Reviews

MEARFEST 4 at THE BORDERLINE

MEARFEST 4

THE BORDERLINE, LONDON

13TH AUGUST 2016

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I was approached by Brian and Claire Mear well over a year ago to dj their event, organised to help raise money for The Willow Group, a charity that provides support to parents of stillborn babies, and I jumped at the chance. Not only was this a great opportunity to support them in their grief, after losing little baby Molly, but what better way to gather a crowd of metal heads together to raise money for such a worthwhile cause than a day of NWOBHM?

A genre that is still very popular with a lot of metal fans, the day boasted four original NWOBHM bands in Troyen, Sacrilege, The Deep and headliners Desolation Angels, as well as Kaine, a younger band heavily influenced by the NWOBHM sound, and up and coming guys Not Fit For Humans.

Held at The Borderline in London, a downstairs venue with a capacity of 300, a bar at one end and a stage at the other, this was the perfect location for an event such as this, its cellar like qualities adding to the atmosphere.

Brian and Claire had a personal connection to this event, and that showed in how well run and organised it was. Having a curfew of 10:30pm, there was a strict timescale to stick to, and this was handled brilliantly by both Brian and the stage manager Kevin Riddles, each band getting on and going off when they were supposed to. The place had a great sound system, although I, personally, thought the microphones of some of the bands needed to go up a touch, and there was a fantastic vibe from the crowd that showed they were all there to have a good time in support of such a wonderful cause.

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The evening kicked off with Not Fit For Humans, a band who have featured in every Mearfest event since its conception six years ago. Although not a metal band, more a punk band, these guys put in a blistering performance for the whole twenty minutes they were allocated. A four piece, they describe themselves as “the best band to come out of Slough EVER!” and they were a great opener, playing a mix of covers and original songs, and as they said to me afterwards…you can’t go wrong with a bit of Motorhead, eh?

Next up were Kaine, a four piece originals band and these guys total brought the house down. Playing older tracks, songs from their latest album The Waystone and new tunes, they put in one of the best performances of the night. The bass player is simply superb and Rage Sadler is the perfect frontman, playing off the crowd as only a frontman should.

Troyen were the next band to take to the stage and I must say I didn’t really know too much about these, despite being friends with at least one of the band members on Facebook. Another four piece, this time hailing from Warrington, they put in a much more subdued performance than that of Kaine before them but this is still a talented band, with a great guitarist and I hope to see more of them in the future.

I had seen Sacrilege a few times before but I must say this was the best I had witnessed them. A crowd favourite, they were full of energy, playing the first half an hour of their set without a break. Bassist Jeff Rollins is the onstage character and Bill Beadle’s voice hit all the notes, even the high ones, every single time. This was another great performance, NWOBHM with a little bit of doom thrown in for good measure.

Five piece, The Deep followed next, kicking off with their version of “The Sound of Silence” as a tribute to Brian and Claire, before launching, steadfast, into their own material. Vocalist Tony Coldham has a fantastic voice, backed by great guitarists, another superb bassist and a young, but talented, drummer. These were another crowd favourite and finished their set with Prepare To Rock, a song written after the atrocities at the Battaclan in 2015.

So that just left us with headliners Desolation Angels. “Purveyors of melodic, face melting, heavy rock riffs” as stated on their Facebook page, these guys have been around since the early 80’s, albeit with various line-up changes, and this was my first time seeing them with ex-Midnight Messiah singer, charismatic frontman Paul Taylor. Playing tracks from their back catalogue, including previously released as a single Valhalla, Desolation Angels were the perfect headliner. Given nearly an hours playing time, they gave 100% to each song, putting in a performance they should be very proud of.

Mearfest

It was great to see a collection of bands working so hard to achieve what they have. If NWOBHM is a dying genre as some people believe, and after Mearfest 4 I seriously doubt that, then the guys in these bands are doing their best to keep it alive.

All in all Mearfest 4 was a total and utter success. Selling out the 300 capacity and raising £4,000.00 for The Willows Group, Brian and Claire Mear should be extremely proud of what they achieved. They have worked tirelessly for over a year to make sure this event was as great as it was, despite their grief and they truly have turned “loss into legacy”

Here’s to Mearfest 5!!

SETLISTS

Not Fit For Humans

Blitzkreig Bop (Ramones cover)

Let It Rain

Breaking The Law (Judas Priest cover)

Hell Has A High Price

Suffragette City (David Bowie Cover)

Fall River

Damage Case/ Overkill Outro (Motorhed cover)

Kaine

Heaven’s Abandonment

Iron Lady

A Night Meets Death

Justice, Injustice

Fall of Jericho

Afterlife

Voice In Hell

Quality of Madness

Troyen

Backlash

Dreams Never Lie

Finish What You Started

Don’t Send Me To War

Futures Friend

First Blood

Syrian Lady

Sacrilege

In The Arena

Ashes to Ashes

Running Scared

In Hell

Cry Of The Night

Live Another Day

Welcome To The Dragons Den

Rock n Roll With The Devil

The Wraith (we gotta get outta this place)

My Time To Die

The Deep

The Sound of Silence

Premonition

The Rider

All I Want

Night Stalker

Out Of Touch

When The Rains Came

Prepare To Rock

Desolation Angels

Doomsday

Fury

Medusa

Archangel

Valhalla

Only Time Will Tell

Dance Of The Demons

Evil Possessor

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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.

Electus! – The Dark

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ELECTUS

THE DARK

8 OUT OF 10

“Electus” are a hard rock band from the West Midlands in the UK formed in 2008 by vocalist and rhythm guitarist Russell Peake and it was him who approached me via social media to review their debut album “The Dark” which was released in 2015.

The album starts off with the ambient “Shelter”, an instrumental which, having a vocalist who also plays rhythm guitar, shows the talents of every member of this very gifted foursome. The song ends to the sound of rain and an air raid siren in the background before the album truly kicks off with the rock and roll riffs of “18”, a song about taking control of one’s own life.

“Aphrodite” has a blistering guitar solo and stand out song for me “Just For One Night” grabs you right from the start with its punchy riffs and catchy lyrics.

The pace slows down a bit with the more ballady “Sunflower” although this does build up again mid-song with Priest-like guitar work, and the album finishes with “Rider”, a bass-lead song that has some great riffs, a fantastic guitar solo and confident drumming. If the follow up album carries on in the same vein as this track, then the band are on to another winner.

This is not an intricate album but one that so obviously has some classic rock and metal influences. It has everything from gripping intros to heavy bass lines and catchy drum beats, bluesy in some places, dark in others. The vocals of Russell Peake, which have been compared to those of Scott Weiland in his Velvet Revolver days, give the band a distinctive sound that sets them apart from other hard rock bands.

And what this album does have is a ‘what you see is what you get‘ attitude, with hard rock songs written the way hard rock songs should be. It is a classic rock and roll album with a hint of grunginess and a pinch of country (a la Molly Hatchett).

In the words of “Electus” themselves, they “will always create music which conjures the full range of emotions and deliver a visual live performance that leaves the audience thinking ‘wow…more please!’”

I, personally, love the whole sound of this album and even after a week in my car, I never tired of it, re-visiting again to write the review.

“Electus” are an up and coming band who show just what sheer hard work can achieve and with some dates set for the rest of the year and, hopefully, another album in the pipeline, this is a band who are destined for much bigger things.

“The Dark” is available now for digital download from Googleplay.

 

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.

Svartnad – The Pete Flesh Death Trip

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THE PETE FLESH DEATH TRIP

SVARTNAD

8 OUT OF 10

Starting out on my review writing career I never thought I would veer away from the genres of metal that I knew and loved, but when Pete Flesh from The Pete Flesh Deathtrip approached me to review his new album “Svartnad” I thought why not give it a go?

Although Pete Flesh himself, ex-Flesh, Deceiver, Thrown and Maze of Torment, has been on the scene for much longer, his solo project The Pete Flesh Deathtrip was conceived in 2009 and was originally classed as a one man band, releasing first album “Morti Vivos Docent” in 2013.

“Svartnad” is the second album from the Swedish death metal outfit, and, released by Critical Mass Recordings in 2016, it is the first to feature a session drummer, namely Henrik Borg, with Mr Flesh playing both guitar and bass as well as providing vocals.

“Svartnad” is a very atmospheric album, dark and moody with the ability to get under your skin and stuck in your head. Melodies combine with beautiful riffs that are sometimes there just to compliment the lyrics, while at others, they can completely dominate the track.

The first track “In Ruinam Iniquitas” opens the album with pumping riffs, sounding almost thrashy in places, and the record maintains the same pace throughout, ending abruptly with a gunshot.

The album has a typical Scandinavian sound and, although it’s not the genre of metal I would usually listen to, it’s obvious this guy is a very talented musician indeed. There is great songwriting throughout, the guitar solos are fantastic and although the vocals are guttural growls, there are no dirty vocals and the lyrics can easily be understood, always a good thing in my opinion.

The stand out songs for me were “Winter of the Wolves”, which I also played on my radio show a few weeks back, and opening track “In Ruinam Iniquitas”

Even you are not a fan of death metal I recommend you give this album a whirl. I am a thrash girl at heart but I actually really enjoyed it, learning the lesson that you should never judge anything before you have actually listened to it.

This may be the work of just one man, but this is one man with the heart, feeling and talents of an entire band. Ignore him at your peril.

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.

 

Rage – The Devil Strikes Again

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RAGE

THE DEVIL STRIKES AGAIN

8 OUT OF 10

After an absence of three years, Rage, the Teutonic metal band hailing from Herne, Germany are back with their new album “The Devil Strikes Again”. The long-awaited follow up to 2013’s “LMO” is the band’s 22nd (yes 22nd!) studio album and was released by Nuclear Blast Records on 10th June 2016.

Long term band member Peter “Peavy” Wagner is back on vocals and bass but is, this time round, flanked by new members Marcus Rodriguez on guitar and Vassilies “Lucky” Maniatopoulos on drums, replacing Victor Smolski and Andre Hilges respectively.

Formed way back in 1984, Rage were part of the German heavy/power/speed metal scene that emerged in the early to mid-1980’s which included bands such as Helloween, Running Wild, Blind Guardian and Grave Digger but Rage are often forgotten when it comes to listing the most influential bands of the 1980’s. Numerous line-up changes over the years has evolved their sound full circle from their speed/thrash origins, embracing more symphonic traits before abandoning them once more to settle on the style that characterised them in the 1990’s, classic metal with a hint of power.

This album is old school Rage. At just around 45 minutes in length, which is short for Rage, each song is packed with solid yet melodic riffs, tight fast drumming, and the Lordi-esque sounding vocals of Peavy (only in places and that’s just my opinion!) The album is full on all the way through, only the second from last track slowing the tempo slightly and there is not a ballad on this album in any way, shape or form.

Wagner, himself, says of the album: “With our new album we wanted to deliberately build on the energy and the spirit of our classic albums from the ’90s. We focused again absolutely to the songs, hard and straight, with awesome melodies. The collaboration with Marcos and Lucky works extremely well, it had been a long time since I was so inspired and felt so liberated during song writing, and so some of the best tracks that I could ever record with Rage came about. We are more than proud of this album and we can’t wait to bring The Devil Strikes Again to the stage.”

Recorded at Megafon Studios in Burscheid, Germany, “The Devil Strikes Again” is a solid album full of great tracks that are by no means over performed with too many vocal operatics or overproduced guitar work so often associated with power metal. The album is hard and gritty in places yet melodic in others and will most certainly have the listener banging his head, horns in the air, from the very beginning.

I had a grand total of ONE Rage track on my music library before I received this album, not really paying them much attention, lumping them together with all the other German power metal bands which I had kind of lost interest in. I will NOT be making that mistake again. This is a good album to introduce new listeners to the band, I certainly will be checking out their back catalogue, while at the same time leaving most die-hard fans wanting more.

Rage haven’t broken any new ground with this album but they have made a bold statement with it and that statement is that:

RAGE ARE BACK!!

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Loud Stuff. 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 Loud Stuff

Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts

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‘The Fall of Hearts’ by Katatonia (no, not the ‘Mulder and Scully’ Catatonia that is spelt with a ‘C’) is the eagerly awaited tenth studio album from the Swedish dark progressive rock/metal band. Formed in 1991 by Jonas Renkse and Anders Nyström, the band’s first two albums were more death/doom metal but over the years they have added more progressive traits to their work, resulting in the sound they have today.

Not knowing anything about the band, “progressive” would have been the word that could have turned me away. I have never hidden the fact I am not a big prog rock/metal fan but this was the factor that made me want to review this one even more. I was not disappointed.

At sixty-seven minutes long, the twelve tracks, although separate songs in their own right, fit together perfectly, and with ease. Creating an eerie and melancholic atmosphere whilst  at the same time, not appearing too depressing. The haunting vocals of Jonas Renkse have such depth, he literally brings the excellently written lyrics to life. The guitar work switches effortlessly between heavy riffs and delicate picking, using both electric and acoustic sounds. The drumming from new drummer Daniel Moilanen, is intensive yet not overpowering. Add into the mix the orchestral keyboard sounds from Nyström and you have a progressive masterpiece that is well written and extremely well played.

With hints of Opeth, Tool and Porcupine Tree, and just a pinch of Riverside thrown in for good measure, they can be classed as one of the best of their genre. The album as a whole is complex yet remarkably easy to listen to and obviously contains some immense musical talent and ability, all of which complements the others impeccably. For me, the whole sound is brought together by the vocals, Renkse’s voice soothing and tender yet powerful enough to get you right in the heart.

I have seen this album being likened to the journey depression can take us on and the light at the end of the tunnel and I would say this was a very fair representation. There is a much laid back ambience to the album and, although I listened to it in my car to and from work, it would be more suited to a dark room, lying on the bed, eyes closed with the rain lashing at the windows.

I admit, I am a traditional heavy metal gal, often casting aside the technicalities and intricacies of progressive music but I am glad I did not throw this album to one side. Even if you are not a great fan of prog music ‘The Fall of Hearts’ will grow on you and I will definitely be listening to it again…..in a dark room, lying on the bed with my eyes closed and raining lashing at the window!

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Loud Stuff. 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 Loud STuff

 

Attica Rage -Warheads Ltd

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ATTICA RAGE

WARHEADS LTD

9 OUT OF 10

 

Warheads Ltd, released on 6th June 2016, is the fourth album by this heavy rock band from Glasgow, Scotland. Now signed to Off Ya Rocka Recordings, the home of bands such as The Quireboys and Bonafide, Attica Rage were formed in 2003 by brothers Richie Rage (drums) and Johnny Parr (vocals/guitar) and released an early ep in 2005.

The line up was completed with Steve Bell (guitar) joining the band in 2007 and the arrival of bassist Matthew Ward in 2014 and the band have, over the years, built up a global fanbase, supporting the likes of Black Label Society, Testament, Saxon, Skindred, Diamond Head and Armored Saint as well sharing festival bills will the likes of Judas Priest, Slash, Blind Guardian and WASP.

Being three and a half years since their last album, 88MPH, which consistently received good reviews, this latest release has been eagerly anticipated.

If I am honest I had heard OF Attica Rage, as they were on the bill at High Voltage festival, but I had actually never heard any of their stuff. Upon hearing the album teaser on Youtube I jumped at the chance to review it, and I am so glad I did.

Produced, engineered and mixed by vocalist/guitarist Jonny Parr, with the drum tracking and final mastering added by Roddy Macaudio, Warheads Ltd, its 10 songs lasting 44 minutes, is an album full of catchy rock anthems with heavy metal riffs and classic ballads thrown in.

Not quite a heavy metal band but so obviously much more than a rock band, it’s clear who they are greatly influenced by, and they are not afraid to show it. With the sound of Black Sabbath, Ozzy and Black Label Society, they also have the brashness of Motorhead and the heavy metal attitude of Metallica, Iron Maiden and Anthrax. If ever there was a band that would appeal to a wide variety of rock and metal fans then Attica Rage would be it.

Track 2 on the album “Falling Down” was released as a digital single on 6th May 2016, accompanied by a video, and features two live bonus tracks, ‘Killer Carousel’ and a cover of the Motorhead song “Overkill” as a tribute to the late, great Lemmy who passed away last year.

Stand out track for me was the title track “Warheads Ltd”, its heavy guitars and thumping drums, appealing more to my heavy metal side but every track has its own merits and there is not a bad song on the album, including the instrumental.

The band, who have a “solid reputation for energetic and powerful performances” will be going on tour in the autumn of this year and I, for one, hope to catch them at The Black Heart in Camden.

I absolutely loved this album and I will definitely be checking out their previous releases.

Anyone who has the slightest interest in rock or heavy metal should get themselves a copy of this album and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Loud Stuff. 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 Loud Stuff

 

 

My Affected Reality – Window In Time

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MY AFFECTED REALITY

WINDOW IN TIME

7 OUT OF 10

 

Being a big heavy metal fan it’s not very often that something other than metal lands in my inbox but that’s exactly what happened when Ron Irwin of the band My Affected Reality asked me to review their album “Window in Time.”

Formed in 2008 in Oshawa, Ontario in Canada, all three members of My Affected Reality are formerly of the band Juice, which also featured the talents of Darren Smith, Jake E Lee’s singer, and JD Fortune of INXS, and they have since opened for the likes of Motley Crue, INXS and 3 Days Grace.

On the first play through it’s really quite difficult to categorise where this band should fall on the music spectrum. Is it rock? Is it metal or should it be classified under 80’s electro-funk? Subsequent listens dispel all previous thinking and the album should be taken at face-value. Its guitar rock with a few heavy metal riffs and the funk of electric pop all fused together in such a way that the sound is almost somewhat unique. In the words of the band themselves “My Affected Reality has a dark driving flavour with melodic hooks.”

Opening with “Damage”, one of my favourite tracks on the album, listeners could be fooled into thinking they were listening to a metal band with the heavy riffs associated with that genre but with the melodic “Believe” and the funky sounding “Beautiful” coming later on, it’s evident there is so much more to this band.

The members are all clearly talented musicians and play extremely together well. The singer has the sort of voice that would be suited to singing any genre of rock music and is complimented perfectly by the backing vocals. The electronic sounds intermingle perfectly with the drumming and guitar riffs, never overpowering the whole vibe of the album and the overall result is an eclectic sound that could transport you back to the 1980’s or keep you firmly in the present day.

I under-estimated this album the first time I listened through it, being influenced by my heavy metal roots, but I am glad I gave it another chance. Having had it in my car for five days straight I still have not tired of it which, in my opinion, is always a good thing.

If you are a metal head through and through then this might not be the album for you, but you are willing to explore other types of rock music, then give this album a go. You might just like it…….

 

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.