Immortal Machinery Interview

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Immortal Machinery are a three-piece from London, England that have made ME, for one, sit up and take notice. With vocalist Steph K’s very distinctive voice, bassist Matt G’s jazz sensibilities and drummer Tom S’s hard hitting grooves they have found themselves making their own brand of metal, dark and melodic with gothic influences. I reviewed their second album “An Imperfect Storm” back in March of this year and jumped at the chance to get the guys to answer some questions for us.

Hi, I’m Dawn King from Ever Metal. I would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to us and I hope you are all well?

We’re doing pretty great, glad we could have a chat!

For those who haven’t heard of Immortal Machinery, can you give us some history about the band?

We started in the latter half of 2013 – we had met at a jam night in central London a couple of years prior, and once I put a few songs together we finally started pushing ahead with the band as a more serious entity.

It became apparent quite quickly that we’d have to do things the DIY way – both our albums have been recorded in a shed with no running water. No shiny studios for us! We also very early on started booking our own self-promoted shows; there’s something quite satisfying about taking control and having the chance to be a curator of other good bands.

Where did the name Immortal Machinery, which I think is great by the way, come from?

If I want to impress people, I tell them that the name sums up what I believe is the human condition – an immortal soul in a bodily machine. Then I realise how pretentious that sounds and admit the truth: I wanted to call the band “Mortal Engines” after a rather good sci fi book. But of course, in the age of Google (and lawsuits) you probably want a more unique name.

Your second album “An Imperfect Storm” was released in april of this year. How is it beng received (obviously other than by me because I thought it was fab!)

It’s a big step up from our first recordings, and I think people are really responding to that. The cliché is for bands to struggle to top the impression they made with their debut – I feel like we’ve grown significantly since then so showing everyone what we’re made of now has been really satisfying. Also, it’s nice to surprise people with such a big string-led sound.

And how was the launch party? I was gutted I missed it.

Aside from your absence, it was everything we could have hoped for! For those who don’t know, we took over an abandoned attic in Camden – we played a set, cracked a few bottles open and then people got into jamming and doing a bit of metal karaoke. People were only given the address after buying a ticket, so there was quite an air of mystery about the event. It felt more like a house party with live music; with so many venues closing, I’d love to see more bands do stuff like this. There’s a video of the party here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-3jL2OHUbw&t=67s

I stated in my review that your album “An Imperfect Storm” had an individuality and a uniqueness about it. Did you purposefully set out to record something that was different?

I feel as if there’s a fine line between doing your best to be original, and just making gratuitously weird music (prog..ahem…). Yes, we wanted to make something unique, but I’d like to think that we did so in a way that played to our strengths. I’ve been playing the violin since before the age of 4, so to orchestrate string parts felt like the most natural thing to do; Mat the bassist had the freedom to throw as much jazz virtuosity as he felt like into the mix – and Peter the drummer had full license to show off in his own way too.

So, Steph, you not only provide the guitars and the vocals but also the stringed instruments. How does that work at a live show?

A rather nice chap called Mr Samsung Tablet helps us out; it’s perhaps not in the spirit of rock’n’roll, but until we can afford to bring out a string quartet on the road, we have no choice but to play the string parts on a backing track. Though it’s a recording, I would dare to argue that from a sonic perspective it’s still more “real” than having a keyboardist play synthetic orchestra sounds – it’s still me playing, after all!

And your voice!! That was one of the highlights of the album for me. How do other people view the vocals?

Thankfully, it does get a fair bit of good feedback although I’m well aware that it’s just not some people’s cup of tea. I think the general expectation is for a raspy classic rock voice or a power metal-style belter, and what I do jars with that somewhat. If I could sing like Bruce Dickinson, you’d better believe that I would. But I’m stuck being a midget with a deep voice…

My favourite track on the album is “Nail Me Upside Down” What is yours and why?

For me, it’s got to be “I Did it for You”. I’m very happy with the album as a whole, but I feel like if I had to sum up what we were trying to achieve in one track, it would be this one. Close second is “Tongues of Fire”, as personally I think Mat and Peter’s abilities on bass and drums really got showcased there.

Its hard to pick out your influences as you have such a distinctive sound. What bands and artists have influenced you as individuals and collectively?

Collectively, what we seem to value the most is top notch musicianship. Though they’re not what you might typically think of as virtuosos, bands like Sting and the Police, Toto and Steely Dan stand out to us as a real gold standard of tightness and proficiency.

For me – I love anything dark and miserable. Type O Negative and Danzig are up there, but I also love the work of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and I’m also an insufferable Springsteen fanboy (his lyrics are far more bleak than they’re given credit for).

Mat’s first love is Pink Floyd; but he also loves weird and obnoxious jazz fusion from the 70s and 80s, like Allan Holdsworth or Frank Gambale. He’s also introduced me to an obscenely talented young trio from London called Preston Glasgow Lowe. It’s a world away from rock and metal, but I think that’s a very healthy thing for the band.

Peter is a huge fan of drumming icon Dave Weckl, and consequently any of the many projects he’s been in. He’s also the one who got us listening to bands like Toto and actually appreciate their ability rather than just belt along to the chorus of “Africa”.

Most of us have a musical guilty pleasure, perhaps a band or genre of music that doesn’t fall into what people expect us to listen to. Who or what are your musical guilty pleasures?

There’s a Swedish band called Dirty Loops who became a bit of a YouTube sensation by doing outrageously intricate jazz/funk re-workings of current pop songs. We are in awe of their ability, but no matter which way you dress it up we are still bouncing along to songs from Justin Bieber and Adele.

We are now in the middle of festival season. If you could play one festival anywhere in the world, which would it be and why?

It seems that when it comes to heavy music, the East Europeans and South Americans both seem to go nuts in a way that other countries just aren’t at the moment. So, anything from either of those two parts of the world.

So what’s next on the horizon for Immortal Machinery? Any plans for a tour?

We’re hatching some plans… We’ve already played 6 shows in Europe and Scandinavia, so we’d like to do more of that!

Well, thank you for your time. Is there anything else you would like to add?

We’re just happy you enjoyed the album so much, it really means a lot.

Thank You

Dawn”

So, there you have it. Not only are this band great at what they do, they are also cool to talk to (albeit via email) Thank you to the guys for giving up their time to talk to me and if you haven’t checked out this fantastic band I highly recommend you do.

 

Dead of Night – In Search of Ancient Magic

In Search Of Ancient Magic Cover

DEAD OF NIGHT

IN SEARCH OF ANCIENT MAGIC

9 OUT OF 10

RUNNING TIME: 57:54

INDEPENDENT

 

For years, the symphonic metal genre has been dominated by the Europeans and the Scandinavians, leaving the British bands somewhat lagging behind. That, however, is about to change as good old Blighty has a new band on the scene, and they play symphonic metal just as well as, if not better, than their predecessors.

Dead of Night are a five piece band from Manchester in the North West of England, and if this album, their third, is anything to go by they are going to take the genre by storm.

Formed in 2013 by composer Carl Eden, who needed an outlet for his compositions, their first album, The Dead Shall Rise, was released in 2014. With Carl playing most of the parts and accompanied by just a singer, it was soon clear he needed a guitarist. After a few personnel changes, which included the recruitment of new singer Briony Featon, guitarist Dan Roberts and bassist Jason Peacock, they decided to re-record the debut album under the new name of The Dead Shall Rise Again, this time with the new band members. This was also accompanied by their first live performance at The Railway in Bolton, UK.

In Search of Ancient Magic is their third album and it is hard to recognise it as an independent release, the production and musicianship being second to none. Described on their own promo notes as “neo-prog folk symphonic rock/metal….kinda,” this shows just what a wide spectrum they cover. Combining the sounds of bands such as Nightwish, Kamelot and Leverage to name a few, this is a band of diverse talent.

Opening and closing with Gandalf-esque spoken word passages, its gives the impression this is a concept album, which it isn’t, but I do feel there should be more of these spoken passages throughout the album.

However, this does not take away from the awesomeness of this album. The keyboard wizardry of Carl Eden gives an air of magic and mystique, and I am not sure if this is just another talent from Carl’s keyboards, but the stringed instruments add that element of symphony and grandeur and I can just imagine these guys on stage supported by a full string orchestra.

I love the use of sound effects throughout the album, adding that simple touch that brings fantasy to life and the time changes veer the band into neo-prog territory while maintaining their symphonic sound. In a genre that is saturated with female vocalists, Briony is a breath of fresh air, reminding me a lot of the Annette-era of Nightwish and her fantastic voice is showcased on the Hiraeth, a beautiful ballad half way through the album.

All the musicians turn in a fantastic performance, working well together and proving that even a band that’s been together for just a few years can achieve the same sound as a band who have been around decades.

My favourite track is Across the East Riding, which along with Child of Wolves, are two of the rockier songs on the album, mixing heavy riffs with choral backing vocals.

This really is a great album and one that I am glad I had the pleasure to review. I will definitely be checking out their debut album (both versions of it) and looking forward to anything they bring out in the future.

This band will make themselves a name in the symphonic metal genre and I, for one, think that it will be a BIG one too!

And recent news on the band’s website says they have now signed with Flare and Flame records, in partnership with Riff Media so they are definitely destined for big things!!

 

TRACK LISTING

  • 1. One Night Holy
  • 2. In Search Of Ancient Magic
  • 3. I Will Go Down To the Sea
  • 4. Child of Wolves
  • 5. Hiraeth
  • 6. Michael Faraday
  • 7. If I Would Be King
  • 8. The Old Straight Track
  • 9. The Might of the Deep
  • 10. Across the East Riding
  • 11. The Other Side of the Rain

 

SOCIA MEDIA

 

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Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” 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

 

Apocalypse Orchestra Interview

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Apocalypse Orchestra are a folk/doom crossover band from Sweden formed in 2013. I have never really been a fan of folk metal, it being a genre I tended to shy away from, but I love the whole concept of doom, and thought the mix of the two would be interesting, if not unusual. When their debut album “The End is Nigh” landed in the Ever Metal inbox I was lucky enough to not only be able to review it but also to do an email interview with the band. I hope you enjoy learning a bit more about the band that is Apocalypse Orchestra!

“Hi, I’m Dawn King from Ever Metal! I would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to us and I hope you are all well? For those who haven’t heard of Apocalypse Orchestra before can you give us some history about the band?

[Erik] Well, Mikael, Andreas and I have played in various bands prior to AO, and when our most recent, a folk rock band, went belly up, Mikael came up with the idea of trying something different. Building on our love for medieval music and culture, he asked me if I would like to try to mix actual medieval tunes, alongside our own contemporary melodies, and fuse them with metal. Slow metal, since most folk metal acts tend to go in the other direction. Given that we like quite a few doom bands this felt natural. And when we tried some combinations of medieval melodies with this kind of metal, we knew we were on to something!

Where did the name ‘Apocalypse Orchestra’ come from?

[Mikael] We sought long and hard for a name that suited us. Finally we found one that worked. In medieval times the thought of the apocalypse was ever present, be it through famine, pestilence or of a more divine nature. Also, the word apocalypse means “to reveal” which we interpret as, even if it’s the end of the world as we know it, it might also be the beginning of something new. 

Your debut album “The End Is Nigh” was released in May of this year. How is it being received so far?

[Erik] We have been dumbfounded by the amount of positive receptions! Even though we are very proud at what we have accomplished and created, we couldn’t believe that our album, especially being a debut, could spread as far and wide so fast. It has also been really humbling to read all the good natured reviews.

[Mikael] I find it very satisfying that people seem to have really listened to and understood what we wanted to achieve, that we’re not doing “traditional” folk metal but something different.

Before that you released a demo, “The Garden of Earthly Delights” back in 2015. What made you decide to use tracks from that on the album and not write completely new material?

[Erik] We started out composing songs to make an entire album. Along the way, there was suddenly a demand for some sort of release. People wanted to buy CD’s at gigs and whatnot, so we were about halfway through composing for the album, and thus we released what we had at the time.

There is an obvious medieval theme to your music! Is history something you are all interested in or is it the influence of just one person?

[Mikael] We all have some kind of historical interest. Several of us like medieval faires and medieval/folk music. We even have a black smith in the band who knows a lot about medieval smithing.

[Erik] Yes, and we have a great love of medieval art and other cultural expressions as well. Many of our influences can be found in the actual era.

Likewise, your lyrics deal with some very dark themes. Who comes up with these ideas and do you collaborate as a band when writing material?

[Erik] Usually one of us spawns the idea, the better part of a song’s lyrics, and then we throw it back and forth among us. It can be a bit tricky of course, especially when Mikael writes the most part of any song, and it is I who will have to sing it and make it work melodically, haha.

[Mikael] Yes, sometimes the first drafts of any lyrics would require a rapper for it to work.

I watched the video to your track “The Garden Of Earthly Delights” and it was set in a stunning location! Where was it filmed and whose idea was it to shoot the video there?

[Mikael] We looked at several locations to find the perfect one. We even checked an old copper mine but when we found Vasaborgen (The Vasa Castle) in Uppsala, only 100km from our home town, we instantly knew it was the one. The contact at Vasaborgen immediately loved the idea and was very helpful in making it happen.

[Erik] The location is a part of the greater castle area, an unrenovated part of the castle grounds with its original 16th century interior and is now used as a museum. It was monumental to be given the chance to film there, and it left us in awe of being in a place where so many have gone before us. It was also cold as hell that day, which you can clearly see in the video when we exhale!

You all play a vast array of instruments on the album, such as Hurdy Gurdy, Lute, Bagpipes and Rauschpfeife! How important was it to include those authentic sounds when recording and does it present any issues when playing the material live?

[Erik] It is key to have them on any recording. They are a part of our sound, our soul. Live we try to incorporate as much as we can, but depending on the venue and gear, we also have parts of the music playing from the computer. But it’s more fun when can go all out live, like recently when we had our release party, guest musicians, all kinds of weird instruments, and our friend in the choir performing live with us!

[Mikael] Wooden instruments, and traditional strings, always pose a challenge when playing this kind of music but it has worked out well so far.

As much as I don’t like to pigeon hole bands, your music has been classed as Folk Metal meets Doom Metal. Do you think that is an accurate description and if not how would you describe your music?

[Mikael] Someone said we sounded like Contemporary Medieval Metal and we think that fits rather well, but we don’t mind being called folk metal either since we share several elements with that genre.

[Erik] I also get the doom element, since you can most likely hear that we like and listen to a lot of doom bands. But on the other hand, you can as easily find other elements as well…

Which bands and artists have influenced you as individuals and collectively and are there any current bands that you admire?

[Mikael] The bands that started my interest in medieval music were Garmarna and Falso Bordone. Bands and artists that influence me now are Amorphis, Myrkur, Anna von Hausswolf and Obsequiae to name just a few.

[Erik] I agree with Mikael with most of his name dropping. Add Paradise Lost (which all of the band love) and other folk metal acts like Lumsk, Myrkgrav, Otyg combined with different kind of bands like Type O Negative, and you can imagine that we get our inspirations from a wide variety of ‘genres’.

Most of us have musical guilty pleasures, perhaps a band or genre of music that doesn’t fall into what people might expect you to listen to. Who or what are your musical guilty pleasures?

[Mikael] I think we’re too old to be embarrassed anymore ha ha. I listen to a lot of electronic music. My favourites right now are Christian Gabel and the soundtrack to Stranger Things.

[Erik] Haha, probably many that others would label ‘guilty pleasures’, but I am not ashamed of any of them! We can go all the way from 70’s and 80’s AOR to nu-metal to the most horrible kind of eclectic folk music… I like way to much music for my own good. But, for the sake of it, one band that I listen to a lot right now is one of my childhood heroes, Def Leppard!

What was it like to have Per Nilsson, of Scar Symmetry and Kaipa fame, mix your debut album ‘The End Is Nigh’?

[Erik] Like a breeze! He had a really good grasp of our sound to begin with, being a friend of the band. So he simply took our recording and refined it, made it grow, and transformed it into something so much more than we would ever have been able to do ourselves. Still it’s fun that we also could give him a challenge, since we use all these bizarre instruments, and also due to the fact that sometimes our arrangements are well over 100 channels… Still, he is a champ, and as he himself listens to and plays many different kinds of music, we were never even worried.

Are there any plans for a tour? Are you likely to hit British soil?

[Mikael] We would love to, playing live is a reward in itself to us. Meeting listeners and spreading our plague! We feel confident that we will visit your shores in the future as more and more discover our music. We have no shows booked this summer since the album was released a bit too late to play the festivals but hopefully we’ll get to do some concerts this fall.

There are some hugely diverse and major music festivals around the world! If you could play one of them which would it be and why?

[Erik] It is impossible to pick just one, since so many are so good, and between them the diversity in itself makes the choice impossible. We have played both in the “natural metal scene” as well as other non-metal events, both with positive feedback, so we are not necessarily bound to either one. We could just as easily show up on a renaissance fair as well as on a big metal festival, or maybe one day we will just throw a theatrical medieval metal epos in a setting like Alhambra in Spain, Dalhalla in Sweden, or why not the above concept as a traveling show in medieval castles through Europe?

[Mikael] I agree with all of the above. It’s not so much about the festival as it is with a location that magnifies the music and the show.

Is there anything you would like to add before we finish?

[Both] Thank you very much for taking your time and interest with us, it is much appreciated, and we also thank you for helping us spreading the plague. Stay folk!

Thank You so much

Dawn”

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the guys at Apocalypse Orchestra for their time and also for their rapid response. I hope to see more of this great band, both on record and on the stage, in the near future and if you haven’t checked them out…..Go and do so!!

To find out more about Apocalypse Orchestra please go to the following links:

 

 

 

 

 

Uprising Festival Interview with Simon Yarwood

Uprising

Uprising 2017

Simon Yarwood Interview 27/05/2017

Interview by Rick Tilley and Beth Jones.

I’ve known Simon Yarwood for about five years now, primarily for being one of the guitarists in Resin. However, in more recent times, he has become well known in the Metal and Rock community for promoting and organising excellent gigs and events at the Firebug in Leicester and further afield through ‘Resin Events’ and that’s why I caught up to have a chat with him at Uprising because he is the genius/madman that organises this huge event, with the main day (Saturday) taking place at De Montfort Hall and a further two events on the Friday ‘The Night Before Uprising’ and Sunday ‘Uprising Aftermath’ at the aforementioned Firebug!

If you already know Simon then you’ll be aware of his razor sharp wit, incredibly dry sense of humour and massive selection of hugely colourful shirts. If you don’t know Simon then I’m warning you now about his razor sharp wit, incredibly dry sense of humour and massive collection of hugely colourful shirts. Simon is also a lovely guy and works his butt off to make sure that EVERYTHING runs as smoothly as possible. If you are thinking of going into the promotional side of things then I would heartily suggest Simon is one of the go to people so you can witness how things are done properly! He is always a pleasure to talk to and this was no exception!

Rick: Hi Simon, it’s lovely to see you again. This is the second year for Uprising. What made you decide that an already full festival circuit needed another event?

Simon: I think that we feel, and we still believe that this stands on its own two feet, you know, the quality of the venue and hopefully the organisational skills of myself and my partner behind it. I think there is room as well, especially when you look at the capacities of different ‘festivals’ for want of a better word,…it isn’t a word we use because Uprising is not a festival really, it’s just an event on its own, but there is a hole that we thought this would fill in terms of size. You have the sort of 200–300 capacity festivals and then you’ve got the 5000-10000 capacity festivals and there’s not really much that sits in between those. This has got, well the building itself will hold 2 and a half thousand people before we even move outside, so I think there was a space for it. With the right bands and the right backing from the public, I think it’s a hole that can be filled and we’ll fill it…and that’s cool!

Rick: Can you take us through some of the work that you do to put an event like this together?

Simon: I just ring my partner in crime, Matt, and say ‘can you do this?’ and ‘this needs doing’ and ‘can you do that?’ and ‘that needs doing’!

Rick: So it’s delegation?

Simon: Yeah, and then he’ll ring me and say ‘have you done this?’ and ‘that needs doing’ and we just kind of do that to each other really! We’ve both got different skills.

Beth: How long does it take to organise it? Do you start tomorrow?

Simon: Yeah. We will start tomorrow for next year. It’s like last year on the Sunday afterwards we were working on what we needed to do to put things in place for this year!

Rick: well that sort of leads into my next question. How did the arrangement / partnership with De Montfort Hall come about because it’s such an incredible venue?

Simon: It is yeah. I’ll be honest, I am lucky there because my partner at Uprising, Matt, he’s already got a relationship with this venue. He’s part of a board that put a festival on here called ‘Simon Says’. It’s completely different music you know, it’s more Indie, it’s very local bands focused and they’ll have the headliner, I think, this year is maybe The Wonder Stuff or someone like that, I can’t remember. So he’s got a relationship with the venue. So when we approached them to do something that was metal they trusted his past record and obviously he trusted me with my promotions and events that I put on, so that between us we would actually make it work. So he kind of leaves me to deal with anything bands and line-up related because he hasn’t got, maybe, the same feel for what bands need to be playing at the event, but when it comes to the venue itself and how we have to run such a large scale event, he’s got maybe more experience than me in that type of thing, so the two of us together, yeah we shout at each other and then it comes out right!

Rick: How many bands do you actually have to go through before you get to a line-up you are happy with? Because there have got to be bands who can’t do it etc.!

Simon: I would say for every band we book we’ve probably gone through anywhere from 5 to 10. for every slot we’ve probably got 10 bands that we’re looking at to fill that slot and you might find that instantly 7 of them can’t play, and then you’re down to 3 and you might take that 3 back up to 6 with others, you know, it’s just constantly changing. And you have got to put quite a mixed bag on to appeal. You need any sort of random Metalhead that will look at the line-up and there will be sort of 3 bands that are going to appeal to them, because that might be enough for him or her to make the decision to buy a ticket so you fill one slot with a thrash band and you may have another thrash band sitting as a possible for another slot, but you’ve already filled your quota of thrash bands, so they’ve got to go and you’ve got to fill it with a different style of metal so you’ve always got, hopefully, that right mix.

Rick: Obviously you’ve got a relationship with Simon Hall (Metal 2 The Masses Organiser), but how important is it for you to make sure that the Leicester Final of ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ is on here along with the rest of the bands?

Simon: The whole event was built round that you know! I mean Firebug where we put events on is an absolutely stunning little venue, but it is a small venue, and looking at a typical capacity for a final it wasn’t big enough, so then the conversation started with myself and Matt, whereby I said ‘look I want to run ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ but we need a venue for the final other than Firebug, what have we got,’ so Matt said ‘Well let’s do De Montfort Hall’ and I’m like.. ‘Woah… Yeah, well that’s gonna look a bit rubbish with 250 people in there’ and he went ‘well book some more bands then!’ I mean every band in that final, they will leave today, and the same last year, with photographs and video footage that they will never ever forget. I mean to get that production just to do a video would probably cost you ten thousand pounds, you know, for that lighting rig, for that stage, to use that venue for half an hour, to just film a video, would cost you ten thousand quid, I would imagine, and they are leaving here with a full load of footage and photos. I was watching them last year thinking ‘I want some of that! I’m booking my band! How come they’re all playing that stage…what have I done wrong? It’s brilliant. It’s a prize in itself you know. What I like as well is those bands playing that final and they are happy to play that final…to them that is probably their dream gig…until that winning band goes to Bloodstock, and then they realise how much more Bloodstock is. I know that because I’ve done it. I’ve won it, I’ve played it. I know what they are going to feel when they get there, they don’t! So they think this is amazing, but they haven’t yet experienced the Bloodstock experience, so I know that somewhere along the line in the next couple of months I’m gonna get a phone call going, ‘that was amazing, thank you so much’ and that’s what makes it worthwhile!

Rick: I know you have mentioned a bit about Matt, but you have got a load of people who you work with. How important is it to have people round that you trust?

Simon: It’s absolutely the most important thing. It’s more important than anything else! If I can say to anybody on our team, ‘I need this doing’, and I can then move on to do something else. It doesn’t matter what it is, if it is press related or artwork related, or production related, to know that you can just drop somebody an email asking them to do something and know that they’re either going to do it or let you know why they can’t is great. It frees your time up to go and do something that is perhaps more in your skill set. There are probably ten of us I think… all together!

Rick: Wow… that’s not a lot for an event this size!

Now this question is a bit sensitive… The attack in Manchester this week (Referring to the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande Concert on 22nd May, five days before Uprising). Do you think it is going to put people off going to festivals or events? Or… do you think there is going to be resilience and people are going to fight back?

Simon: I think that for every person that stays at home, there will be another person that makes sure they go out. Some people naturally want to show solidarity or defiance or community spirit and we are seeing that. You saw it in Firebug last night you know…to see everybody stay silent for a minute at 10 o’clock, just because somebody has asked them to. That sort of respect, especially in our community, is really important so… I think it makes you think you know. It makes us have to work harder. We’ve had the police here all the time. We have been very strict on access to certain areas of the building. But maybe that is a good thing!

Beth: It’s reassuring isn’t it?

Simon: Yeah, yeah! We had to get together, we had to have a meeting and we had to decide. The venue had to look at how to make it as safe as possible and of course that’s all going on with days to go! You know, you’ve got to react and you’ve got to put something in place really. But from the public side of things, I don’t think they’ll see anything other than a couple of policemen here that weren’t. They were here last year, you know, they just didn’t have to walk in the building. They just called by and asked if everyone was all right and then went again, but this year they have to be here all the time and they are loving it!

Beth: Yeah, from our point of view, everything still seems very relaxed inside!

Simon: It is, and that is because of the people who are here and if you make them feel safe then they are going to be relaxed aren’t they? And it is a safe place to be!

Rick: How do you want the event to grow over the next three to five years? I’m assuming you are going to carry it on?

Simon: Yeah, I’ve got no intention of saying ‘well there we go that’s it then!’ I’m reluctant to ever want to move away from this venue. I think the venue is important for the quality of the event. Seeing people’s faces when they walk into this venue for the first time, saying the things that they say…!

Rick: Me being one of them, you know, I am a London boy and for me I was always going to Hammy Odeon, and this is my first time here and I walked in and was like…wow, this is a lovely venue!

Simon: Yep, and you capture people instantly then don’t you, you know, before you’ve even heard a band? You walk in that reception and there’s like gold braided ropes and plush red carpets and a proper box office with videos playing… You know last year I had people walking in saying ‘So what room is Uprising in?’ and I was like…you’re in it!! It’s the whole thing…just knock yourself out, go for a walk, go and find things! and they were all ‘Wow this is amazing!’ So I don’t want to lose that you know? ‘Simon Says Festival’, which we hold here, just in the grounds over there. There is a big outdoor stage and a marquee that gets put up with a 300 capacity! We’ve also got a bandstand where the acoustic acts are playing, so my aim is to mirror that really. You know we could have three and a half thousand people here with a decent outdoor stage. Probably another two stages but still all contained within these grounds. I mean you’re sat outside the stage door now and that is usually a grubby place. However, we are sat at a picnic table under a tree!

Rick: It makes a big difference doesn’t it?

I then asked Beth if she had any questions for Simon!

Beth: I don’t think so. I am quite new at this.

Simon: So am I! (This caused lots of laughter)

Beth: No literally, my first ever interview earlier was Lawnmower Deth!!

Simon: Wow, baptism of fire!!

Beth: Exactly! You are obviously very passionate about this?

Simon: Is this ten times more than you expected it to be when you turned up?

Rick & Beth: Yes!!

Simon: Well that’s my job done then!

Rick: When I walked into that main stage I was like, ‘Well I wasn’t expecting that’!

Simon: Yeah that’s my job definitely done then!

Beth: Do you every get days when you think, ‘Why am I doing this?’

Simon: Yeah…seven days a week probably!! (Laughing) But when you see it coming together it is…

Beth: It’s a happy warm feeling?

Simon: Yeah because that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? At the end of the day, when those doors open, people walk in and the music starts. Those 12 hours are…

Rick: And are you pleased with the turnout?

Simon: I’m always happy with the turnout. As long as everyone who wanted to come has come, I’m happy. If more people come, great and if less people come…well, I don’t want anybody to be here who doesn’t want to be here so… I want everyone that wanted to be here to come, but if some can’t, for whatever reason, then that’s a shame! Whatever, I will always be happy with the turnout. It’s not the customer’s responsibility you know. You show them something and they decide if they want to come, and they come or they don’t and then whatever the result of that is you take it on the chin.

Beth: So, apart from starting to organise next year’s event, what are you intending to do on Monday morning?

Simon: Erm… I’ve no idea! I’ve got breakfast in the hotel, I know that, and after that I don’t know! Probably start paying some bills!! (Lots of laughing) I’m back at work on Tuesday. That’s the real life. My gaffer at work actually asked me a few months ago if my job interfered with my hobby too much! And then promoted me so!! Yeah, ‘You’ve got organisational skills mate… come and have a look at this!!’ (Laughing)

Rick: Ha-ha that’s great. I’d just like to say it was a brilliant performance earlier as well with Resin! It was very weird seeing you as a six piece with a violin player!

Simon: Yeah, it’s changed a bit hasn’t it?

Rick: Yeah it has and I love it!

Beth: That’s what I was going to ask you…who is your violinist? I really liked her, she was cool!

Simon: I’ve no idea!

Beth: Just some random bird then?

Simon: Yeah yeah, we just found her! It was an advert on Gumtree or something! (Roars of laughter)

Simon answered this last question in such a matter of fact way that if you didn’t know him you would swear this was actually how they found their violin player Emma. Poor girl, I don’t know how she puts up with them! I’m seeing Resin again, in a little over a week at, SOS Festival so I’m hoping I’ll get to ask her!

What I can tell you about Simon is that he is a real character, very interesting to talk to and extremely funny. Knowing him as a guitarist was good because Resin are a great band, and are due in the studio to begin recording their second album soon, but knowing him as a promoter and event organiser is a real pleasure because he throws his heart and soul into it! You only had to look at the smiles, not just on the faces of the audience, but everybody that had a job to do to see that his way of working gets results. He may well get flustered…but you NEVER see it. What you see is always a calm exterior! There is no doubt that Uprising does indeed have a very important part to play in the Rock and Metal calendar. It really was a fabulous event to be a small part of and if 2017 was anything to go by then 2018 will be even bigger and better.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank him, not only for a wonderful day (I want to get to all three days next year), but also for taking the time to talk to us at Ever Metal! Simon, you are a gentleman!

Rick

Resin Events

https://www.facebook.com/Resinevents/

Uprising Festival

https://www.facebook.com/TheUprisingFestival/

https://www.instagram.com/uprising.leicester/

Resin Band

http://www.resinband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/resinonline/

https://www.instagram.com/resinband/

resin-events

 

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

Apocalypse Orchestra – The End is Nigh

The End Is Nigh Cover

APOCALYPSE ORCHESTRA

THE END IS NIGH

9 OUT OF 10

Running time: 59:18

Despotz Records

 

With one leg stuck in medieval times and the other in modern metal, Apocalypse Orchestra have produced a genre that could be almost entirely their own. Combining the tone of the hurdy-gurdy (a traditional violin-like stringed instrument) and bagpipes with heavy guitars, they have brought together music that had been separated for more than 800 years.

Hailing from Gävle in Sweden, Apocalypse Orchestra was formed in 2013 by musical partners in crime, Mikael Lindstrom and Erik Larsson, and inspired by their love of folk music and slow metal, they decided to combine the two. With a foundation of original music and lyrics, they have incorporated melodies from as far back as the 11th century with the band’s goal being to “create a musical homage to a bygone musical era.”

With a live show that features theatrical performances, fire and projected animation, the band have become one of the most talked about acts currently on the Swedish circuit, and lyrical themes range from the everyday toils of man in the dark ages, to art, science and literature to views of other world existence.

Recorded throughout the latter half of 2016, The End is Nigh is the band’s debut album and was released on Despotz Records on 12th May 2017. The drums were tracked at Studio Overlook by William Blackmon (Gadget, Beardfish, Isole) while the rest of the album was recorded at Studio Bordun by the band themselves. The album was mixed by Per Nilsson of Scar Symmetry and Zierler at Studi Kabyss and focuses on tales of the plague, hell and the meaninglessness of war and suffering.

Bagpipes kick off the album with the first single, The Garden of Earthly Delights, after which the band then crash into Pyre, a song about witch trials, The Spanish Inquisition and wrongful accusations whereas Exhale thinks about mankind’s mortality and fear of death. The album’s crescendo, Here Be Monsters “gazes into the far distant, across the sea, and into the abyss.”

Each track is above average in length, usually 7-8 minutes in length and the whole album is 59 minutes of epic folk and doom metal. Folk metal has always been a genre I had shied away from whereas I love the slow pace of doom, and this album perfectly combines the two. There is a progressiveness to their sound and this is seen in the excellent song writing and musicianship of each member of the band.

The vocals are clean and dark, almost chanting, and with the choral backing vocals, the whole album has a very melancholic mood and tone. It kind of reminds me of the 90’s band Enigma, if it has been “metalled” up somewhat.

This album is a re-working of a previous EP released in 2015, with the first four tracks being re-recordings, plus a further four new songs and as a debut I am thoroughly impressed.

This is a must have album for both doom lovers and folk fans alike and I, for one, can’t wait to see what the future holds for these guys!

 

TRACK LIST

  • 1. The Garden of Earthly Delights
  • 2. Pyre
  • 3. Flagellants’ Song
  • 4. Exhale
  • 5. Theatre of War
  • 6. The Great Mortality
  • 7. To Embark
  • 8. Here Be Monsters

 

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

Uprising Festival – Interview with Hærken

Promo Logo Pic

Uprising 2017

Hærken Interview 27/05/2017

Interview by Beth Jones with Introduction and summing up from Rick Tilley

I first saw Hærken in the SOPHIE tent at Bloodstock 2014 and they blew me away. Their Medieval Death Metal, banter and stage attire really captured my imagination as did the massive inflatable sword and axe battle that ensued in the crowd during their set. It was almost as funny as watching Evil Scarecrow. I was therefore really pleased when they got in touch with me a few days before Uprising to see if we could meet them on the day for an interview and here is what happened! Well…I wasn’t going to say no was I?

Beth had written the questions in a pseudo sort of Old English but we soon found out that Hærken take these things pretty seriously…sort of!!

Hærken: When we first started we did interviews in Elizabethan English…it’s incredibly difficult! All of the stage banter is scripted because there is no way of doing it off the cuff really. There are a couple of standard phrases that you can drop in, but it takes a lot of research!

Beth: Ok then, we will just do it normally. Obviously, you have your stage names… The Laird, The Baron, The Scribe, The Druid, but which one of you is the Jester and which one of you is The Sage?

Hærken: We sacked the jester! (Laughing)

Beth: Don’t ever sack the jester!

Hærken: No, the jester chose a different path to ours… yeah, we reached a fork in the road to the forest and the Jester’s path diverged. One road went ‘hard work’ and the other road went ‘not hard work’, and he chose that one! So…!

Beth: Is there one of you that would naturally fall into The Jester’s role?

Jonathan – Production Manager: All of them! There is no Jester really!

Hærken – The Druid: Me maybe…I’m constantly dicking about!

Jonathan – Production Manager: Yeah, you can’t have a serious conversation with The Druid / The Jester.

Beth: Is there anyone who is the wise one? Like the dad of the group?!

Hærken: The manager, Jonathan!! Yeah…get in your costumes, come on get out of your costumes, get in the van, get out of the van! Constantly bossing us about! You’ve got to be there at 8.30 in the morning…we arrive at 9.30! Although he bosses people around his isn’t in charge!! (Much laughter as they rib him)

Beth: So, for people who haven’t heard about you just explain a bit about the band, and why the Anglo Saxon / Medieval Folklore influence?

Hærken: This is the rise of Viking metal to an extent.

Hærken – The Druid: Well to cut a long story short, I’d just finished in a band, got itchy fingers, met Ben at work, decided to do a band, said let’s be a British Amon Amarth, I know…we’ll sing about King Arthur and Robin Hood, where they sing about Odin and Viking Mythology so it was kind of a direct…

(There was an interjection of ‘repost’ from the background)

Hærken – The Druid: Rip Off??! (And another shout of ‘REPOST’)! Oh repost…I thought you said rip off!! A direct repost yes. (Laughter)

Jonathan – Production Manager: The thing that is cool about Hærken is, because Viking metal is very popular and the song themes are all kind of samey, so you have a song about dying in battle, a song about Odin, a song about drinking, so it’s all kind of fairly standard, whereas this is a very different kind of storytelling!

Hærken: Ours are all, bar one at the moment, actual events…we are an educational death metal band!

Hærken – The Scribe: Yeah, they are retelling of events and popular stories from the middle ages, so they are all from, say, ‘The Mabinogion’.

Hærken – The Druid: They are all actual myths that you can read about, so you can go and google the subtitle and you’ll find loads of different stuff on each one, so it’s genuine British mythology!

Hærken – The Scribe: And that’s why you won’t find any lyrics in our CDs, you’ll find an introduction to the story so you can just go and enjoy history, because it is a rich Mythology we have and a rich cultural heritage that we’ve got in this country, and we’ve spent a long time exploring that!

Beth: So, it’s less of a band and more an education really?

Hærken: It’s kind of a way of life! It’s a lot of reading! In terms of the band though, it’s been more of, the whole stage show and the idea of it has been bards, so those storytellers that you would have in mead halls and that kind of thing, you know what I mean, where you’d all gather round and there’d be a minstrel playing along and telling stories of victory – it’s exactly that…but louder! Powered by the invention of electricity!!

Photo by Beth Jones

Beth: So, your debut album was released in 2014…have we got a new album on the cards and, if so, when’s it coming out?

Hærken: There is one on the cards… er… yeah…we started writing a song in 2007…it’s nearly finished. It’s taken ten years! It’s a long song. That’s all we’re going to say on the subject!

Beth: So…by that reckoning, maybe about 2050 or something??

Hærken: Maybe!! Yeah! (Laughing)

(Rick here. The next couple of questions were about upcoming gigs that have since passed. That’s totally my fault for not managing to get the interview online more quickly, but in my defence I have been incredibly busy. I’m leaving this part of the interview in because it is interesting and I’ve since spoken to Reverend Benjamin, The Scribe who has assured me that the gigs were all awesome! Hærken’s next gig is on the 8th July at The Firebug in Leicester and they will be supported by Rannoch and Kill For Company. The poster is at the bottom of the interview)

Beth: Next month you are coming to ‘Pentre Fest’ in Deeside, which isn’t far from us! Are you looking forward to coming to the land of the Druids?

Hærken: Yes, we certainly are. It’s going to be like a spiritual homecoming really. Before that we are going to London for the ‘Isarnos Metal Alliance’ at The Boston Music Rooms, supporting these guys (pointing at Olli, The harsh vocalist and multi-instrumentalist of Isarnos who was playing bagpipes for Hærken at Uprising), the man on the pipes there…we borrowed him for today!

Olli: Yeah Isarnos are my band…we’re a kind of a folk metal sort of…just Bathory with bagpipes is how I would describe it! (Lots of laughing)

Beth: Haha Baggery! Sounds a bit wrong that!! (Lots of laughing)

Olli: Yeah…so it’s basically us putting on our own show and the idea was, cos obviously we do gigs supporting bands, but if we could do our own gig, rather than getting support bands we thought who do we really like and who would we want to play with, so we’ve got these guys who are opening the show and doing something hopefully almost as spectacular as this evening, and we’ve got some other phenomenal bands as well…Countless Skies from just outside London, King Leviathan from Brighton, Cybernetic Witch Cult, from Cornwall, who are just like space dinosaurs, and Valafar from Yorkshire. So, some great bands. It was really difficult deciding on the running order cos any of the six bands playing could have easily headlined a show in London, but these guys have kindly offered to open proceedings and do some kind of induction / inauguration ceremony!

Hærken: We like inaugurating events! (Laughing)

We like opening because it is less waiting around!! Yeah, we can get straight on the pop! (More laughing)

Beth: So, you have already played here today. Obviously, this is a very iconic location to play. How did you find playing in this place?

Hærken: Oh, it was incredible. Beautiful. It’s an amazing venue!

Beth: It’s a stunning building isn’t it, and so much history behind it?

Hærken: And it’s a great team behind the event, both the promoters and the venue. Everyone has been really lovely and really professional to work with and made the day really easy. Everything all day has been great. They are a really great team and great guys. We have worked really hard building up to this one too, to put a set together that was worthy of it. Everything that was on stage we’ve actually been building – we’ve put all the set pieces together and the theatrics that go with it, and we’ve got Jonathan, our production manager, bringing all that stuff to life for us and we’ve got Mike with us for the first time on sound and without those guys bringing it all together, we really can’t put on a show. They are a priceless addition to any band!

Jonathan – Production Manager: A Haerken set is as much a piece of theatre as it is band performance and there’s a lot of extra work that goes in behind it and the venue team today have been really good about supporting us in that and helping us get an awful lot of stuff on to stage very very quickly and getting it all plugged up and working.

Hærken – The Druid: I’m not sure how much of that was in the initial conception of the band, but it has come to be a critical part of what we do. How it looks and how it all comes across.

Johnathan – Production Manager: Yeah, Hærken’s a show as much as music…its theatre!

Hærken: We’re not just a bunch of people who just turn up and play a bunch of songs in t-shirts, there’s enough of that!

Jonathan – Production Manager: From the audience side of things, seeing these guys on a stage that big, actually having the freedom to move around, it’s a much bigger show than four or five guys, just playing songs!

Hærken: What you can always take away from it though, is the community aspect, even from coming to such an iconic venue. You can’t help but walk around and see tons and tons of people that you know…you are constantly walking round shaking hands with people, you know. If we go to the bar or the toilet we are constantly stopping four or five times on the way talking to mates. It’s a proper family vibe here today…it’s brilliant. There are so many people that we haven’t seen since last festival season. We’ve had some good chats. It is as much a catch up as it is a show. And there’s been a lot of Hærken t-shirts today!

Beth: Yeah…I’ve got your patch, in my bag, which is going on my jacket as soon as we get home. So, what’s been the highlight of your career so far as Hærken?

Hærken: This is certainly one of them. It’s right up there!

Rick: Well I last saw you at Bloodstock in 2014…I came into the Sophie tent to see you!

Hærken: Yeah in the Sophie tent…that was an incredible gig. Three thousand people rammed into a tent and several hundred of them going at each other with inflatable weapons! (Lots of laughter)

Rick: Yeah that was fabulous and so funny!

Beth: We watched the video of that on Youtube last night.

Rick: Yeah, I said to Beth, you’ve got to watch this, it’s brilliant!

Hærken: Yeah that idea existed before there was a note of music written. We remember discussing it. In fact it came from when we were talking about wouldn’t it be cool to do a proper old style battle of the bands thing where one band played one song then we played a song and then they played a song, but wouldn’t it be cool if the audience could join in too!

Hærken – The Scribe: I thought we were keeping that idea under wraps! (Laughing)

Hærken: That’s where the inflatables swords came from! Yeah it could be against Amon Amarth and they could have axes and we could have swords! Yeah, yeah! And then… we started to write music! (lots of laughing)

Beth: So I’ve got a couple of funnyish questions to finish up with!

A quick show of hands on this one, or I’ll just go around the group…Ale or Mead?

Hærken: (In turn) Mead! Mead! Mead! Mead! Mead! Both!! Ale first then mead as the dessert!

Beth: You could make some kind of Jaeger bomb with ale and mead!

Hærken: We tried once…and it went downhill from there!! (Lots of laughing)

Beth: Ok and the last one, which we’ve pretty much asked everyone today!

If you were a Monty Python film, what would the title be?

Hærken: Well we are almost the Holy Grail aren’t we! (Plenty of Laughter)

Rick: Yeah that’s why we had to ask you…it doesn’t have to been one that already exists!

Hærken: Errrr…The deleted scenes from Camelot, cos they didn’t go there, cos they thought it was a bit silly!

(Lots of laughing and approval!)

Beth: Fantastic! Is there anything else you guys want to add before we finish?

Hærken: Well it’s all on the Website and Facebook. Can we also just say a massive thanks to Simon Yarwood for putting on a phenomenal day…you’ve got three stages with amazing bands on all three! So much work has gone into it and it has run like clockwork!

After this Hærken, and friends, decided that drinks were in order and there was a mass exodus and assault on the bar, which reminded me of several scenes from the movie ‘Robin Hood: Men In Tights’! Now that I’ve seen them live twice and have had a chance to meet, talk and listen to them it has given me a great insight into what they are all about. They obviously have a lot of fun but it’s done in an educational way, in fact its Metal’s equivalent of ‘Horrible Histories’! If you’ve not checked out their album “…Of Warriors & Kings” or seen them live then you are definitely missing out. Friendly, great personalities, costumes, fabulous music with a story behind it…and mead!! What more could you ask for? I’d like to thank them for taking the time to talk to Ever Metal!

Check out Hærken at the following links!

http://www.haerken.com/

https://www.facebook.com/haerken

https://www.youtube.com/user/haerkenofficial

Rick

Firebug Gig Poster

 

Disclaimer: This interview 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

Walkway – Top Shelf Content

Layout 1

Walkway – Top Shelf Content

Running Time 51:57

Released December 2012

Independent

Album Review by Rick Tilley

9/10

Walkway are a Classic Rock band whose name has been cropping up on my radar regularly over the last few months, with some very positive comments, so there was a good level of anticipation when loading their debut album ‘Top Shelf Content’ into my CD player for the first time! So the question is have they justified all the hype? My answer is unequivocally yes! Formed in Diss, United Kingdom in 2008, and influenced by bands such as Van Halen, Aerosmith & AC/DC they have literally not stopped since, gigging almost constantly and building a great live reputation on the way, including supporting ‘The Darkness & Black Stone Cherry in 2012. This album is a culmination of all that hard work and hopefully a springboard to launch Walkway, deservedly, to much bigger and better things.

‘Top Shelf Content’ kicks off with ‘One Touch Too Much’ and straight away you are hit by the quality of musicianship and catchiness of the song, something that doesn’t let up for the whole album. Musically the influence of the above named bands is recognisable, but I would like to add a few more to the table. Imagine Tyketto, Little Angels, Giant & Tesla mashed together and that would be a good start. Bass player Alex Rosedale & drummer Joe Evans make a great rhythm section, holding everything together nicely and powering the songs along. However, vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chris Ready and brother lead guitarist James Ready have to take credit for elevating this band above the norm. Chris has a great voice with just the right amount of gravel, but that can be as smooth as silk when needed. As for James, well his guitar solos are seriously impressive and remind me very much of Giant’s Dan Huff in places. Tracks such as ‘Overrated’, ‘Life Is Looking Good (To Me)’, ‘Rise’ and ‘More Than Enough’ have enough hooks to reel you in completely and believe me the air guitar and drums take a good battering when listening to this. There are also several quieter songs which hit the mark. ‘Thank You’ will have you raising your lighter and waving your arms high. Production is also very well handled, although for the type of rock that Walkway play, I did think the mix was a little bit too clean. A bit more rawness next time round would be welcomed, although of course that is just my opinion.

Another band that are criminally unsigned, Walkway have delivered a fantastic debut album that really should make people sit up and take notice. There is no way ‘Top Shelf Content’ is going to stay on the top shelf (or any other shelf) for that matter as I suspect many places will be sold out before long.

 

TRACKLIST

  • 1. One Touch Too Much
  • 2. More Than Enough
  • 3. On And On
  • 4. Overrated
  • 5. Life Is Looking Good (To Me)
  • 6. In And Out Of Love
  • 7. Take A Back Seat
  • 8. All I Want
  • 9. Wasted Time
  • 10. Get Out
  • 11. Rise
  • 12. Thank You

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Top Shelf Content Back

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Brutiful Metal Radio. 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 here with kind permission from Brutiful Metal Radio

Originally written for Brutiful Metal Radio in 2013