Interview with Fallen Arise – Hammerfest X

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INTERVIEW WITH FALLEN ARISE
HAMMERFEST X
17/03/2018

Back in March, we had the pleasure of interviewing Gus, Giacomo and Fiona, of Fallen Arise, just after their set at Hammerfest X. They are an incredibly interesting band and it was really great talking to them about who they are and what they do.

For the people who have never seen you before, just give us a quick history of the band, who you are and where you come from.

Gus: Well, we are Fallen Arise. We are from three different countries; Greece, Italy and the UK. We were formed in 2009, the summer of 2009, and, of course, we had some other members those years. Now, we are Giacamo on guitars, Fiona on main vocals, Vlassis on main vocals, me on the keyboards. Marios K on the drums and Paul on the bass.

So, this band has two things that I love. I’m a keyboard player, so instantly I was like ‘Yay keyboards!’ I love bands with keyboard players!! And I’m a woman and I love women in metal. So, Fiona, how did you come to join the band first of all? Were you there from the beginning or have you been picked up recently?

Fiona: No, 2016, August. I received some communications from the management of Fallen Arise and we had some conversations and felt a good vibe and I enjoyed the music very much. Listening to the melodies and the orchestrations really grabbed me and I’d never actually played in a band with a keyboardist before, so I thought yes!

It makes a difference, doesn’t it? Adds a different level.

Fiona: Yeah, I played in a band with sequenced backing tracks but it didn’t have that live feel, so that was something that I really wanted to do, and also because there was a male vocalist too, again a new thing for me, I thought, yes absolutely. I signed up and we began a few tours.

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So, how do you get around the whole rehearsal schedule thing?

Fiona: We don’t really rehearse (laughing)

Do you like do it over Skype? (laughing)

Giacomo: Usually we don’t (laughing)

So, you just learn all your bits separately and then just come together for a gig?

Fiona: Basically! We did get two rehearsals in Manchester as we all flew in last week, but we also had to prepare our acoustic show and we had never done anything like that before.

I guess it’s a very difficult thing to do acoustically.

Fiona: Yeah, and unfortunately for us as we were setting up, the keyboards failed so we had to very quickly rethink things the two of us and it was a little bit hairy. But, we got through it. We had fun.

Yeah, if you can get through it, that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

Fiona: It was good, I think people were enjoying it.

Giacamo: I was playing, thinking about the disparities, singing in my head…!

Fiona: We changed some things. We dropped a song, had to cut short things.

Giacamo: In a very short time we had to decide – ‘we are going to do this, this and this, ok’?

Fiona:  But it was good. So, we rehearsed, we did our lovely acoustic rehearsals in Manchester which no one ever got to hear! But sometimes if we can all go to Athens to do a couple of days rehearsals before we go to somewhere like Romania or somewhere like that, we try to do this, but it’s not always easy.

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So, when it comes to playing gigs then, I’m assuming the rest of the guys get gigs in other parts of Europe, so you’re going all over the place to do gigs?

Fiona: Yeah, we are. (Agreement from the rest of the band)

So, what’s it like for you then? Is it amazing to get to these different places that you perhaps wouldn’t have gone to if you had not been in a band like this?

Fiona: Yes, it’s amazing, absolutely amazing. Fantastic. The biggest one I think for me last year, for all of us, was Russia, when we supported Paradise Lost! We got to some beautiful places, played to some fantastic audiences, they were absolutely wonderful to play to, really the passion and the energy is fantastic! So that was an amazing thing for us as a band and each, personally, as well. But earlier in the year, last year 2017, we did some tours through Germany, and The Netherlands, which was fantastic. Romania and Bulgaria too, and we played Greece last year as well! It’s been really nice to see all the fans.

The fans in Greece are magnificent. The metal scene in Greece is just fantastic. The fans out there are crazy.

Gus: The metal scene in Greece?

I think it’s crazy. You don’t think so?

Gus: No!!!

Really? You know, I’ve spoken to bands before and seen DVD’s of bands playing out in Greece. The crowds they get are just phenomenal.

Gus: Actually, the situation with Greece is that we have many, many talented musicians, many, many talented artists, but we have a bad ideology. It must be the music first, and it’s not. That’s the truth. Most people you will hear them say that my local scene is wonderful but it’s not.

So, do you prefer going to the rest of Europe and coming here?

Gus: Fallen Arise is more acceptable in other countries than Greece. It’s the truth. And that’s the reason we feel like home not in our real home but here in Wales, in Romania, in Russia, everywhere except our countries. I’m very sorry to say that but maybe in the Greek road I will be like an idiot but that’s the truth and I don’t care!! (Laughing)

It’s interesting, because we see obviously the media coverage and YouTube and things, so it’s interesting to hear it from your side because you’ve been there, you’ve come through that, the Greek side of things.

Gus: It’s the same for every country. If you are from the country, it’s harder to have an audience in your country because there is a sort of rivalry between musicians and this is absolutely something bad. I usually think about other musicians like brothers and I try to support them, but I heard also from people from abroad saying the same thing about their countries.

So, here in the UK, we are always going ‘oh the metal scene in Europe is so much better than it is here!’

Giacomo: I think everyone says the same thing!

02 Fallen Arise

So, Fiona, are you working towards some new material, a new album?

Fiona: Yeah, we are. The musical side, the composition side, has been finalised, and I actually fly to Athens in about a week to start in the studio for a few weeks doing final vocals, and we will finish up after that at Iron Queens Festival in Romania. So, it’s this one, lots of recording and then that! We are going to have a fantastic time! I believe, and I’ll have to double-check this, but I’m sure I read somewhere that the Iron Queens Festival in Romania is their first ever female fronted metal festival which I think is a really good thing.

I’m seeing more women in metal bands popping up all over the place and I think it’s fantastic, whether it’s singers, drummers, keyboardists, bass players, guitarists, you know, it’s really good. I’ve also been a massive fan of women in metal but you do get the people that go “hmmpft” Also, and I hate to say it but back in the 80’s, and I’m sure it still goes on a bit, females were in metal bands because they had been put there to look at, not to actually listen to the talent, and so it’s really nice now to see so many good female musicians come through and get respect. Has it opened doors for you, the fact that ladies in metal is much more accepted?

Fiona: I think so, and I think that some of the female fronted platforms across Europe added quite a powerful influence to that over the last decade but it’s becoming less and less needed. I think that’s why Female Voices in Metal decided to take a break, because they felt that the platforms weren’t perhaps necessary, whereas ten years ago it absolutely was! But, I think still there is a huge gap, there is a huge gender imbalance when you look at some of the bigger festivals. In time, I hope to see that change and I think it will.

So, what’s coming up for you guys now then? Obviously, you are going into the studio to record the album and you’ve got that festival. Have you got any other big dates planned for this year?

Fiona: We’ve got Iron Queens. We have another one in May.

Gus: We have another one in Romania on 9th June in Constanza, then we go to Sweden for new video. We are also playing in Italy. It’s not something we have confirmed but we are planning to do some dates in Italy.

Fiona: We concentrated on just a few festivals this year, because we have such a heavy job to do with our album, and our video, and our artwork, working with the label to get the album out by the end of the year so that take a lot of time and energy.

So, that’s what you are hoping for? A release date by the end of the year?

Fiona: We’re hoping so yeah, we’re confident it will be towards the end of the year.

Have you got any album title you can go by yet?

Fiona: Not presently no!

Is there going to be a theme about the album? You know is it going to be a concept, overall story, or are the songs going to be separate?

Fiona: In terms of lyrical themes, there’s a lot to do with passion, power, being reborn, feeling like there’s a shift into something better, so it’s a really positive album and it’s really reflective of coming out of harder times and going into something better. It’s that kind of thing. It’s that just get up and do something new, let’s be out there, let’s be passionate and powerful about what we believe in. That’s a lot of the lyrical themes so far. That’s about it.

Giacomo: Yeah it is separate songs, not a concept, but we also use symmetry with art, for example, we are using, for the first time in A Fallen Arise album, a seven-string guitar. We were trying to mix more thing together, seeing that we are from different worlds musically, so we try to combine to do something new.

You mention you are all from different musical worlds, what are your influences?

Giacomo: I come from thrash metal and progressive metal so when I joined the band it was hard for me, because I’ve never been a big fan of symphonic! But I found some characteristics which really were joyful for me. I think I have learnt very much from this band. Before I was thinking about songs like ‘alright, solos as fast as I can, I have to do this difficult riff, then I’ll change this!’ but now I have to serve the song and it’s something very, very, very beautiful. That happened to me, it completely changed my style!

It’s not all about heavy and fast, it’s about feeling the music.

Giacomo: Yeah, you have to serve the musicians and the audiences. This doesn’t sound so hard, but trust me it’s harder than playing many lines together, changing time etc.

Gus: I come from a classical background. Of course, I very much like metal music, all different bands, but not only metal music. As a musician, I have my ears open for every style. I like jazz, I like blues, I like everything. My main influences are the composers of classical music like Ravel, Stravinsky, Samberg, who were fascinating for me. Because of this, I chose to make this symphonic metal band. The idea of the frustration of the composer; taking a short theme and making it quite big, for a band, for an orchestra, for many, many, many people. It is fascinating. But, actually, generally I would say that I’m a fan and passionate about good music, wherever it comes from.

Fiona: For me, I grew up through the UK scene of classic metal and rock. Some of my influences stretch right back to the seventies, from things my parent where listening to, and I just picked up on. Things like Marillion and all sorts of stuff. A lot of that was quite influential to me, but as I sort of moved through the eighties, I got a lot of the classic rock influences as well. I was also a big fan of Iron Maiden; Bruce Dickinson especially is quite an interesting one for me. And you didn’t really get a lot of female vocalists to be honest. You know, Janis Joplin was pretty cool, I used to love her but, you know, unless it was pop – I think Madonna was one I used to dance around to when I was a kid! And Billy Joel apparently, I don’t really remember too much about that!! That’s the sort of stuff that’s come through for me. But, I’m also half Irish – lot of my family were born in Ireland, so we have a lot of that influence too. I think in the last ten, fifteen years, I think the female vocalists that have stepped out for me, I think were probably Christina Scabbia – I think she’s a pretty good performer as well as an exceptional vocalist; I do like the earlier Tarja stuff, I think she is a very, very talented vocalist. A bit of Nightwish, but I think Floor Jansen had a lot more variety for me and I think she’s got that power. I do like powerful singers, I really do. I listen to her a lot more now because I like her voice. But also, I think there are some really fantastic singers out there and it’s really hard sometimes to pick one that influenced you. I also like a lot of James LaBrie, Geoff Tate, people like that. It’s that kind of voice I think that grabs me.

Fantastic! Well that was our last question for this time – is there anything else you would like to add – anything you want everyone to know about?

Fiona: Yeah, the album. Iron Queens in Romania coming up in April, and obviously our new album coming out this year, that’s fantastic. So, do look out for that. But, also, you know, a huge thank you to everyone who’s given us time and support and interest. That’s everything for us.

Giacomo: And great hospitality!

Fiona: Hammerfest has been an amazing place to come to. Thank you so much.

And that was where we left it. It was incredibly interesting to chat to this quite remarkable band, and discover how the logistics of a multi – nation band works, and also how they see the metal world differently to us. It was fascinating and enthralling and I really hope we get chance to speak to the guys again at some point in the future. A massive thanks to them for taking the time out of their schedule to do this for us. Don’t forget to check them out, and keep an eye out for the new album – we are certainly excited for that!

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • https://www.fallenariseofficial.com/
  • https://www.facebook.com/fallenarise/

https://fallenarise.bandcamp.com/

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/FallenArise

 

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

Interview with Dead Label

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Interview with Dead Label – Hammerfest X 17.03.2018

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

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

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

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

Do you like playing as a three piece then?

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

Is that how you approach writing songs as well then?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: No, we did a music video here!

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

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

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

Danny: Yeah, the salt and pepper!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How old where you when you started playing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you think when they came up with it?

Dan: We kind of just like rolled with it!

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

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

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

Rick: Yeah it is an awesome video!

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

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

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

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

LINKS:

  • https://www.facebook.com/DeadLabel/
  • https://www.instagram.com/deadlabelband/
  • https://deadlabel.bandcamp.com/
  • https://www.youtube.com/user/DeadLabelBand

OTHER LINKS:

  • http://www.bloodstock.uk.com/events/boa-2018/bands/dead-label
  • http://www.amplifiedrocks.com/lineup

 

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

Hammerfest X – Day Two

Hammerfest X
Hafan y Moor Holiday Park,
Pwllheli, North Wales
Saturday 17th March DAY TWO
Review by Rick Tilley & Beth Jones

 

…CONTINUATION OF OUR EXPLOITS AT HAMMERFEST X

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Hammerfest X – Day One

Hammerfest X
Hafan y Moor Holiday Park,
Pwllheli, North Wales
Friday 16th March DAY ONE
Review by Rick Tilley & Beth Jones

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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