at the moment, and we are quite deep into that. We currently have about eight songs that we are very, very happy with. Right now, it is just about manipulating them a bit and putting the finishing touches on them.

Danny: Yeah, the salt and pepper!

Dan: So, once we get home after this we are going to bury our heads in the sand and get back to it and we are hoping to have the album out by probably the end of this year, maybe early next year.

Are you having a break from gigs while you are doing that?

Claire: Kind of. If the right gig comes up then obviously we would say yes, but we’re not actively chasing gigs, because we want to get it finished. With gigs like Hammerfest, you have to be prepared, and you can’t really get lost in writing a song, then practice a set, because it’s two different things. So, if an opportunity comes up like this, we’ll take it, but we’re concentrating more on the writing. We are playing Bloodstock though! And Amplified as well.

Yeah, we are going to be at Amplified so we will get to see you properly then! So, Bloodstock – great festival – how excited are you about playing there? Is it your first time there?

Claire: It’s actually our second time! We played there in 2015, and we are dying to get back! They do a kind of rotation, which is fair, but we’ve got really lucky because we are playing the same day as Gojira, which is one of our favourite bands, so we are going to play hopefully an awesome set and then watch Gojira! You don’t really get much better than that!

That leads us on nicely to the next question – who are your main influences and what inspired you to start making music?

Dan: I think for me and Danny, the routes of it all is Thin Lizzy. That’s were my love of music really started – you know the Renegade album, the Jailbreak album and it was like ‘this is awesome – oh Jesus they’re Irish!’ Then someone gave me the Black album and it was just a slippery slope from there! You know in a few years’ time you find yourself listening to Behemoth!

Danny: Thin Lizzy to Behemoth you know! Yeah, I think in the early days, for me, and Dead Label, the band that really tied it together was Machine Head. I was just fascinated with the heaviness and it’s really what we have been after since – to try and get that heavy sound, without it sounding chaotic. So, Machine Head was at the core of it, but then yeah, Behemoth, Gojira, all sorts – we like everything! I think those big, fat, heavy riffs are the core.

Rick: Yeah, I think your music is really groove laden – you’ve got the harsh vocal, but there’s some real power behind those riffs and I like that – when you can move to the riffs behind the vocals, and I think that’s what you’ve got.

Claire: Yeah that’s it. Machine Head are a humongous influence on me – Dave McClain is just the best drummer in the whole world. But my first drumming influence, way back, besides Animal, was Travis Barker. He was so cool, and I was just fascinated by drums because of him, then I actually got in to heavy metal!

How old where you when you started playing?

Claire: Thirteen or Fourteen I think. I got drums and got into a band two or three days later, but I couldn’t really play! I’ve been in a band ever since!

Dan: Yeah that really makes you up your game, because before I met these guys, I was playing in indie rock bands, you know I was there, into heavy metal with tattoos and stuff, but the only bands I could find were Indie bands and I had to play with them, so your playing little bass licks here and there, but when you get into a metal band, you really have to up your game! And these guys pushed me to be a better musician.

One thing I wanted to ask you is what is the metal scene like in Ireland? Is it difficult to get gigs? We interviewed Baleful Creed recently and they said it was really tough – people go to the bigger bands, but people don’t want to come out for the small gigs. Do you find this?

Dan: Yeah that is true to a certain point, but you can get lucky as well – you know when the stars align, and people want rock bands – when we first started, on a Friday and Saturday night in Belfast, you always played to two or three hundred people and they were there for the music. It kind of fell by the wayside a bit when everybody lost their jobs, but it is starting to come back now. You do find maybe local bands, the room is half full, but bands like Architects will come and they’ll play in the bigger venues and they’ll sell it out. It’s a little disheartening but it’s kind of just the way it is.

Claire: Yeah, you kind of just have to fight through it. There are bands playing gigs, and there are good bands playing gigs and its getting more and more people starting bands and taking it seriously. I think it will get better, it’s just people don’t have the money to go to gigs all the time.

Dan: In fairness to the promoters in Dublin who are bringing all these bigger bands in, unless it is a package tour, they will always make a spot for a local band, which is great. And once you get in there, if you do a good job, you’ll get another one, so it’s kind of up to the band at that point. And that leads to other things – you know you could be playing one place, and someone will come up to you and say, ‘Oh yeah! I saw you playing with Architects last week’, so it does have that effect as well.

Danny: Yeah – the quality of bands is really, really good. There’s no shortage of talent. There are those odd nights where a bar might only be half full, but it’s not all the time. Overall, it’s pretty good.

Rick: So, I wanted to bring up this video you did, with the Jonestown connection. I was ten when that actually happened and there is a lot of similarities to the actual events in the video, and I wondered who came up with the concept and everything?

Dan: It was the directors of the video. We wrote the song and originally it was just meant to be a demo, and we were listening to it one day and we were like ‘with a little bit more work this could be a fucking good single’, just because it had been a while since people had had any new music. And that then escalated and we decided that if we were going to do it, we may as well do it properly and do a music video for it! We found the guys at Crooked Gentlemen and we gave them the song and they came up with the idea for the video to the music – so it was kind of like art inspiring art in a way.

What did you think when they came up with it?

Dan: We kind of just like rolled with it!

Danny: Yeah, we saw the other stuff they were doing, and it was class, so we just said go for it, and just went all in.

Claire: we didn’t even realise how much detail they were going to go in to! All we were told was there was going to be a performance day – a day where we needed to get some family into a room, so we just said, ‘come for a few hours and sit in this room’. Then we get there, and they had this unbelievable actor, and we were there for the whole day and they had them doing exorcisms and all this mad stuff, but everyone enjoyed it!

Dan: There were parts of it when they were doing stuff and we were standing back, like the bit where they drink the poison, and we were like ‘What the Fuck?!!!’ We had no idea that was happening! It was awesome!!!

Rick: Yeah it is an awesome video!

Claire: The guys that did it, they are actually becoming so big now – like in a couple of months’ time I don’t think you will be able to get them cos they are in such high demand. So, they deserve all the credit really, we just wrote the song.

Rick: Yeah but if they hadn’t had the song, they wouldn’t have come up with the idea!

Danny: Yeah in fairness they were really stoked when they heard the song and they put all their effort into it.

And that was were we had to leave it, as the band had to be whisked away to do another interview. It was great chatting with them and hearing their ideas on things. We could quite happily have carried on for ages. We would really like to thank Claire, Dan and Danny for taking time out of their schedule, on a very cold day, to sit and chat with us for so long. Make sure you check them out and have a watch if you are at Amplified Festival in July, or Bloodstock in August. We will, as ever, keep you posted when they announce the release of their new album, which we will be very much looking forward to. In the meantime, for more info, or to watch the awesome video for their single, ‘Pure Chaos’, check out the links below:

LINKS:

OTHER LINKS:

 

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 interview, 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 Louis Clarke from Callus

Callus At Hammerfest by Jennie Clarke

Interview with Louis Clarke from Callus

01.04.2018

This weekend, on Easter Sunday to be precise, we here at Ever Metal HQ had the great pleasure of catching up, via Skype, with Louis Clarke, lead singer / guitarist with up and coming Northern Metallers, Callus. We were really excited to speak to him about all things Callus, after being totally blown away by them at Hammerfest X in March. We all settled down with a brew (Louis had a particularly metal mug!!!) and probed Louis on life, the universe and everything (to do with the band that is!) …

So, for people who haven’t heard of Callus, give us a brief history of the band – where did you all meet, and what brought you together?

Well it started in high school. I was in high school and I was a loser, so in my break, I would go and sit in the IT room. I was hanging in there with a few friends, and this kid comes in, he’s called Ben Wormwell, and he sits down at the computer next to me and I say, ‘hey Ben, look at this internet game I am on – it’s called Boobah Zone! So, I showed him that and we were playing that together and he said ‘hey, I like System Of A Down’, and I said ‘yeah I like Metallica’, and we started sharing music and stuff. Then there were many misadventures between then and now!!! We started jamming outside of school, and we enjoyed the same kind of music, so we started writing riffs. A few drummers came and went, but I knew that I wanted to join a serious band. I had been in a band prior – it was like a hard rock band, but it wasn’t serious at all, and I knew I wanted to push it further. So, me and Ben had been jamming for a while, and we named ourselves Callus, and got a gig. That first gig was in Preston in November 2013, and we have been working on it since then. That gig was an absolute disaster!! It was SOO bad!! Like I say, we have had numerous drummers come and go over the years, but Ryan joined us about half a year ago now and we have picked up the material again and it is solid now. Obviously, we have the three people, and there are three separate lives to take into account, you know, everyone has got different things going on, but we have settled with Ryan, and he’s very happy and that makes us very happy.

He is a great drummer.

Thank you – yeah honestly, he floored us when we started jamming – we were like ‘he actually wants to join our band?!’ We couldn’t believe it!! He is very professional, and it doesn’t even stop with his drumming – obviously we are working on the album and he’s got a home studio set up and he is just as good behind the desk as he is behind the drums! He’s just a crazy talented dedicated guy, and he has got a place in Callus now and it is very good!

So where did the name ‘Callus’ come from?

I had a few big sheets of band names, or song name ideas, and a few lyrics, and we were just jamming one time in our bedrooms, and we thought, ‘lets have a look at the names’, and it was Ben who picked it – it was on the sheet of many ideas, and he went down the list and saw it and went ‘We’re calling it Callus! It’s called Callus!’ and I was like ‘Sick! Sounds good!’! We knew that we wanted a one-word name. I think some of the best band names are just one word, you know, it’s clear – Pantera, Metallica, Megadeth – it’s just straight to the point, and I think that is what our music represents. It’s fairly straight to the point – it’s pretty simple stuff really! It’s not majorly complex, so we’re not going to have seven or eight words in our band name.

How about song writing – who takes charge there, or is it more of a whole group thing?

Well, the primary bulk of the material has been from stuff that I have written. Most of the lyrics have been from myself, because I do most of the vocals, but Ben has been doing lyrics on a bunch of songs that are his and writing the songs as well. He comes to me sometimes with an idea and we jam it on acoustics and then it morphs into a live element, you know with amps and electric! He’s coming up with stuff that I don’t even think of! So, it’s me and Ben primarily, but the great thing with Ryan coming in now is he’s actually been writing as well, which is really good. He’s got a quite a different taste of music – obviously he is in to his metal – but he likes a lot of bands that me an Ben aren’t necessarily big fans of, and it is great because he is bringing in another element, and there are going to be a few highlights of that on the album, because the songs are a mix of the songs that we have already got that aren’t committed to studio and some new ones as well!

Do you tend to write the lyrics first then add the music, or does the music come first and you put lyrics to it?

For us it always starts with a riff. We have a catalogue of hundreds of riffs that aren’t committed to songs – just little bits that sound good. Then, we sit down and kind of start linking the riffs together, and we build a song that way, musically, first. Then lyrics always come last in our process. A lot of it is working of syllables – how the riff and the rhythm feel, because we’re not the most complex song writers – it’s like Sabbath – a lot of the vocals follow the riff, and that’s a dynamic that we really like. They are one of our favourite bands. So yeah – lyrics come last. I do write a lot of the lyrics – Ben’s done a few, and I have written a few for Ben to perform – like the last song we did at Hammerfest was called ‘The Root Of All Evil’, and I wrote the lyrics to that but Ben’s got such a rough gnarly voice, I was just like ‘Ben, you’ve got to sing it!’ It suits his voice!

Where do you get your inspiration for lyrics?

I do a lot of reading. I like a lot of Stephen King, but I love old literature – H G Wells and stuff – anything really imaginative. So, it is a combination of stuff like that, just for that mentality and way of thinking, quite outside the box stuff. But then it is primarily life experience and all from deep within my mind!! From some deep dark recess under the hat!! Yeah so, a combination of life experiences – stuff that maybe Ben has told me that has upset him or made him happy – but it is quite open to interpretation though. One thing we want to do is get the lyrics printed for the album and we want people to read the lyrics and interpret it themselves. I would never go to someone and say, ‘this Callus song is about this!’ – We don’t want to be like that at all I have my own interpretation, but we want people to apply their own life experience to it. I think it is open to interpretation in that way. We are doing it from the heart and hopefully that resonates with people who listen to it, and it makes a connection with them and they get something out of it too.

So, the first time you popped onto our radar was, indeed, at Hammerfest X earlier this month. Was this your breakthrough gig?

I think so yes. As I said, we have been plugging away at it for a good few years now, but Hammerfest was next level! I definitely think that was our big shot. It’s just a case now of sticking at it and hoping to get more slots like that and play in different places, and the same place (!) and just keep trucking on.

We, I think, echoed everyone else in the room in thinking ‘wow, these guys are great’. How did you find the reception there?

We were astounded! We felt good about it anyway. Naturally there were some nerves because it was a big gig. But I think the likes of yourselves being there, and the general reception we got; we were blown away by it! And we are still in awe of it because everyone was so great about it and everyone seemed to enjoy it – we haven’t heard anything bad about it. We had people coming up to us around the festival saying, ‘argh we really enjoyed it’ and that was fantastic, just to see people so happy – it made our weekend! It made our career!! So far!

When we watched you perform at Hammerfest, one thing that we noticed was how tight you were together and, considering there are only three of you in the band, how much stage presence you had – you seemed to fill the stage. Has it been difficult, with the number of drummers going through, to get that tightness?

Yeah with drummers coming and going over the years, that’s been very detrimental to the progress of the band. In the past it has been like one step forward, two steps back, which has been really unfortunate. But, me and Ben are resolute in the knowledge that we are going to be doing this for years, and luckily we have found a third guy now who has the same vision as us, so now it is three guys going forwards, and I think that is why it has come up to the next level, because finally we have reached that point where we’re all on the same page, we all want the same thing, and we’re all going for it together. It comes in to what we said before about Ryan – he is a very skilled player and he just boosted us. It has been inspiring to play with him.

Have you ever toyed with the idea of adding any more members, or are you just happy with three?

We are happy with three at the moment, but all I would say is that we are never going to be set in our ways, you know, we’re open to any ideas. If ever the three of us thought, ‘Yes, we want to bring an extra element in to the band’, then we would do that, because its our band! And I think we are free to do that! There won’t be any didgeridoo players or bagpipes or anything like that though!!

Now, you have a couple of big gigs coming up in the next week – the ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ semi-final and ‘Mammothfest: The Best Band’ before that – are you nervous about those and what they could lead to? (CHECK OUT THE EVENT LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE INTERVIEW)

We naturally get nervous when there a fair few people turn up, like anyone else – it can be like ‘woah there’s a fair crowd here tonight!!’, but we enjoy what we do so much and we are just excited for them – any opportunity, whether it be in the big festivals like Hammerfest, or Metal 2 The Masses in Carlisle – cos that’s at ‘Club Rock’ and we’ve never played there before so it is a new adventure, and we know the majority of the bands that are already on it, so it’s a good night in itself and that is always the aim for us. We want each individual night to be the best it can be all the time. Obviously Metal 2 The Masses and the Mammothfest one gives us the potential of playing these big festivals, which would be amazing, but for us we focus on the gig at hand, and then we move on to the next gig and see what comes our way and push for what we can. So, yeah, a little bit of nerves because it is the semi final for Metal 2 The Masses, but we are looking forward to it – we are going to get in there and do our thing, as we always do!

So, you have mentioned the album a couple of times – when’s it coming out?!

Well, we’ve done all the guide tracks! So, we’ve got all the material recorded in demo format, so it is just a case now of getting in and doing all the final instruments and stuff, which is going to take a while, because we are busy people outside of band, but we are hoping for a release towards the end of this year. We have had one or two labels who have potentially been interested, so it might be January. But, it will be ready when it’s ready. We want to take our time so that it is ready – we’re not going to rush anything. We want it to be proper so that we can stand by it, because it is our debut full length release and we want to be able to stand by it until the end of time and that is the goal! But we have got a name for it and the art work for it! So, we’re getting there! Progress is happening!!

Excellent! Can’t wait to hear it! Looking forward, what is your ‘next step’ career goal with the band – where do you want to take it to now?

Well we have talked about touring for a while now. I think we are trying to get something together for the end of the year. Sort of like a bit of a mini tour – try and get up and down the country a bit – that would be nice. I think that the next step for us is really getting out on the road and doing that, because we do gigs everywhere we can – we kind of have them dotted around and stuff, so we would like to push it a bit more. There is that and obviously the album. Once that is released, if we do a tour, we want to be really pushing that. We want to support that as much as we can and get it out there. So yeah – more things, bigger and better things, and just more gigs in general I think, and more releases!

The ultimate goal I supposed is to make this your career rather than anything else your career isn’t it!

Yeah of course!

To wrap up our chat today, we would like to ask you a question, that whilst unrelated to metal, is a question that we always like to ask, and is very important – Jaffa Cake – cake or biscuit?!

It is 100% a cake definitely! The clue is in the name! No basically I think a biscuit is hard, or it has to have a certain amount of crunch to it, but a Jaffa Cake is soft, it’s squidgy, you know – like a cake! So that is what I would say!!

It was our absolute pleasure to chat to Louis today, and we are very grateful that he took time out of his schedule to answer our questions. These guys are three really genuinely great guys with a superb passion and drive that will take them a long way. We are going to be eagerly awaiting the album and highly recommend that you all check them out too. To make that a little easier, all the links you need are below – happy listening folks!

MAMMOTHFEST: THE BEST BAND HEAT 4, APRIL 5th LIVE ROOMS, CHESTER

https://www.facebook.com/events/1168157936649441/

METAL 2 THE MASSES SEMI-FINAL2, APRIL 7th CLUB ROCK, CARLISLE

https://www.facebook.com/events/686866531704126/

BAND LINKS:

https://www.facebook.com/Callus.band/

https://callus117.bandcamp.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZOSaYdZBmL8DhLMPjLWggQ?pbjreload=10

https://www.instagram.com/callus_uk/

BAND PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIE CLARKE

https://www.facebook.com/Jennie-Clarke-Photography-404649823289763/

 

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 interview, 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

Hammerfest X – Day Two

Hammerfest X

Hafan y Moor Holiday Park,

Pwllheli, North Wales

Saturday 17th March DAY TWO

Review by Rick Tilley & Beth Jones

 

…CONTINUATION OF OUR EXPLOITS AT HAMMERFEST X

After a surprisingly good night’s sleep in our comfy little apartment, we were up bright and early to get ready for day two. It was going to be a bit of a backwards and forwards day with interviews and trying to catch as many bands as possible. Luckily, we didn’t have too much planned for first thing, and although we missed Vice because we were interviewing, we were able to get to Stage 2 to catch the second of the day’s scheduled entertainment, in the shape of Footprints In The Custard.

Now, you know what sort of a show it is going to be when the hall starts to fill with grown men in Lycra, tutus and onesies, brandishing inflatable penises and already happy after a liquid breakfast! If you had been expecting serious and smouldering, then this definitely wasn’t going to be your bag, however it was very much ours. What a way to start our day! The Custard boys of Manchester, got the whole place jumping instantly with there catchy and hilariously funny tunes, and even the most stoical members of the audience couldn’t help but raise a smile! Wooing us with classic tales, the boys took us through, amongst others, their great cooking tragedy, ‘Gayle Platter’, and the use of magic to conquer evil, ‘Merlin in Berlin’. Then they got a bit more naked and it all got a bit silly! Thank god Ross had a strategically placed guitar – the rear view of his pink mankini was disturbing enough for a Saturday lunchtime!!! Finishing their brilliant set with a deathcore version of, ‘It’s Raining Men’, Footprints left the entire place bouncing and smiling, and fully prepared to kick the balls out of the rest of the day! For me they were one of the highlights of the weekend.

01 Footprints In The Custardhttps://www.facebook.com/Footprintsinthecustard/

After a swift beer (trust me we needed it after that!), it was time for a band who we would be interviewing later, Fallen Arise. Made up of members from Greece, Italy and the UK, they were the polar opposite of Footprints and a nice way to return to reality! I love a bit of Symphonic metal, and musically they were all superb. Their female vocalist, Fiona Creaby, has a beautiful classical tone, and their songs are dramatic and smouldering! For me the one thing that was lacking was a ‘stage presence’ – a togetherness the likes of which we had seen from other bands this weekend. Maybe this was part of their mystery and fitting with their genre. We did hit on a possible reason for this in our interview with them later in the day – the constraints of living all around Europe and not rehearsing in the same room being a big issue. This did however make it clear how skilled they all are as individual musicians, and it is always good to see real talent.

02 Fallen Arisehttps://www.facebook.com/fallenarise/

We had wanted to catch a bit of Codex Alimentarius, however it was interview time again, and back to back ones at that, so we only managed one song, then had to take a break from live music for a while to head back over to the media area!

We headed back to the stages in time to catch Norwegian Death Metallers, Blood Red Throne, on Stage 2. We hadn’t seen these guys before, so we were intrigued to see what they had up their sleeves! Whilst I’m not a huge fan of this brand of metal, technically again they were all incredible. I just can’t get on with this style of vocal. That said, they did have very catchy riffs and I was banging my head in a reserved kind of fashion!! If you like Cannibal Corpse and you haven’t heard these guys before – where have you been??!! Check them out now because they will be right up your street!!

03 Blood Red Thronehttps://www.facebook.com/BloodRedThroneOfficial/

Our first trip over to the Main Arena that day was next, to see epic Symphonic Power Metal wizards, GloryHammer (the brainchild of Alestorm vocalist, Christopher Bowes who takes on a new guise as Keyboard player here). They should really be called ‘Disney Lord Of The Rings In Space – The Rock Opera’ but I suppose GloryHammer is more catchy, so I will go with it! These guys have a perfect balance of crazy, tongue in cheek, humorous extravagance and undeniable musical talent and we bloody loved it! Their songs tell an epic story of fantasy, and that, combined with the brilliant musicianship and stage presence of the whole band, fronted by the extraordinary vocal of Thomas Winkler, make theirs a show that ticks all our ‘I like this’ boxes and then adds a few more to the bottom of the list! I definitely recommend anyone who needs to feel invigorated listen to this band – there electric energy is contagious. Wanting to cram as much in as possible and with time running out, we left GloryHammer a little early to head back over to the second stage (much to my distain – although I have to remember that we were there to work and not just to enjoy ourselves)!

04 Gloryhammerhttps://www.facebook.com/gloryhammer/

Next on Stage 2 were another Death Metal band from Ireland – Warpath. One word – Brutal!! Wholly moly!!! I am guessing this is what Blood Red Throne would sound like if you put them on fast forward! They were harsh, ridiculously fast, growly and angry…very very angry!!!! They totally live up to there name. Again, not my cup of tea really, but they had a packed out hall of followers who were loving it, and it was easy to see that they are real crowd pleasers if that is what you like. For me, they are a bit like your aunty who talks too much – it is great to see them for a bit, but after a while you need to take a break to let your ears breath!

05 Warpathhttps://www.facebook.com/warpathire/

Our final band of the evening (mainly because we are old and can’t take the pace any more) were event headliners, Skindred. For me (Beth), after living in the dark ages, in a metal sense, for quite a number of years, it is very rare that I can actually say I have seen a band before, however I am pleased to announce that this is the third time I have seen Skindred!! I have always been a fan since they popped onto the scene in the late nineties (before I went dark) and was really looking forward to seeing them again and they didn’t disappoint. Ahead of the release of their forthcoming album, ‘Big Tings’, the Reggae Metal masters from Newport delighted the packed main hall with their unique blend of musical styles and had the whole place rocking and bouncing from start to finish. It is always a pleasure to watch them perform and they finished off the day, and the weekend perfectly.

06 Skindredhttps://www.facebook.com/skindredofficial/

And with that we were done. Absolutely bloody knackered, but full of joy and admiration for the range of styles, and strength of talent that had been provided to us over the weekend, even though we still didn’t get to see other bands that were on our wish list and we can only apologise to them for that! Hammerfest is now an institution and the organisers sure put together a fantastic weekend to celebrate its Tenth Anniversary. As the snow started to fall (because that is the way we do weather here in Wales – hardcore) we took to our beds again, smiling that happy / melancholy smile that you will only know if you have been to a festival. Full of great memories of the weekend but tinged with the knowledge that it was all over….for another few months anyway. Bring on Hard Rock Hell!!

 

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.

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages

Apparition – The Awakening

The Awakening Cover

Apparition-The Awakening (2018)

WormholeDeath Records

Running Time 52.55

Release Date 02 February 2018

Reviewer Tsarina Wilson

9/10

Apparition are a band from the UK and their music is a mix of so many things. It’s rock, it’s operatic, it’s haunting but one thing it is, is brilliant.

This metal rock band formed in 1997 and David Homer (Bass) first started the band as a female voice project. In 2014 there was the addition of guitarist Amy Lewis and drummer Ashley Guest, also of Benediction and Besieged, followed by returning vocalist Fiona Creaby, also of Fallen Arise, who reunited with the band after 5 years away.

They began writing the material for The Awakening to follow on from various studio projects, including Drowned in Questions (2006), their previous successful EP The Salvation, which was released in 2008, and For Vengeance and For Love (2011).

They have travelled all over the UK and Europe as support band for well-known acts such as Septic, Revamp, The Agonist, Delain, and have appeared at festivals such as The Dames of Darkness festival (UK), Metal Over Malta (Malta) and the Kraken Festival (Belgium)

The 2011 album “For Vengeance and For Love” was well received and it was David’s idea was to record, mix, and master it all at Hertz Studio in Bialystok in Poland, with the well-known Wielawski Bros who have also worked with Hate, Vader, and The Foreshadowing, to name a few.

In 2015, guitarist Paul “Kull” Culley joined the band as co-writer, alongside David and Fiona. With mixing and mastering completed in 2016, planning the release became priority in 2017, when Apparition signed to WormHole Death Records (Italy). This coincided with 20 years of Apparition history and the release was due for early 2018.

Arranged and produced by Fiona and Kull, this album is just brilliant. The first track, The Awakening, being an instrumental, gives the listener a false sense of security, making you think it’s an ok opening for a great film track, then, boom, takes you straight into track two, Hold Back the Night and you certainly know you’re in for something special. The vocals are crisp and spine chilling, with drumming that will almost have you out of breath, and the guitar riffs are truly amazing. The songs take you on a ride of emotions, bringing you up, then calming you down, speaking of love, passion and loss but they are energetically put together and there is a great passion in the vocals.

The lineup of Ashley Guest (Drums), Fiona Creaby (Vocals), David Homer (Bass), Amy Lewis (guitars) Paul “Kull” Culley (guitars/sequencing) works so well together.

I love the artwork on the cover. After all, they say that the eye is the window to the soul and this band certainly gets to your soul. It doesn’t matter where you listen to this, it will give you goosebumps.

Track 8 “Home” is my favorite, as you can just close your eyes and melt away into it, making you grateful for what you have. Fiona’s voice is so gentle yet so strong, and the range of her vocals is out of this world. Although the tracks vary from soft and gentle to more rockier ones, the clarity of the vocals is never lost. The guitar riffs are wow, Ashley on drums is brilliant and the whole package just works so well together.

One thing I will say is you won’t get bored of listening to this album. It just keeps giving.

This album will very much be one I’ll be playing over and over.

 

TRACK LISTING

  • 1-The Awakening (intro)
  • 2-Hold Back the Night
  • 3-The Ames Of Darkness
  • 4-The Other Side
  • 5-Reasonance
  • 6-The Night an Angel Died
  • 7-Eternity
  • 8-Home
  • 9-Break the Chains
  • 10-Our Story Lives On
  • 11-Twilight
  • 12-As Shadows Play

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Apparition Promo Pic1

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.

Hammerfest X – Day One

Hammerfest X

Hafan y Moor Holiday Park,

Pwllheli, North Wales

Friday 16th March DAY ONE

Review by Rick Tilley & Beth Jones

 

As we have never done press for any HRH events before, we were very excited and honoured to be asked to cover this year’s Hammerfest, especially as it was the 10th Anniversary. Due to work commitments and children, we didn’t get there until the Friday morning and, once we arrived, it was straight to ‘work’!

The first band of the day was Callus, an up and coming three-piece from the North of England. Fast, fuzzy and doomy with great riffs, they reminded me in places of Candlemass at their heaviest, with harsh vocals. As the set progressed however, they got faster, went through a Metallica phase and ended up with the speed and precision of Megadeth. They gave an incredibly tight performance and their drummer, Ryan Ormerod, was amazing. It was a great sound, heavy but melodic at the same time and they had bags of stage presence considering there were only three of them. These guys are absolutely a name to be looking out for. Apparently, there was a big run on their EP/Merch after they played so I’m not the only one who thought they were damn fine!

01 Callushttps://www.facebook.com/Callus.band/

Next up on Stage 2 were Sergeant Thunderhoof. A Psychedelic Stoner/Doom Metal outfit from Bath who gave us a set which was a lot more melancholy, slower and angsty, but still heavy! They are a new name to me and whilst they are great musicians it felt a bit flat after seeing Callus, who were a very hard act to follow. That’s not a criticism of the band, more the fact that it takes a while for me to appreciate some Stoner bands. The lead singer has a great voice though and they were very catchy when they got going. I fully intend to familiarize myself with their material though as they have much potential!

02 Sergeant Thunderhoofhttps://www.facebook.com/sergeantthunderhoof/

After taking in Sergeant Thunderhoof and having a brief wander round the Merch Market in the second stage hall, we moved over to the main arena for a blast of ‘HEAVY’ metal in the shape of BallsDeep! They were their usual manic selves and were packing out the room with their loyal following. They gave us some seriously heavy grooves and an energy packed show, their own tagline of ‘Aggressive Not Progressive’ sums them up perfectly. These guys are always worth watching and the new screens/lights (new to me anyway) at the back of the stage that were being used for all the main stage bands really added to the effect.

03 BallsDeephttps://www.facebook.com/ballsdeepmetal/

Needing a drink and a nice sit down after the head wobbling from BallsDeep, we nipped back over to second stage to catch local band Redwood Avenue. These guys were another new name to me. They offered a more modern metal mixture of harsh verses and sung choruses… it’s quite a Djenty, math metal style feel. They were good, but for me the music needs more of a hook; it felt a little disjointed in places but the guys are only young so this will hopefully come with time, and they pulled in a good crowd to watch them which is always a good sign!

04 Redwood Avenuehttps://www.facebook.com/redwoodavenue2014/

One of the ‘definite, must see’ bands we had earmarked to watch were up next on the Main Stage – Triaxis – and what an absolute pleasure it was to witness their fantastic performance at what was sadly their last ever gig. I first saw them over 5 years ago with a very different line-up but it didn’t feel wrong watching them today. Becky Baldwin is a beast on the Bass, Angel Wolf-Black has a stunning voice and Dakesis guitarist, Matt Jones, who had taken over guitar duties for this gig, was utterly blistering. Triaxis might be no more but they certainly went out with a bang and leave many great memories!

05 Triaxishttps://www.facebook.com/Triaxis/

After a little break, next up for us was the brilliantly mental Acid Reign. As you would expect, they were absolutely awesome, utterly hilarious…and very very silly. A stage manager’s worst nightmare, it’s like the last 30 odd years hadn’t happened! They may be older and greyer but the energy levels are incredible, with vocalist Howard charging round the stage like ‘Roadrunner’, practicing his free running skills on the monitors and speaker cabs! Loads of younger bands could learn a thing or two from these guys. With energy coming out of every orifice they provided us with non-stop jokes and laughs, but were still musically perfect. This is a band on top of their game. By the end Howard was “totally fucked”- his words. To be honest, we were just watching them! A great set from a formidable band.

06 Acid Reignhttps://www.facebook.com/acid.reign.thrash/

We stayed in the main arena for the next act on our wish list – Blaze Bayley. This was the first time I’ve seen Blaze with the guys from Absolva backing him and bloody hell it’s good! Blaze still has a great set of pipes and is an imposing presence onstage, Chris Appleton (who pulls some awesome Cheshire Cat grins when he’s playing) is a really underrated guitarist both in this band and Absolva, as are Karl and Martin. These guys just do not stop working and are in the midst of another leg of a massive world tour which doesn’t seem to have stopped for 18 months. The amount of gigs played has turned these four into a metal machine so tight it’s like spandex!

07 Blaze Bayleyhttps://www.facebook.com/officialblazebayley/

After the last couple of classic acts on the main stage, we decided it was time to thrash it up again and headed over to Stage 2 for Critical Solution, who are a pretty good Thrash band from Norway! They look like fairly young guys and probably need slightly catchier tunes to take it to the next level, however, they played very well live. They have been around for a while but they are a new name to me and I will be checking out their studio output considering how much I love thrash.

08 Critical Solutionhttps://www.facebook.com/CriticalSolution/

Wanting to cover as much as possible, we left Critical Solution a little early, and nipped back across to the main stage to catch some of German band Obscura. We were met by a barrage of seven string guitars, a six string bass, polyrhythmic time signatures, very harsh vocals and schizophrenic songs. It was pretty much impossible to see the band through the incredible amount of dry ice that filled the whole stage area and that made it difficult to really connect with them. Technically, they were outstanding, but musically they left me feeling a bit cold. However they had pulled in a good crowd and were giving a great performance, if you like that sort of thing …and there are plenty that do!

09 Obscurahttps://www.facebook.com/RealmOfObscura/

Heading back to the second stage again, next up were UK Thrashers Mörti Viventi. Having loved the album “The Day The Dead Returned…”, which Dawn reviewed last year (READ IT HERE https://ever-metal.com/2016/05/19/morti-viventi-the-day-the-dead-returned/), when MV was just a one man band, I was really looking forward to seeing Mörti Viventi as a full live band, especially as I had missed them at Uprising last year due to my interview schedule, and they didn’t disappoint. They gave us great solid Thrash, in the vein of Testament, with catchy chunky riffs, super solos and tunes that overall packed a good punch. I’d really love to see them play a full, headline set somewhere but it’s great to see them get some recognition!

10 Morti Viventihttps://www.facebook.com/mortiviventiuk/

So to the headliners on the Main stage…Sepultura! We don’t really need to say much about them. They are always outstanding and have been for so long. Vocalist Derrick Green has now been with the band for TWENTY years (where has the time gone?) and prowled the stage like a demon, whilst Andreas Kisser leaves you completely floored with his guitar work. We would have loved to have watched more of the show but, as a disabled person and with a girlfriend who is only 5ft and is the one trying to get some photos, due to the sheer number of people in the main arena, it was incredibly difficult to find anywhere to stand comfortably. Recently it has seemed overcrowded in the main arena for headline bands. It was the same for Saxon two years ago at Hard Rock Hell and it takes away some of the enjoyment. We both ended up getting too claustrophobic to even hear the music anymore and that was a shame.

11 Sepulturahttps://www.facebook.com/sepultura/

After suffering as long as we both could in the main arena we went back to Stage 2 to watch Southend On Sea Metalheads Forged In Black, another great band who Ever Metal reviewed recently (Check out Tsarina’s thoughts on their most recent EP “Sinner Sanctorum” HERE https://ever-metal.com/2018/01/15/forged-in-black-sinner-sanctorum-ep/). When we walked into the second stage arena, we were met with an almost completely empty room. Okay, most people wanted to see Sepultura, but I think something has to be done with the scheduling. I know it’s very difficult at a Festival and you are never going to be able to see everyone you want but when a band is going onstage at 11pm to literally nobody at one of the ‘big events’ of the year then something needs to change. However Forged In Black were absolutely superb and gave us an extremely tight display of great, hard hitting, old school metal, laced with lovely guitar work, excellent vocals and fabulous stage presence. I felt a bit sorry for them but, nonetheless, they played their proverbial arses off and the crowd did start to fill out a little as the set went on. If you missed them then you missed a treat!!

12 Forged In Blackhttps://www.facebook.com/forgedinblacks/

Other than the feeling of overcrowding in the main arena and the ‘undercrowding’ of the other near the end, the first day at Hammerfest X was an absolute blinder. Loads of great bands proving that the quality from the bottom of the bill to the top is incredible, loads of friendly faces, many people in fancy dress putting a smile on your face and the usual array of stalls managing to make you part with your hard earned cash! For us the bands of the day were Triaxis, Acid Reign, Blaze Bayley, Forged In Black and especially Callus, who impressed us massively, in fact we spent most of the day saying “yeah they were good, but not as good as Callus!” We went to bed very tired but very happy, looking forward with excitement to the next day – a day filled not only with great bands, but also a packed interview schedule!

 

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.

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages

 

 

Dirty Machine – Discord

Discord Cover

DIRTY MACHINE

DISCORD

Running time: 39.14

Zombie Shark Records

Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

9 out of 10

 

If any of you read my reviews on a regular basis, or, in fact, know me at all, you should know that I am a thrash/traditional heavy metal girl at heart. But, that doesn’t mean I ignore all the other genres of metal music and have lots of other favourites too. One such era of metal that I DID like, and I know a lot of purist metalheads didn’t, was the Nu-Metal phase from the early 2000’s.

Bands such as Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit and Korn would fuse together metal riffs and rap lyrics along with DJ samples, and it really did almost take over the music scene. And still flying the flag for the genre since their formation in 2012, Dirty Machine are a Nu-Metal outfit from Los Angeles, California.

They quickly built up an underground following, especially in the Kansas City area, mainly due to getting regular air play on the leading Kansas City rock station “98.9 The Rock” and headlining the Jägermeister stage at the 2016 Kansas City Rockfest, and have shared the stage with the likes of Ghost, Trivium, SixxAM, Disturbed, Hell Yeah and Alien Ant Farm. They have recently toured with Insane Clown Posse and have also performed with bands such as Adema, HED PE, Motorgrater and Cory Feldman (impressive list I must say!)

They have recently signed a deal with Zombie Shark Records, a new record label from Noah “Shark” Robertson (drummer with Motorgrater, The Browning) and Discord is their debut album. It was produced by Ben Jovi and Dirty Machine at Left Coastal Label Studios, mixed by Arnold “Hedge” Quezeda and Darren Davis at Blunoize Studios, and mastered by Josh Wickman from Dreadcore Productions (King 810, Within the Ruins)

Influenced by the likes of Korn, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, Linkin Park, Nonpoint, Mudvayne and Sevendust to name but a few, the band are not afraid to let their influences be known, with a very strong Linkin Park / Disturbed vibe to a number of the tracks.

The modern fusion of the most electrifying elements of Nu-Metal and rap metal is evident from the very first song and it was during this track that I knew I was going to love the album. There is a great sync between the aggressive rapper lines of lead singer David Leach and the cleaner vocals of guitarist and vocalist Darren Davis, and the blazing guitar riffs mixed with the wicked samples of DJ Ecusa make for an awesome sound.

This album has everything a great Nu-Metal album should have, and together with the aggression and attitude this record emits, it takes you right back to the good old days of the metal / DJ / rap combo. I have seen it described as “one of the strongest metal records of 2017” and I can see where the author of that quote is coming from.

This album has a lot to offer for all nu-metal fans and even if you are not a really big fan of the genre, it will have you tapping your fingers and singing along in no time.

The Nu-Metal era has received a lot of criticism over the years, many older metalheads dismissing it as a genre altogether, branding it “new-shit!” but I think, as I do with any other metal genre, it deserves its place in metal history.

Listening to this album in my car made me remember the twenty-something year old me and made me realise just how much I did like the genre. I may be in my early forties now, but I sincerely hope that more bands like Dirty Machine make an entrance back on to the scene again.

We have had the NWOBHM revival, why can’t we have a Nu-Metal one?!

 

TRACK LISTING

  • 1. Discord
  • 2. Seeds
  • 3. Self-Made Hero
  • 4. Social Recoil
  • 5. Ecusa’s Nightmare
  • 6. Built 3:32
  • 7. C4 2:45
  • 8. Wonka
  • 9. Refuse to Follow (bonus track)
  • 10. Victory (bonus track)
  • 11. J-Dead (bonus track)

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

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

Rock Goddess – It’s More Than Rock and Roll EP

It's More Than Rock And Roll EP Cover

Rock Goddess – It’s More Than Rock And Roll EP

Running Time: 13:27

Release Date: 19/05/2017

Bite You To Death Records

Review by Beth Jones

5/10

 

Here’s where I make some of you feel old! Rock Goddess where originally formed in 1977, two years before I was born, and had success in the 80’s as part of the NWOBHM movement. Hailing from London, sisters Jodie and Julie Turner, and their friend Tracey Lamb, became a three piece with a good cult following. The band had a decade of success, before life got in the way and they disbanded. They gave it a couple more shots in the 90’s and 2000’s, but it didn’t amount to much, however the fans were desperate for them to all come back together as the original line up, which finally happened in 2013. Since then, fans have been waiting with bated breath for the appearance of their new album.

Well… they haven’t quite got that far yet, but in March 2017 they did give us this 3 track EP! It’s a start!

Now, the press release for this says, ‘If you are nestling down for a comfortable trip into the borough of Nostalgia, South London, then you had better prepare to have that notion scrambled’, however, I couldn’t disagree more. If you are a fan of classic 80’s nostalgic Rock, then this is the EP for you! If music was an outfit, this would have more tassels, leather, and spandex than Alice Cooper’s wardrobe!! It is laden with solid, chunky, headbanging riffs, tonnes of overdrive, and classic Rock vocal harmonies, which makes it straightforward listening – there are no hidden meanings, no interesting little twiddles that you weren’t expecting – just good, salt of the earth, meat and two veg, ROCK! And for me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and to be brutally honest, making it ‘current’ would have totally missed the point and spoiled it in my eyes! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

The EP kicks off with ‘It’s More Than Rock And Roll’. Maybe it is if you look at is symbolically, on a Tuesday, whilst leaning slightly to one side, and eating blue Smarties, but to me it isn’t anything more than Rock & Roll! A catchy repetitive hook draws the song along, with a very distinct Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Middle 8, Solo, Chorus X2 formula which means you can toe-tap and sing along instantly, and it doesn’t outstay its welcome. My biggest criticism of this track is the production – things don’t seem to sit right in it for me – the guitar and vocals are too far back, the bass guitar and snare too far forwards and it’s all a bit muddy. I have listened to it on a couple of different devices and have still drawn the same conclusion. Maybe this is how the band wanted it to sound, maybe I am missing some deep symbolic meaning signifying the struggle through the mud of the music industry, and life, and how sometimes things can’t always be at the forefront of our minds……But for me it just sounds not quite as balanced as I would have liked. I am a simple girl, with simple tastes and this track didn’t entirely wet my appetite.

The second track, ‘Back Off’, is better. Crisper, cleaner sounding, and in general a better song, whilst still just being straightforward. The vocals are more raw (or roarrr!!, whichever way you want to look at it!) but it works – it still has the trademark harmonies, and over-driven guitar riffs, however the solo is more impressive than the first track, and the rhythm changes and use of more dynamics make it a bit more exciting. It is more lyrically substantial than the first track, which makes a big difference. For me, the best of the three tracks by a good margin.

Track three, ‘We’re All Metal’, is back to the classic rock solid anthem. Chunky, down-tuned and dare I say a bit predictable – nothing wrong with that – it does exactly what it says on the tin. The fact it fades out at the end (which you will soon come to learn is one of my biggest bug bears) ​is a disappointment and takes away from what is a pretty good song and leaves you a bit non-plus– it’s just lazy – please for the love of music, work out a way to finish the song!

All in all, this EP is…..OK. It is a bit like your comfy knickers – when you wear them, you know exactly what to expect, and they make you feel secure, but you wouldn’t wear them on a hot date! If you prefer comfy knickers to a crotchless thong, then you will feel safe with this EP! I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, because I did, but it didn’t blow me away. However, it is nice to see the ladies back and still kicking it like the good old days!

 

TRACK LIST

It’s More Than Rock And Roll
Back Off
We’re All Metal
SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Rock Goddess Promo Pic1

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of 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