Timeline

Insatia – Phoenix Aflame

Phoenix Aflame Cover

Insatia – Phoenix Aflame
Pitch Black Records
Release Date: 23/06/2017
Running time:  37:24
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
7/10

For fans of Delain, Lacuna Coil, Epica, Letters from The Fire and Nightwish, Insatia are a female fronted, melodic, symphonic, power metal band from Amercia and Canada and “Phoenix Aflame” is their sophomore recording.

Founded in 2009, they have previously released one self-produced album, their debut “Asylum Denied” and they have opened for multiple international acts, including Sonata Artica and Dark Tranquility.

Produced by Fabio D’Amore (Serenity), Ivan Moni Bidin (Starsick System, Pathosray, Late Warning) and Staffan Karlsson (Arch Enemy, Firewind and Roxette), “Phoenix Aflame” could be seen as a symbolism of the changes that have happened in the band since the first release. Almost all the previous members have been replaced, except for singer Zoé Federoff, and it is around her that the new band has been based. They are a band reborn and re-energised. They have been through tumultuous times but, like a phoenix that arises from its own ashes, so have they.

Recorded at St Cecilia Studios in Tuscon, Arizona (and then later in Italy) with engineers Steven Lee Tracy and Robbie Wiliamson, the album features a host of guest musicians from Apollo Papathanasio (ex-Firewind, Spiritual Beggar) and Chris Amott (ex-Arch Enemy, Armageddon) to Christian Hermsdörfer (ex-Visions of Atlantis, Serenity) and Erica James Foster (The Erica James Band) and the sleeve artwork is absolutely fantastic, fantasy driven as all symphonic power metal albums should be, a true work of art.

However, although the album is solid and consistent, it doesn’t measure up to the artwork. The guitars and vocals are the main aspects of this band, and although Kaelen Sarakinis is a fantastic guitar player who can produce great solos (especially on the title track), the remaining musicians almost blend into the background.

Zoé’s vocals are beautiful and captivating but I think at times she needs to be a bit more powerful. Thankfully, she doesn’t reach the screechy heights that some symphonic metal singers reach, and she does have a strong voice so I am by no means saying she cannot sing because she can, and very well too. I think with the emotion and feeling that comes with a lot of symphonic metal tracks, she should just let herself go a bit more and let the passion flow out of her in her singing.

I have seen mixed reviews about this album, from the reviewer loving every aspect of it, to one who hated it and my honest reviewer’s opinion is that it is a good album!

Each song is solid and the songwriting is tight and concise, but nothing stands out to me as the “epic” piece on the album. Everything has been done before and although I have no problem with a band following a recipe that has been ‘safe’ for their predecessors, I do think they need to push their limits a bit, and maybe it will give them that little bit of edge over bands of the same genre.

With a little bit more magic this band could easily be an 8 or a 9!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Land of the Living (Intro)
02. Act of Mercy
03. Memory of a Sapphire
04. Sacred
05. We are the Grey
06. Phoenix Aflame
07. Not My God
08. Captor and Captive
09. Velvet Road
10. Healer of Hatred

LINKS:

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

Live Review – Amplified Festival 2017

AMPLIFIED-MASTER-POSTER-vs2-283x400

Amplified Festival 2017
Quarry Downs, Gloucestershire
July 21st – 23rd, 2017
Review by Beth Jones
Photographs by Beth Jones & Sian Irvine
6.5/10

So, as this is my first review, let me give you a bit of back story here first. I was a metal head / goth back in the late 90’s at college and loved the scene, only to be swept off my feet by what I thought was my knight in shining armour at the age of 20. Fast forward 17 years, and after 10 years of living in the purgatory of Northern Soul and Motown (I have nothing against the genre I might add, and some damn fine tunes came out of it), I am back in the scene and loving it, but also trying desperately to catch up on lost time and learn about bands I had completely missed out on whilst locked in to ‘Tears Of A Clown’!

Rick and I have been together for just over two years and really wanted to do a festival this year as a family, as circumstances beyond our control have stopped us doing that until now. The obvious choice would have been Bloodstock, as this year’s line – up is the best yet, and we have so many friends both locally and from further afield who attend, however wanting to go VIP and having my two girls with us pushed it unfortunately out of our budget. I was at the point of giving up on a festival for another year and starting a savings account for BOA next year, when I stumbled across the Facebook event page for Amplified 2017, with an amazingly diverse line-up, headlined by none other than REEF!!!

I was instantly transported back to the late nineties, at the Saturday Rock Night in the Tivoli, Buckley – dressed in my ankle length black crushed velvet dress and my DM boots, with elbow length black gloves, corpse makeup and rollies made with multi coloured Rizlas on a roll, (that you could get from the hippy shop in town for a quid) dancing on tables after too many vodka jellies, knowing every word of ‘Place Your Hands’ and singing it in my best mates face as loud as I could!!!

With the family ticket priced very reasonably at a little over £230 for all four of us for the whole weekend + camping, I made the executive decisions that we were going!

As the week preceding the event progressed, the weather forecast transformed from ‘yeah it’s gonna be quite nice for the time of year’, to ‘yeah, you best give Noah a call – you may need his help!’

We arrived on the Friday at around 1pm, and entered the Ease Of Access campsite which I had secured to help Rick make it through the weekend. We ended up being able to pitch up our tent right by our car, which was a god send. Now, pitching a tent in gale force winds is an experience I hope most of you never have, but to put it in perspective, plaiting treacle would be easy in comparison! However, it was made more pleasing by the sounds of the first band on the ‘Very Metal Art’ stage drifting over whilst I wrestled with canvas. The all female band ‘Dorja’ absolutely nailed it and were a great way to open a festival! Aiym Almas, the lead singer, had a killer range and immense power and absolutely smashed a Dio fronted Black Sabbath cover as the last song, and the pumping bass of Becky Baldwin held everything together perfectly.

I thought the weather gods may have been kind to us, but sadly I was mistaken. After pitching the tent, we made it on to the main arena for one band, Bleed Again, on the Very Metal Art Stage, who were heavy and growly and dirty and damn good, especially with the tempestuous clouds building behind them. Then it rained, and everyone was sad, but hopeful that it would pass.

02 Bleed Again

After hiding from the wet stuff for a bit, we made it out to see a band that Rick had been really looking forward to seeing, Tess Of The Circle. Rick had alerted me to them a few months back. He had said they would be right up my street. A real fusion of punk, indie, grunge, folk, blues and classic rock, and fronted by singer / songwriter Tess Jones. They were indeed right up my street! I love to see music genres marry together well and that is what Tess Of The Circle achieve. We had the great pleasure of having a chat with Tess when they had finished on stage and it is clear to see that he is as passionate about the music off stage as he is when in performance mode, and this is really reflected in the music he writes.

05 Tess Of The Circle

We were just settling in to the all female ‘The Amorettes’, who were putting on a great show when sadly the heavens opened on a biblical scale again and we were forced to abandon and retreat to the tent amid much swearing and cursing and hating of the world.

By 8pm that night, everything was shit. The rain had been coming down for 6 hours solid in what could only be described as mother nature’s version of a critical error that required the sky to be restarted in order to restore the programme, I was cold and wet, in a tent with a leak, with no money left and no cash machines on site (they hadn’t turned up), wishing I was at home on my sofa. The stages had had to be closed due to safety concerns and all was looking lost. I reverted to my default setting for situations such as this – I went to bed! Had it not taken me two hours to pitch the tent, I would have been packing up there and then, and heading home, but something made me stay….

And what a difference a day made. Yes, there were organisational errors, yes there were issues, and yes the insane weather made them all very stark, however, Gary Paterson, the main organiser, and his team were determined to make the best of a bad situation. Despite probably having to deal with some of the most horrible criticism, they ran around like a deranged army on the Saturday morning to try and put on a show for the people who had been brave enough and strong enough of character to stay with them. So, from 12 noon on Saturday, bands went on and although we didn’t catch them all, here is my pick of the best:

Outright Resistance: Wow! Now I have to admit I’m not massive on death metal vocals, but for sheer performance skills Paige Lee wins! Rather than letting the monsoon season get to her, she took the biblical rain and made it part of the performance and all those who saw it had a ball. Musically, they are a great band with lots of solid chunky riffs and rhythmic bass to bang your head to and it is impossible not to toe tap even if death metal isn’t completely your thing. And they had awesome fun in the face of adversity, and the audience got that.

08 Outright Resistance

Massive Wagons: Great punchy classic rock, which really worked well on the newly formed ‘Bar Stage’. For me they are somewhere between Status Quo and The Foo Fighters in style – just good, fun classic rock and everybody was having a jolly good boogie to them in the tent. They are definitely on my list of bands to see again very soon.

Krysthla: If you like extreme metal then these guys will float your entire armada! Very loud, very growly and very heavy. I prefer my metal more melodic, however they are brilliant musicians and have already gained a huge amount of acclaim from all corners of the metal music press. They put on one hell of a show and needed a big mention on my favourites list because they know exactly who they are and they do what they do with finesse and this makes their stage presence unmissable. YES!

Evil Scarecrow: What can I say…. These guys are THE best. They take the serious side of metal and beat it to death with a robotic space crab! Audience participation is at the heart of what they do and to see the whole crowd making the Robotatron Square, scuttling from side to side, waltzing with their nearest and dearest and beating the boss with 90’s computer games moves is something very special and it spans across the generations – my girls are 10 and 15 and they worship them! Not only are these guys awesomely funny, they are amazingly talented musicians and all round nice guys. After the show, the girls were able to meet the band and they even took them back stage so they could get autographs from every member – to say they were chuffed is an understatement, and the kindness of the band and their crew nearly reduced me to a blubbering mess.

09 Evil Scarecrow

During all of this craziness, and still a fair amount of mental rain, our solace was a cosy little tent tucked away at the end of the field, belonging to The Motley Brew. For those of you who have not experienced the Motley Brew, it is like reaching Mecca at the end of a pilgrimage! They sell tea of all varieties, and a bit of coffee too, and my god was it needed! And the atmosphere in their tent was homely and warm no matter what time of day or night it was. Directly opposite them was the London Pie And Mash Company Ltd, whose pies were the dietary godsend of the weekend. Proper pies, proper mash and proper gravy, served with a smile and friendly banter from the lads, and they are even going to do some gluten free pies next year so I can eat them and not feel crappy!

On Sunday mother nature finally decided to get her shit together and make the weather a little more conducive to having fun in a field! My Highlights of Sunday were:

Instill: (from Brazil apparently ;-P ) They were riff heavy, raw and quirky, with undertones of funk and classic rock. A real mix for someone fancying something a little different with their Sunday lunch. Front man, Hodge, goes for the smart casual evening attire on stage, looking very dapper in shirt, tie, waistcoat and jacket, but he didn’t like to take to himself too seriously and could carry a tune very well which really drew in the crowd, in the way only a great frontman can. Whatever ‘it’ is, he has it and I liked it a lot. This is a band that understands rhythm and they work really well together on stage, even though each member has a very different look, and I liked it on many levels not only for the music.

10 Instill

Courtesans: A hot, all female four piece from London, Courtesans are down tuned and doomy, which doesn’t usually do much for me, but they were brilliant! I am a huge fan of females in metal and rock and this was the first time I had heard them but lead singer Sinead has a really rich, deep, silky tone to her voice which I loved. Their use of electro and synth elements makes it feel really fresh and gives it ethereal properties which work brilliantly. I was so impressed by them and look forward to seeing them again.

Bad Touch: If you love a bit of classic Rock ‘n’ Roll and awesome facial hair, these are the chaps for you. I dread to think how many bottles of lavender beard oil and moustache wax the lead singer gets through a year, but it makes for a facial adornment that is worthy of icon status!! Musically they are just great classic rock – simple as. They look like they have just arrived in a time machine fresh from Woodstock and are here to revive good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. We bought both their albums as soon as they finished and have played them many times already.

11 Bad Touch & Rick

Vega: I had never experienced Vega until now, but I will be investing in the back catalogue very soon – THEY ROCKED!! A six piece melodic Rock band from the UK, frontman Nick Workman reminds me of a cross between Bruce Dickinson and Tobias Sammet and I loved it. Backed up by some awesome guitar work and face melting solos provided by Marcus, and intricate drums and keyboards, I was completely blown away by their stage presence and all round musicianship. Seriously, if you like melodic rock and you are as behind the times as me, check these guys out – fandabidoziiiiiii!!!

12 Vega

Reef: What can I say. Dem Boyz still got it!!!! Even though at least one member does look like the Hermit from ‘Life of Brian’. I was instantly 17 again watching them, and sang along to every word. The vocal range of Gary Stringer is just formidable and his control of dynamics had the audience eating out of his hands. From the highs of ‘Summer’s In Bloom’ to the tranquil calm of ‘Consideration’, it was sheer perfection and one of the best live performances I have ever seen. My only gripe is I would have loved them to do ‘Lullaby’ as that was always my favourite song. But that is by the by. It was a great way to close the festival and I am so glad that I was there to experience it.

There were so many other great bands on over the weekend that deserved a mention, Rival Bones, Codex Alimentarius, Acid Reign, Press To Meco, Illustr8tors, Anti-Clone, Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons, Unzucht and Diamond Head (who Rick absolutely loved) to name but a few, but these were the ones that really did it for me.

So in summary, this was a weekend of low lows and awesome highs. Things that made me lose my shit: Rain. No cash machines. Rain. Not being really sure of what was happening where. Rain. Tents and anything camping related. Not seeing Torqued. Rain. Rain… Things that made me sad: The look in Gary Paterson’s eyes when I saw him running around the field on the Saturday morning, which just said ‘I’m not in a good place right now’. I felt for him big time… Things that made me regain my shit and forget why I lost my shit in the first place: Awesome music, some of the best sound quality I have heard ever (kudos to the sound guys), an amazing standard of festival toilet (always impeccably clean and stocked with toilet roll and incredibly slimy antibacterial hand cleanser!), meeting some awesome friends, old and new, seeing good British spirit prevailing in the face of adversity, tea and pies, and most of all having a damn good laugh with the people I love the most in the world.

01 Beth

Yes there were issues, as there will be at any festival in its first year, but Gary Paterson has stood up, admitted the flaws and taken it on the chin in a way that can only be described as highly commendable and humbling, and he should be saluted for that. I for one cannot wait for next year and am booking a family ticket again as soon as they are released. A huge well done to all involved and I am preparing already to get Amped in 2018.

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Sian Irvine, 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

Tokyo Motor Fist – Tokyo Motor Fist

Tokyo Motor Fist Cover

Tokyo Motor Fist – Tokyo Motor Fist
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 2017
Running Time:  39:32
Review by Vikkie “Queen Of Rock” Richmond
8/10

Here’s a little teaser for you – what do you get if you mix Danger Danger’s Ted Poley, Trixter’s Steve Brown and Rainbow’s Greg Smith and Chuck Burgi?  Well, what you get is a generous helping of rock and roll created the old fashioned way, with a side order of modernity and a pinch of irony.  Together, Tokyo Motor Fist have a fine rock pedigree and that much is evident when you listen to their debut, eponymously titled album.

“Tokyo Motor Fist” is a package of eleven neat songs which are quite simply, classic.  Proceedings kick off with the riff-tastic “Pickin’ Up The Pieces”, which is a feel good, upbeat sound with that big guitar that is so typical of many older tunes.  This is the sort of song, in fact, that you can’t help but nod along to.

Second track “Love Me insane” starts off with some good work on the “woah-oh-oh” front, so I couldn’t possibly say that I didn’t like it.  It jogs along at a brisk pace with some nice harmonies and that soaring, echoing guitar sound.  In fact, it would be pointless to describe each song on this album; they are what they are – huge, bouncy, feel-good songs that you can’t help but dance to.

I will, however, highlight some of what I consider to be my favourite tracks.  I’m particularly fond of “Love”, purely because of the naff, yet timely sentiment expressed.  “You’re My Revolution” features a divebomb in the first ten seconds and sprints along at a fairly good pace, albeit with some slightly cheesy lyrics, but I kind of liked it.  Clearly with this album, I’ve found my level, music-wise.

The ballad-like quality of “Don’t Let Me Go” appeals to my dramatic side and I like the vocals and the melancholic riff just over half way through.  “Put Me To Shame” has a vaguely dirty feel to it, but it does remind me ever so slightly of Danger Danger.  “Done To Me” is more of the same, but those were probably my favourite two tracks overall.

At just under forty minutes of music, this isn’t the longest album ever, but the harmonies are huge, the quality of the musicianship is first class and overall, this is a pretty good effort, as you would expect from a so-called ‘super group’.  At various points I was reminded somewhat of the style of bands such as Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, but that’s no bad thing. In the saturated genres of 2017, it’s sort of a pleasure to listen to something that makes me feel good and transports me back to happy times gone by.  We need more of this type of rock music in this day and age, although I know that some will say that with all of the new music pouring on to the web these days, there is no place for this style of music when there is such a vast catalogue of great artists and songs at our fingertips!

These guys don’t have their own Facebook page, just an official fan page. They don’t even have a website. There is just the music and that, frankly, speaks for itself.

TRACKLISTING:
01.  Pickin’ Up The Pieces
02.  Love Me insane
03.  Shameless
04.  Love
05.  Black And Blue
06.  You’re My Revolution
07.  Don’t Let Me Go
08.  Put Me To Shame
09.  Done To Me
10. Get You Off My Mind
11. Fallin’ Apart

LINKS:

Tokyo Motor Fist band pic

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

Exist – Get Your Own EP

Get Your Own EP Cover

Exist – Get Your Own EP
Vlad Promotions
Release Date 02/2017
Running time:  26:24
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
8/10

One of the things that always astounds me about metal music is talent that usually stays hidden, lost in the underground scene and floating around in unsigned bands. I know of many bands, new and old, that have a lot more talent in their combined little fingers than some of the more popular, “bigger” bands who have “made it.” While this seems somewhat unfair, it is unfortunately a way of the business but doing what I do, it means I can find these hidden gems and try to get them out to as many as people as I can.

This is true of this band, Exist, a thrash metal band hailing from Toruń, Poland. Formed in 2014 by two 13-year-old guitarists, Kacper and Felix and drummer Jochu, the oldest member of the band now is bassist Kamil, who is still just 18 years of age.

But what a band they are! Inspired mainly by the new wave of thrash metal but with the old school influences still apparent, they have been gigging since 2015 and this is their debut EP titled “Get Your Own”

On first play through I thought I had been given another instrumental band as the first track, also titled ‘Get Your Own’ had an intro of over 3 minutes, the length of the track being over 7! But it was a good track to start the ep off, showing influences of all the top thrash bands.

The second track is ‘Lawlessness’ and is the shortest track on the ep. It has an in your face attitude all the way through before dropping tempo ever so slightly at around three minutes only for it to gather memento again.

Third track ‘On Your Own Accord’, again at over 7 minutes in length, features the galloping riffs that I oh so adore and is my favourite on the ep while the final track ‘Exist’ opens up with a 2-and-a-half-minute duel between drums and guitars before it crashes into a full-on thrash assault.

This ep is fast-paced, groove infused thrash metal, full of galloping riffs, fast drums and classic thrash metal vocals. Listening through I can hear hints of Metallica, Slayer and even Iron Maiden at times. Ok, so these guys won’t win any awards for originality but we need to bear in mind this is played by a band who’s ELDEST member is 18 years old!! These guys can play and so what if they are “borrowing” a formula that has succeeded for so many bands before them? They are young and have so many years in front of them in which to grow.

I think “Exist” have a very bright future in front of them and I wait with baited breath for their next release.

They might not be able to drink beer but they sure can shred!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Get Your Own
02. Lawlessness
03. On Your Own Accord
04. Exist

LINE-UP:
Kamil Mikołajczyk – Bass
Jan Szymeczko – Drums
Felix Jakubowski – Guitars (lead)
Kacper Tyloch – Vocals, Guitars (rhythm)

LINKS:

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

Seasons Hollow – To Suffocate Silence (EP)

Seasons Hollow - To Suffocate Silence EP Cover

Seasons Hollow – To Suffocate Silence (EP)
Self-Released
Release Date: 24/01/2017
Running time:  17:18
7/10
Review by Vikkie “Queen of Rock” Richmond

Hereford five piece Seasons Hollow were only formed in 2015 and “To Suffocate Silence” is their debut EP.  The alt-rockers are currently performing a slew of gigs up and down the country and are gaining a steady following through their somewhat low-key style.

Track one of four on the EP, “Last Confession”, starts with some good, solid riffs and although the vocals jar a little initially, this is a good strong opener.  Second track “Broken” features some tidy drum work, with an almost instrumental feel before ramping up with a sweet guitar riff into a big wall of sound.

Penultimate track, “I Was Blind” is a funky belter of a track, featuring a dirty riff flowing through the song and some nice vocal stylings. The last song, actually called “Song”, is an altogether more pacey affair; the only thing I would say is that the screams around the 3:20 mark could be much more powerful.  I’m not sure if that comes naturally to Joe, but open up those lungs and let go!

To be fair, there is work to be done here but having said that, it is Season’s Hollow first attempt at getting music out there and given that fact, it’s really pretty good.  I will be interested to see in which direction they go from here and how these songs translate to the live stage.

Seasons Hollow describe themselves as “honing in on a unique sound that stands out among the rest”; I’m not entirely sure that’s the case as there are a lot of similar bands around at present who have a style that is not a million miles away from this, however they are to be congratulated for taking the bull by the horns and getting their music out there, without waiting for a record company to come along and notice them.  Persistence is the key and I have a feeling these guys have that by the bucket load, so this is definitely a band to watch for the future.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Last Confession
02. Broken
03. I Was Blind
04. Song

Seasons Hollow band pic

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

New Generation Superstars – King of the World

New Generation Superstars - King Of The World Cover

New Generation Superstars – King of the World
Underdog Records
Release Date: 06/01/2017
Running time:  45:38
Review by Vikkie “Queen of Rock” Richmond
8/10

I’m not entirely sure that New Generation Superstars self-proclaimed style of ‘face ripping rock’ is completely accurate, but I was interested to listen to the Nottingham rockers’ fourth studio album, released on their own label.  Having built up a cult following – their fans are affectionately known as ‘The B*stard Division’ – NGS have toured with some of the greats of the modern age, including The Wildhearts, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Love/Hate, Ricky Warwick and Michael Monroe, to name but a few.

The opener on this twelve track album is “Friend Or Foe” and it kicks off with some nice guitar work; a pacey track that trots along quite nicely, however I’m not sure that AJ’s vocal stylings are entirely to my taste.  Part punk, part alt-rock, part rock-rock, this song is a perfect introduction to New Generation Superstars’ work.

I particularly liked second track, “King Of The World”; it has some mildly offensive lyrics and a tight musical style.  Indeed, there is little to fault in the way of musical talent on this release – all of the songs are accomplished and it’s clear that this is a band who are comfortable with what they are doing and who they are.

“Out Of My Head” is probably my favourite track, it’s a bouncy, anthemic track that screams punk and makes you want to get up and jump around. It’s still stuck in my head and probably will be for weeks and I like the way it just ends abruptly with no fanfare.

Special mention goes to the rather lovely “Hold On”; a piano led, somewhat haunting tune, with some lovely harmonies and a rather classic sounding guitar riff kicking in halfway through. It’s almost a ballad, but I’m loathe to describe it as such, especially as there is a less than full on drum solo near the end, which segues into an orchestral bridge, complete with string section.  It was an unexpected interlude and I rather liked it.

Other stand out tracks for me include the bass driven “Keys To The City”, the attitude laden “Crash Course”, the frenetic “Halo” and funky “Last Of A Dying Breed”.

With an eclectic list of influences and a career spanning over ten years to date, New Generation Superstars show no sign of disappearing off of the scene any time soon, indeed they appear to be going from strength to strength.  I would like to see them live as I have a feeling that the stage is where these songs will come to life.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Friend Or Foe
02. King Of The World
03. Taste Of Me
04. Out Of My Head
05. Hold On
06. Keys To The City
07. Crash Course
08. Damn You (To Hell And Back)
09. Halo
10. Hello
11. Last Of A Dying Breed
12. Not Like You

LINE-UP:
NGS:
AJ Superstar – Guitar and Vocals
Davey Messiah – Lead Guitar and Backing Vocals
Jonny Suicide – Bass and Backing Vocals (Co-lead on ” To Hell & Back”)
Mord Fustang– Drums (Piano “Hold On”)

Featured Artists:
Sophia Marshall – Vocals “Hold On”
Ross Hillard – String Sections “Hold On” and “Hello”
Neil Hunter – Piano “To Hell and Back”

LINKS:

NGS logo

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

Dragonforce – Reaching Into Infinity

Reaching Into Infinity Cover

Dragonforce – Reaching Into Infinity
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 19/05/2017
Running time:  1.00:52
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
8/10

I have been a fan of the Grammy-nominated, UK based extreme melodic power metal band, Dragonforce ever since I was introduced to them in 2006. This was the year “Inhuman Rampage” was released and the album that catapulted them into the mainstream. Recently though, they have fallen off my radar slightly and when the chance to review their brand new album came up, I couldn’t say no.

Formed in 1999 by guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman, under the name Dragonheart, they had to change their name to Dragonforce in 2002 after they discovered another power metal band had the same name. Known for their long and fast guitar solos, fantasy themed lyrics and electronic sounds, the Dragonforce success and reputation is largely down to the guitar wizardry of both Li and Totman and they have a retro video game-influenced sound that is always paid homage to in their videos.

Dragonforce is power metal, played at ridiculously fast speeds with extended guitar solos and catchy, if somewhat cheesy, choruses and this can turn some people off them, so it was interesting to see if their new album “Reaching Into Infinity”, released on 19th May 2017, carried on in the same way.

“Reaching into Infinity” is the band’s seventh studio album, the third to feature ‘new’ singer Marc Hudson (who has actually been frontman for six years now after former singer ZP Theart’s departure in 2010!), and the first to feature new drummer, italian Gee Anzalone, and has been released by Metal Blade Records.

So, is this ‘just another’ Dragonforce album?

With the bulk of the album laid down at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden, with some additional parts cut in at studios around the UK and California while on the “Killer Elite” tour, the album was produced by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia and Soilwork) with most of the songs written by Frederic Leclerq and Sam Totman.

There are still the duelling guitar harmonies, drums that never take a break, orchestral synthesizers and epic lyrics that make up the Dragonforce trademark sound, but they have also undergone a bit of an evolution in the three years since their last album “Maximum Overload.” As per their PR notes, musically speaking “the band’s faster material is becoming even faster still, while the melodic parts head even further in that direction.” This could be the influence of vocalist Marc Hudson, who is a fan of progressive metal or the fact that keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov is a big Dream Theater fan, but either way I think it adds to their sound. Everything is not done at breakneck speed on this album, the listener is not whizzed on a hundred mile an hour journey through 45 minutes of metal that has been played as fast as Li and Totman’s fingers could possibly go! There are speed changes throughout the album, sometimes throughout a track and this is a welcome change. They have a more generic power metal sound but with the Dragonforce twist.

Says Herman Li, “in some ways this album is more epic than anything we’ve done before. With each album we make the band reveal more and more of its influences, constantly adding to what we do.”

And the band offer no apology for the inclusion of the 1980’s rock style ballad titled “Silence” either. And why should they? Some people would think that for a band with a sound like Dragonforce, a power ballad is just a waste of time, but personally I love a good power ballad and this one is done well. It has all the elements that make a good power ballad and being half way through it offers a few minutes solace from the speed and velocity of the rest of the album. So I say, well done Dragonforce, this song alone proves there is more to you than just breakneck speed guitar playing!

Another song to point out is “War!” a track that mixes thrash with power metal. Hudson has already proved he has the voice to be a power metal singer but with this track he has shown he has the thrash element too.

The last but one track “Edge of the World” is an 11-minute, multi-tempoed epic that features something Dragonforce have never done before…..growling vocals!! How about that for an evolution in their music?

And the last thing to mention, is the fantastic artwork on the sleeve of the album which depicts a dragon (yay!) bursting through a wormhole into a high tech, futuristic cityscape. Says Li: “the dragon represents us – Dragonforce – and a form of music that’s been around for a very long time, emerging into an outside world that’s infinitely more crazy and chaotic than it was 10 years ago.”

So, there you have it. The new album from Dragonforce is NOT “just another album” by them. It is an evolution, a progression in their musical journey and one I think they possibly needed to make.

Listening to the album took me back a decade, and although I was in a much different place then, it was nice to be reminded of the music I used to listen to.

I saw them at The Astoria in Dec 2006 and, after listening to this album, I am planning on seeing them this October at The Electric Ballroom!

Like them or not, Dragonforce are back!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Reaching into Infinity
02. Ashes of the Dawn
03. Judgement Day
04. Astral Empire
05. Curse of Darkness
06. Silence
07. Midnight Madness
08. WAR!
09. Land of Shattered Dreams
10. The Edge of the World
11. Our Final Stand

LINE-UP:
Herman Li – Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Sam Totman – Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Vadim Pruzhanov – Keyboards, Vocals (backing)
Frédéric Leclercq – Bass, Vocals (backing, choirs)
Marc Hudson – Vocals
Gee Anzalone – Drums, Vocals (backing)

LINKS:

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

Custard – A Realm of Tales

A Realm Of Tales Cover

Custard – A Realm Of Tales
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 19/05/2017
Running time: 55:21
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
8/10

I first come across the band Custard during my dj’ing days when their album “Infested by Anger” hit the inbox of the station I was working for at the time. If I am totally honest I never really paid them much attention, playing a few tracks on my show, before resigning them to the huge library of music stored away on my laptop.

If only I knew then just what I was missing out on.

Originally formed in Herne, Germany in 1987 by Chris Klapper, they were a phenomenon in teutonic metal and soon achieved “world famous” status but it was limited to their hometown and they failed to break out to a wider audience.

After years of line-up changes, 2007 was a massive change for them, as they had a brand new line up along with a fresh record deal. Now ten years later, 2017 sees the release of their sixth studio album “A Realm of Tales”

With tracks such as “Snow White”, “The Pied Piper” and “Arabian Nights” the album is heavily based on the stories of Hans Christian Anderson and The Brothers Grimm, many traditional fairy tales originating in Germany. The lyrics are fantastic, retelling the well-known stories with the bands own little twist and the songs are full of catchy riffs and headbanging rhythms.

Playing old school heavy metal tunes, Custard have always made more of their song writing, power and melodies and this has resulted in a great album of epic proportions. Vocalist Olli Strasser is fantastic and hits all the notes that he needs to, making him a superb power metal singer. He could quite easily be compared to other power metal vocalists such as James Rivera of Helstar, Andy Deris of Helloween, Ralph Scheppers of Primal Fear and even to Rob Halford of Judas Priest.

I don’t think there is a bad song on the album, but then, for those of you who know me, would know I am a big power metal fan. Some people would think this album is a bit cheesy but what harm is a bit of cheese every now and then? I have read other reviews of this album, some of which loved it and others which hated it, but as I think with much of the power metal genre, you either like it or you don’t. And, if nothing else, credence must be paid to them for their song writing alone, not to mention their musicianship and production.

I think this will appeal to fans of bands from Helloween to Judas Priest and anything in between and is a must for any metal power metal fan.

I, for one, am going to go back and check out the album that was previously sent to me and then anything else they have done. I would love to see this album performed live, the stage show could be spectacular, so I guess I will have to keep my eyes out for any tour dates that may be coming up!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Icy Stare
02. Queen of Snow
03. The Pied Piper
04. Arabian Nights
05. Snow White
06. Snow Away
07. The Little Match Girl
08. Daughter of The Sea
09. Witch Hunter
10. Sign of Evil
11. Bluebeard
12. Forged in Fantasy

LINE-UP:
Stefan Klempnauer – Guitars
Chris Klapper – Drums
Carsten Reichart – Guitars
Oliver Strasser – Vocals
Markus Berghammer – Bass

LINKS:

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

SOS Festival – Manchester – 14th-16th July 2017

x_web

SOS Festival 2017
14th-16th July 2017
The Longfield Suite, Prestwich, Manchester
Review by Andy Miles with some boring comments from some bloke called Rick!
10/10

Hi Everyone, Rick here!

I had been so looking forward to covering the 10th Anniversary of SOS Festival. There was an absolutely cracking line-up over the three days and I was going to get the chance to meet up with loads of friends that I hadn’t seen for a good while, so you can imagine how devastated I was when, at the last minute, circumstances beyond my control scuppered my chances of attending!

My immediate thought was that I would be letting organisers Lynne and Mark down. They are two of the hardest working and loveliest people I know, in fact the complete team behind SOS are amazing and it really has become one of the ‘must attend’ Festivals on the calendar!

However, within thirty minutes of starting to let people know I couldn’t make it, my good friend Andy Miles got in touch with me and said he would have a go at reviewing the event for me. Now that would be a brilliant offer from someone who had written reviews before but Andy struggles to write his name (that is a joke by the way!!) and he had certainly never reviewed or covered an event/gig/festival before! For those of you that do cover events though, you’ll know that it isn’t as easy as it sounds so it wasn’t just a brilliant offer, it was beyond kind for someone who had bought tickets and was actually meant to be chilling out with his mates to offer to help me in this way and I will be forever grateful to Andy!

What makes it even better is that he’s actually made a damn good job of the review and if he wants a job (non-paid of course lol) at Ever Metal then he is more than welcome.

So, I’m now passing you over to the words of Mr Andrew Miles who seemed to have a rather good time!

SOS FESTIVAL 10th ANNIVERSARY

Well here goes!

Having attended SOS Festival, with amazing friends for the first time in 2016, the 2017 event couldn’t come quickly enough, only this SOS was going to be slightly different as I’d offered to do a review of a few bands and the whole experience as my dear friend Rich Tilley was unable to attend due to various reasons.

Now, I’m no expert on doing this kind of thing, I’m a fan of metal music but hey… I thought ‘why not, let’s give it a go and help my mate out!

SOS is now in its 10th year and is organised by some of the nicest folk I’ve ever met. They aren’t in it for the money; they do it with love and affection for the bands and the people that come to watch great bands so Mark Appleton and Lynne Hampson please take a bow along with your backroom team because you nailed it!

For starters the venue is great. The Longfield Suite in Prestwich, Greater Manchester has superb facilities with a well-stocked bar serving a decent selection of ales, spirits and soft drinks for the kids. Food is also available and is great, the burgers and chilli were both very popular and the chips were lovely! Seating is available for the older generation who can’t stand all day and there were some really great stalls selling a variety of things from jewellery to lamps, glasses and bloody scary dolls!!

There was also a kids club to keep the little ones happy which was run by Mark & Lynne’s daughter Lindsey Appleton. Top job Lindsey, you worked bloody hard!

The Merch stands were well stocked with T-shirts and hoodies from most of the bands which were great quality and well-priced.

Now let’s not forget this is a three day and night festival indoors so there is no mud lol and you get the best part of 30 plus bands for the giddy price of £15…yes £15!!! It’s the most amazing value for money ever. Good ale, music, decent food, all indoors, £15… What’s not to like? This truly is a family friendly festival and seeing so many faces from last year just proves it’s a winner all day long! It was great to catch up with folk and chew the musical cud over a beer! When folk travel over from Belgium, Hungary, Germany, and Sweden as well as from all over the UK you know it’s something special.

The venue is split between two stages, the main stage (named after Nightvision bassist Dean Hocking, who was a great friend to many involved with the Festival and who was sadly lost to us in 2012) and the acoustic stage, which this year had been named ‘The Wizz Acoustic Stage’ after Wizz Beauprez, ‘Wizz Wizzard’ vocalist and another huge friend of the Festival and many of the attendees who passed away in 2016. This was a lovely touch, especially as his wife was attending. She was a truly lovely lady who said that the love around the venue for Wizz was amazing to feel and seeing the banner with his face on was very special!

The venue also had a well-run press room which I stayed well away from Ha-ha (Rick here…I don’t blame him lol!)

20272195_10154822800497263_684416605_n

DAY ONE

We arrived at the venue on Friday at around 6pm and I was greeted by the sight of Luke Appleton, bass player in Iced Earth who supposedly couldn’t attend due to touring with the band! However, he had made the effort to fly in from Germany to support his brother, his family and all his friends. Now that’s dedication and it brought a bloody tear to my eye let me tell you!

6.20pm arrived and the first band hit the stage. ‘I Saw The World Burn’ are a four piece metal band from the Midlands, fronted by a female singer (Katie Cairns) who couldn’t have been more than eight stone wet through and about 5″4 tall, but sweet Jesus could she growl! This was proper heavy, brutal, riff laden thrash metal and it certainly got my attention! By god she gave it her all and it was some start to three days of SOS 2017!

Next up were ‘Amethyst’ from Manchester (winners of the 2015 Metal 2 The Masses Manchester competition). They were another four piece band who were fast paced with a big bass element and big beards! They had a proper Thrash/Groove Metal sound. “No Redemption” was a great track!

Next to hit the stage were the band that I thought stole the show last year ‘A Jokers Rage’. They’ve  been away from the scene for a short while due to various reasons but my god did they make a stunning return. Zakk Taylor is some front man, his vocals are superb and as a band they are tight and crisp. They bounced off each other and the crowd playing a superb set and it was great to see them get a few of the kids on stage with blow up guitars supplied by Mr Graham Horne…a nice touch, they went down well with the kids!

Now it was down to the Headline band ‘Kill ll This to show what they were made of! ‘Kill II This’ are a four piece band from Manchester who were originally around from the late 1990’s to 2004. They returned in 2014 for unfinished business. It’s certainly extreme metal at its best with a nice touch of electronic keyboards and a dash of opera thrown in for good measure! Simon Gordon (ex Xentrix) on lead vocals certainly leaves nothing in the tank, he just blasts it out! They are a top band, they played a top set and it finished Day One of SOS off to perfection!

20206037_10154822800542263_1865155588_n

DAY TWO

So after a superb start to SOS Festival we were up early on the Saturday morning! We had breakfast at the Orange Tree which is fifty yards from the venue (they serve a really cracking Full English) and a pint or five lol!

First band of the day were ‘Crowsaw’, a three piece band with a really unique sound mixing Blues and Rock! I liked ‘em, they were pretty cool!

‘Damaj’ were next up. They are a four piece band from Greenock, Scotland who describe themselves as “cutting edge, intelligent Heavy Metal”! They are nice ‘n’ heavy, a little bit on the Metallica side and I loved ‘em: Fast, Heavy ‘n’ Loud!

Next up were ‘Sister Rose’, a band who were actually formed in 1978. I loved them, they sounded very AC/DC! Top draw, great sound and everything flowed just nice!

Next were a band I had been really looking forward to seeing! ‘Primitai’ featuring our Saxon brother Srdjan Bilic on guitar (Rick here-Just so you know Andy, Srdjan, myself and many other good friends are all members of the awesome Official Saxon Forum),and my god I wasn’t disappointed. Primitai are a five piece band, loud as a train and are full on Heavy Metal, just how it should be!

At this point I wanted to meet up and chat with friends so the next band I got to see were my friends from Belfast ‘Screaming Eagles’. Now I’ve seen this tight rock band a few times, Chris Fry is one amazingly talented front man with great vocals but the whole band just nail it every single time and I absolutely love them!

Now I know I’ve not paid much attention to the Wizz Acoustic stage because I’m not a massive acoustic fan however, I’ll say this; ‘John Doyle’ was wonderful. He had a really crisp voice and played the guitar like a dream!

‘Bad Pollyanna’ were up next and were class. They are a three piece Alternative band from West Yorkshire. Vocalist Olivia Hyde is a stunning lady with a lovely voice and the guy on guitar and vocals was very good.

After that it was finally the time for the headline act ‘Blaze Bayley’ backed by the guys from Absolva and Luke Appleton from Iced Earth and what a set it was, I just loved it! The crowd were right there with the guys, Blaze still has it and he lets you know he still has it track after track! It was a really polished performance with wonderful vocals and superb guitars and drums it was a brilliant way to finish the night

20227462_10154822800537263_1536549081_n

DAY THREE

Now I only saw a few bands on Sunday, due to having a rather cheeky lie in bed after being slightly the worse for wear thanks to copious amounts of alcohol the night before lol! Hey it’s a festival it’s what we do lol!!

If you’ve never heard of all female metal band ‘Dorja’ then, sweet mother of god, they are five simply stunning lady’s! Vocalist Aiym Almas has an amazing voice and the musicianship is top class. I’ve not seen a soap box played before and it just works perfectly. They are truly wonderful to listen to!

Now we come to my personal highlight of, maybe, even the whole festival! It was time for Chris & Luke Appleton to take to the Wizz Acoustic Stage and ‘Rise Again’ was simply stunning! These guys are so bloody talented and so genuine! I love ‘em and I’m very proud to call them my friends!

‘Fire Red Empress’ are a five piece, female fronted Rock band. Vocalist Jennifer Diehl has certainly got a serious set of lungs, that’s for sure! They had a nice, punchy sound and some nice melodic rock vibes!

I thought from the start that I wasn’t going to be into Nottingham five piece Rock band ‘Fahran’ but I certainly got that wrong. They had a very ‘Down’ sound and I got right into them! Superb set!!

Ok, ‘Triaxis’, Oh my good lord they are just mega, there is nothing more to say really! New Vocalist Angel Wolf-Black has got some serious power, that’s for sure! She completely owned that stage and she had proper amazing hair! The drums were crisp as they come and bassist Becky Baldwin (who also plays in Dorja) totally nailed it! Triaxis are sweet as! (Rick here – The recent announcement, that after so many line-up changes, Triaxis are calling it a day next year is a big shame but I can understand why they’ve made the decision. What I can say is that they have been a pleasure to follow over the years and they’ve always been fantastic whenever I’ve seen them as well as being some of the nicest people I’ve met, whoever has been in the band!)

So we finally come to the last band and another group I had so been looking forward to seeing ‘Power Quest’ Oh my god, vocalist Ashley Edison (Dendera) is so good. This guy can sing and the notes he hit and held were biblical! I loved them, they are fast and powerful. They’ve also just acquired a new guitarist, ironically Glyn Williams from Triaxis! It’s very Ronnie James Dio with a bit of Bruce Dickinson mixed in for good measure and the keyboards worked a fucking dream (apologies for the language but fuck me they were belting)!

Well that’s it, I’m no gig journalist I’m just a simple fan of metal and I’ve done this whole SOS Festival review to help a friend out so please don’t judge me, I speak from my heart!

I’ll sign off with thanking the Appleton family. They’re truly amazing folk and they along with their backroom staff from lighting to sound to stage hands absofuckinglutley nailed it! If anyone can find a three day and night music festival at a great venue with superb amenities for £15 then good luck because you’re going to struggle!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart XXX

Milesy

P.S. My hotel is already booked for next year so get to SOS Festival 11, 2018 IT’S GOING TO BE AMAZING XX

20271876_10154822800502263_1673575655_n

Rick here again! As you can see Andy had a fabulous time and his review only makes me more upset that I wasn’t able to get to the Festival. I’d just like to thank him once again for giving this reviewing lark a go…just to help me out, he really is a good friend. I’d also like to say well done to the Appleton’s. Not only do they run one of the best independent Record Labels (Rocksector) but I haven’t seen a bad word written about SOS Festival and that’s because these people do everything properly. They are kind, considerate, and friendly plus they work their backsides off to make sure everyone has a great time. I will definitely be there next year even if I have to walk!

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley, Andrew Miles 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

Legionnaire – Dawn of Genesis

Dawn Of Genesis Cover

Legionnaire – Dawn of Genesis
Gates Of Hell Records
Release Date: 23/05/2017
Running time:  31:50
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
7/10

Legionnaire are a heavy metal band hailing from Finland and “Dawn of Genesis” is their debut full length recording.

Formed in 2012, they have previously recorded two demo tapes, “Legionnaire” in 2014 and “The Enigma of Time” in 2015, from which three tracks feature on the new release, and are typically a retro NWOBHM meets traditional / power metal band, although I personally hate stereotyping any band into a particular genre.

Mixing powerful twin guitar harmonies and epic, medieval style melodies, they have created an original, personal sound, although influences from many genres are apparent, from the old Scandinavian style of metal, to the galloping riffs of NWOBHM to the epic feel of bands such as Liege Lord and Brocus Helm. Their lyrics often have inspiration from ancient and medieval mythology, although fictional themes such as science fiction are also present.

So what of this album? To be honest, on the first listen through I wasn’t all that impressed. Musically there is nothing wrong with them. They play straight forward heavy metal, with no keyboards and no ballads. There is harmony in the twin guitar riffs and leads, and a sturdy and galloping rhythm section.

But the thing that struck me with this album were the vocals. Classed as “classic doom vocals” by some reviewers, for me they were a bit hit and miss. Personally, I didn’t feel that the singers voice fitted in with the rest of the band and thought they were somewhat weak compared to the other musicians. I don’t know if that’s because he is first and foremost a guitarist and is maybe a little shy of showing his vocal skills as well as those with the guitar, but I wouldn’t write the vocals off completely.

The guy can obviously sing, and just because it is not in a style that I would normally like, that does not mean that he would not appeal to other people.

I was, in fact, shocked at my initial reaction to the vocals as I pride myself on usually preferring singers who are different and stand out from all the others. So, with this in mind, I gave the album a couple more spins and, it actually started to grow on me. Being just eight tracks, and half hour long, it wasn’t long before I had listened to it three or four times, and although you know exactly what you are getting for the rest of the album from just the first song, it is a pretty good record.

They might not be at the top of their game with this album, but with a bit of work and a few tweaks here and there, this band definitely have potential.

So, if you are a fan of power metal, NWOBHM, classic Scandinavian metal or just a metalhead in general give this album a go. You may hate it but you may also find a little gem that you never knew existed!!

TRACKLISTING:
1. Clairvoyance
2. Enigma Of Time
3. Shadow Upon The Metropolis
4. Millennium
5. The Guardian
6. Dawn Of Genesis
7. Black Harbinger
8. Olympian Aegis

LINE-UP:
Frans Kivelä – Bass
Lord Peter Macleod – Guitars
Aku Tiensuu – Guitars, Vocals
Akseli Häärä – Drums

LINKS:

Promo Pic1 (13)

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