Rise To Fall – Into Zero Self-Released Release Date: 30/09/2018 Running Time: 47:00 Review by Stephen Moss 7/10
“Into Zero” is the fourth album from Rise To Fall. The band classifies their style as Melodic Death Metal and is in the same boat as “In Flames” or “Disarmonia Mundi”. The band’s sound isn’t unique, however, I never got the feeling that they were simply trying to mimic their influences. Listening to the album, you definitely get a sense of who Rise to Fall are and what they stand for as a band.
I absolutely love the way the album starts off. It has an almost science fiction feel to it. The song, ’The Descendant’, starts off soft like gently knocking at the door and then the metal steps up and kicks the freaking door down! This definitely made me excited to see what else the album had to offer.
“Into Zero”, overall, is put together well and definitely does a lot of things right but it also has a couple of things that would have made it more enjoyable for my taste. The tracks do have some variety, however, I would have liked to see a bit more as some of the guitar melodies start to feel a bit repetitive.
You can hear each instrument nicely. I never got the feeling that one person overshadowed another but I would like to have seen the bass stand more on its own rather than just follow the guitar all the time. Lyrics are genuine, raw and filled with emotion and the guitar solos will melt your face! Guitarists Hugo Markaida and Dann Hoyos play fast and seriously shred, yet they are melodic at the same time. Last, but not least, Xabier del Val is the drummer, he’s amazing and the double bass in this album is SICK! I absolutely love the drums on this album. It’s a beautiful balance that Rise To Fall were able to achieve.
My top three songs are ‘Survivor’, ‘Effects Of The Terrestrial Syndrome’ and ‘The Descendant’.
01 The Descendant
02 In The Wrong Hands
03 Acid Drops
04 House Of Crosses
05 Virgin Land
06 The Empress
07 Temptation Feeds On Our Weaknesses
08 Zero Hour
09 Effects Of The Terrestrial Syndrome
11 Game Of Appearances
12 White Canvas
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Stephen Moss 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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Nightrage – Wolf To Man Despotz Records Release Date 29/03/2019 Running Time: 43:55 Review by Lotty Whittingham 9/10
It’s no secret that the mighty wolf is often associated with the metal community. Bands like Powerwolf, Sonata Arctica and Wolf have turned this to their advantage, whether it’s writing songs about the wolf or naming their band after it. Nightrage have also done this successfully with their latest album “Wolf To Man”. It takes you on a brutal, fist banging and melodic journey about the demise of mankind.
The album goes straight in for the kill with opening track ‘Starless Night’. This gives you a great first glimpse of their high-quality sound, it’s one that balances sheer brutality and melodic tunes perfectly. Another thing that you notice is the brilliant guitar work, particularly in the solos and chorus. These melodic and brutal arrangements work flawlessly together to create some fantastic tunes.
Across the album, you can hear this remarkable balance between the two perfectly. One minute you could be rapidly headbanging along to the beats, the next minute you are practicing air guitar along to the tuneful solos. No track is the same either, each one showcases a different story. The track can either make you want to start a revolution or go on a murderous rampage. It’s hard to pick the best tracks off the album so here are a few of the songs that demonstrate the impeccable talent of Nightrage.
‘Embrace The Nightrage’ could easily cause a rampaging riot with its fast pace and ruthlessness in the verses. The victorious sounding chorus can encourage you to carry on or it can mark the end of a successful rampage. Especially when the band screams “embrace the nightrage”, there’s a great sense of empowerment and strength behind this phrase.
The transition from sweeping melodic arrangements to thrash metal arrangements in the song ‘By Darkness Drawn’ are flawless. This fist pumping, headbanging tune will make you want to start your own mosh pit wherever you happen to be. This is a dominant track and definitely one of many highlights on the album.
The chilled introduction to ‘Disconnecting The Dots’ gives a different vibe to the rest of the album. The title alone is open to interpretation and the introduction to this song is a great way to illustrate this phrase. The acoustic guitars in the bridge also portray a more relaxed vibe that can represent the title. The rest of the song continues to showcase the band’s brilliant balance between melodic beauty and sheer brutality.
It ends on a strong note with the tracks ‘Escape Route Insertion’ and instrumental ‘Lytrosis. Escape Route Insertion’ provides one more brutal blast screaming at us to escape reality, something that we can all relate to.
The instrumental Lytrosis provides a calming atmosphere with the stripped-down tones and mellow guitar riffs. It’s a wonderful way to help the listener relax after experiencing a sheer force of brutal metal.
“Wolf To Man” is a melodic death metal treasure for old and new listeners alike. Nightrage are not ones to mess with and the mighty strength from them is concrete evidence of this.
Warning: Not for the fainthearted or easily offended. TRACKLISTING:
01. Starless Night
02. Wolf to Man
03. Embrace The Nightrage
05. God Forbid
06. By Darkness Drawn
07. The Damned
08. Arm Aim Kill
10. Disconnecting the Dots
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham 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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Stevenage, UK Melodic/Death/Thrash Metal band Dorylus. Huge thanks to them for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
I’m Joe I’m the lead vocalist and guitarist for UK Metal band Dorylus. We formed in 2015 with original members; Bassist Tom Oliver, Guitarist Craig Carmichael and Drummer Mitch Cartwright after our previous bands had gone their separate ways.
How did you come up with your band name?
So me and Tom where at a pub talking about potential band names and he had suggested that insects had really cool sounding names but Cicada, while sounding like an awesome band name, the bug itself is a bit dull. So in true metal fashion we hit up Google for a list of the most dangerous insects in the world and “Dorylus” was number 4 on the list.
What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?
We are from England and based in Hertfordshire. The Hertfordshire metal scene is one of the most incredibly supportive scenes in the country IMO. It has so many incredible bands that are really pushing the envelope of originality and keeping things interesting. If you put on a metal show in Hertfordshire it seems you’re guaranteed a good turnout, with all the regulars and bands that show up all the time to support an incredible growing scene. I thank the BOA M2TM competition going on at Club 85 in Hitchin for helping nurture such an amazing environment to make music.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
So we are currently preparing to release our Debut full length album on June 7th it’s called “Without Sin” and it’s taken the last 3 years to write and record and our first single is coming soon!
Who have been your greatest influences?
Personally my biggest influences as a musician have been Josh from Bloodshot Dawn, Chuck from Death, Randy from Lamb of God, Adam from King Leviathan and Ola England from Feared and the Haunted.
What first got you into music?
As basic as it sounds I remember hanging out with a friend when I was about 12 he’d brought round Metallica’s ‘Black’ album and the minute he put it on the aggression and raw feeling that I had never been able to understand when I’d heard metal before suddenly started to make sense I couldn’t not bang my head. my brother overheard us rocking out to it and the next day he dumped a bunch of CDs in my hands which included the likes of Machine Head, Soil and Slipknot as well as some classics like AC/DC and Iron Maiden. From then on I knew music was all I wanted in my life.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
There are so many incredible bands in my local scene right now and to be honest I’d love to do something with every single one of them. I feel like I’d enjoy working with friends a whole lot given the opportunity. So… any bands in my local scene that would like to collaborate HIT ME UP haha!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
100% it would have to be Bloodstock Open Air. Not just because it’s an awesome festival but because of the work it does for the growing Underground Metal community. It has an entire stage that runs all weekend dedicated to what’s happening in the underground. It’s such a good thing to be involved with and it would be and absolute pleasure to be up on one of those stages one day!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Damn I wish I had something interesting to say for this… but honestly we don’t get gifts from fans. Although someone did stick a dildo on my guitar while I was playing once… but I think it was the bands dildo (long story) anyways so I don’t think that counts.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
WE BLOODY LOVE YOU CRAZY BUNCH OF NUTTERS!!! …(also the album comes out June 7th). If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
There are too many to choose from but I’d probably say Chuck (Schuldiner). I’d love to have another Death album and to see where he would have taken his musical journey. Death have been a band that has had a vibe across all of the albums that made it still feel like the same band while maturing so much musically it’s why they have been a huge influence on how I approach writing music.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
It’s a release or more like it’s real. While I’m on the road I feel more like myself than when I’m at work or at home. The only thing I hate is that I can’t do it 24/7… the wages suck a bit as well.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Actually nothing really! The music industry is fairer than it has ever been for Metal. It’s no longer about ‘right time, right place’. It’s no longer a game of luck. You can’t be lazy and get lucky, you can’t just spend money and you can’t be in it for the money because there isn’t any. The only people who are left playing Metal are the ones with the true unbridled passion for it, the people doing it because they love it and it’s making music better every day.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“Paean Heretica” by King Leviathan. I’d been following this band for a couple years with their first 3 EPs playing on repeat almost constantly and once they released this album it changed my ideas of what I could accomplish musically.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
First off, anything that has people listening to music. To be honest I wish I was old enough to have been around in the tape trading days.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
That’s a pretty big toss up we’ve had so many good shows and shared the stage with so many incredible bands it’s hard to think. I think I’d have to go with London 2016 M2TM Grand Final. While we didn’t go through and we definitely have played better since the atmosphere in that room was amazing. Playing alongside some of our best friend’s in Gevaudan, Slave Steel, Dead Before Mourning and Bearfist, to a packed room of people, was just one of my favourite experiences.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Being bored as hell at my day job… nah I’d probably have tried my hand at art or acting I like being creative and I love attention.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Only 5!!! Matt Berry, Ian Mckellen, Morgan Freeman, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mike Tyson. Just so I could hear them make small talk
What’s next for the band?
New line up (announcement soon). New album. Tour through June (still dates available so Hit Me Up). Move on to another EP or Album ASAP. I don’t want to take 3 years for the next one!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Just that we are really honoured to be given this platform to promote our band and our album and hopefully you’ll all enjoy what we have coming up in the future.
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Amplified Festival 2018 Quarry Downs, Gloucestershire July 8th 2018, Day Three Review by Rick Tilley with help from Beth Jones Photographs by Beth Jones 10/10
I’m not quite sure when everybody else got back to the tent Saturday Night/Sunday Morning because, as soon as my head had touched the pillow, I was away with the fairies. This is, somewhat, a double edged sword for me with my back problems. I usually don’t sleep very well but when I do, because I’ve lain in the same place for too long, I feel much more pain. Add to that the fact that camping is not very good for me, so when I woke up on the Sunday morning, I looked and felt like Quasimodo. Once I had managed to negotiate actually getting out of the tent, which certainly wasn’t as easy as it should have been, another thing hit me…it was even hotter than it had been the previous two days. My fresh T-Shirt literally crumpled and stuck to me, the sky was shimmering and the angry red orb, that was the sun, looked like it was ready to take top billing in a 1970’s apocalyptic disaster movie. Even the bullocks in the field across the road from us, who the previous day had looked like a gang of naughty teenage boys ready for a punch-up, suddenly looked like they had been let out from an old people’s home for the day and could barely stand up straight!
Welcome to Ever Metal’s review of Amplified Festival 2018 Day Three!
Once everybody was awake and ready we crawled slowly over to the arena and immediately stocked up on water. I’m not sure it’s particularly healthy but I was literally beginning to sweat salt and this was before any band had played a note! We arrived at the Very Metal Art Stage just as the first band of the day, Beth Blade & The Beautiful Disasters, were starting their set! Cardiff’s very own rock chick, Beth Blade is always a good way to pass some time and at 10.15am, on an already ludicrously hot morning, was no exception. The first thing we noticed, from the last time we had seen the band live, was that the bass player had shrunk by about 18 inches. It wasn’t the heat but new bassist Vincent Grieve! If you’ve not seen or heard Beth before then imagine a mix of Kiss, Suzi Quatro and Joan Jet, good old 70’s/80’s Rock N Roll. She has huge power on stage, a proper gravelly rock voice and massive presence plus a great band behind her. She isn’t a shy lass, certainly woke everybody up and the sizable crowd had a blast, as well as huge grins on their faces!
Heading over to the Red Stripe Main Stage it was clear that people were starting to slow down slightly, unless your name was Michael Randall that is, but I certainly didn’t want to miss the next band. Carrying on the Hard Rock theme, albeit in a Jack Daniels coated Southern style, Thirteen Stars ambled onto the stage and promptly blew any remaining tumbleweed away with a huge bang. Hailing from the sunshine state of…Cumbria these guys are so laid back they’re horizontal but WOW, they are good. If you didn’t know better you would swear they were from Kentucky, Tennessee or Louisiana. They play proper bluesy, groove laden Rock N Roll and even though, having seen them before, I know they rip it up in a club setting, they were perfect for this Sunday Morning slot, especially in the sun with a cheeky Cloven Hoof Rum! I got so lost in the moment that, in what seemed like about ten minutes, they had ambled off stage again to rapturous applause. Absolutely superb!
Just as we were starting to get all Woodstocked up and considered changing outfits to flares and one of Simon Yarwood’s shirts we arrived back at the Very Metal Art stage and I got my soul ripped out by one of the most mesmerisingly brilliant and emotionally charged performances I’ve witnessed in many years, courtesy of the utterly incredible King Leviathan. With them being one member down and not wearing their usual garb onstage there were a few mutterings from some, before they started, as to whether it would work but I can tell you now that there wasn’t one person, who watched their performance, that wasn’t absolutely astounded at the end. Vocalist/Guitarist Adam Sedgwick was an unstoppable force on that stage and I couldn’t peel my eyes away from him. Blackened Thrash Doom isn’t usually Beth’s thing but we were both gobsmacked at the ferociously beautiful music that was coming out of the speakers. To know that King Leviathan will soon be no more is a very sad thing indeed. Completely compelling and enthralling from start to finish King Leviathan, amongst an ocean of fantastic performances over the weekend, were my band of the Festival!
After the emotion of King Leviathan’s performance and also realising that, even though I had covered myself in sun tan lotion, my neck was starting to blister we found a small area of shade by the sound desk and chilled out, chatting to others, whilst the VMA stage was readied for another “do not miss” band Resin!
I’ve known some of the band for a fair few years now and having seen and interviewed them a number of times before, plus knowing violinist Emma Bennett from her other band Cadence Noir, we were really looking forward to seeing this performance as it was the first time Beth had seen them and the first time I had seen them properly live with this line-up. It was also going to be interesting to see how the, as yet unstoppable, sound team handled a six-piece band with a violin player and three guitarists. I needn’t have worried because the sound engineers nailed it and Resin were absolute class from first note to last.
Musically this is a band of ultra-talented musicians (well, cough, apart from Simon). Their songs are incredibly dark and emotional, and the performance echoed these emotions. What they do is almost installation art as well as music; with the stage being jam packed full of a motley crew of tattoos and piercings, loud shirts, and the statuesque gothic beauty of Emma. Off stage the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Dave Gandon, guitarist/vocalist Mark ‘Chez’ Roseby, bassist/vocalist Drask George and guitarist Simon Yarwood are absolutely lovely guys but on stage they are incredibly intense. This is the place where they thrive and their emotions are laid bare. Backed up by the fantastic drumming of Ryan Hextall and the beautiful violin work of Emma, Resin were nothing less than haunting, a perfect fit for the Sunday line-up and a must see if they gig near you!
Because we were covering the event and wanted to properly watch as many bands as we could we walked back to the main stage again and I thought to myself that if I hadn’t lost at least half a stone by the time I got home then I would be a bit miffed, however, it was now so stupidly hot that some people had either left the arena to find some shade amongst the trees or just stopped, wherever they were, and sat/laid down. Many had done this about midway between the two stages so that they could still hear/see the bands without moving (the beauty of no clashes working a treat). This did result in some of the Sunday afternoon bands playing to, what looked like, a thin crowd but that wasn’t actually the case, everybody was just spread out!
Next up on the Red Stripe Main Stage were Scottish Progressive metallers Ramage Inc. and, as they played, a thought went through my head and it went something like this! “Fuck Me it’s hot, how is nothing on fire?” followed pretty quickly by the realisation that something was on fire and it was Ramage Inc. Having never seen these guys before, or listened to much of their music, it was another of those ‘Why the heck have I been so stupid?’ moments! This four piece band from Edinburgh has oodles of talent and their songs are so damn catchy and dark. Equal parts melody, rhythm and power, fans of Devin Townsend will adore them, although you probably already know that as I appear to be very late to the party. On the day Ramage Inc. were absolutely superb and, since returning home, their albums “Feel The Waves” and “Earth Shaker” have been played whenever I have the spare time! They are another hugely compelling band!
While Beth nipped over to see Marc and Nici at the Corrosive Merch/Goblin Dreams Stands I ventured into the very hot and VERY crowded G’s Bar Stage to check out The SoapGirls. Now, if you don’t know about The SoapGirls they are two Sisters, Noemie and Camille, who play Raw Rock/Punk Rock tunes and they play them whilst pretty much in the nude! I got told many times over the weekend that they are both lovely girls and I’m not disputing that for one second. I’ve also got no objection to anyone, male or female, who wants to get up on stage with nothing on and play music, a prude I am not. However, I’ve heard 1,000+ bands play their style of music and play it much better. With all due respect to The Soap Girls I really don’t think they would have the huge following they’ve managed to get if they went onstage in T-shirts and Jeans. You can call me cynical if you want but it’s a promotional tool that they have used well!
By this time my body really wasn’t responding very well but, if you know me, you’ll know I don’t give in without a fight so it was back to the Very Metal Art Stage to watch a band, that we hadn’t seen live before, but were really looking forward to. I could wax lyrical about Twisted Illusion, because they were so good, but I’m going to leave this bit to Beth because her write up sums it up perfectly!
“Twisted Illusion took the bronze medal spot for performance of the weekend for me, only outdone by Evil Scarecrow and Soil. If heaven exits, this is the soundtrack that is playing! Matt Jones, Matt McDade and Mark Wagstaff are three unbelievably gifted musicians, all meeting in perfect harmony to make Prog Mecca! It reminded me of the bit in Bill and Ted, when Rufus takes them to the utopian future after Wild Stallion’s music has brought about world peace! I was absolutely blown away by the tone and range of Matt Jones’ vocals and his incredibly decadent guitar solos. It was self-indulgent and ego laden but all tongue in cheek. Twisted Illusion’s stage presence plus witty repartee and banter from Matt J made it mesmerising and they are now my new favourite band, so much so that we are going to see them for my Birthday treat this year! Twisted Illusion – So good they make you pull a sex face!”
What I’ve heard of Florence Black, up to this point, has been really good and when speaking with people, across the course of the weekend, it was a name that had come up a fair bit as a band punters wanted to watch so it was back to the Red Stripe Main Stage to see them and we were very glad we did. A trio from Merthyr Tydfil (Hey, we definitely had to support the Welsh bands) they play thumping Classic Hard Rock, with a little modern twist, and they do it very adeptly too. Vocalist/Guitarist Tristan has an awesome set of pipes and, along with their strong melodies, this made for a really enjoyable performance. Florence Black were another great booking for a Sunday slot, especially with the good weather, and a band I very much look forward to seeing live again soon!
What I had loved about the Sunday, so far, was that the bands booked, with the odd exception, had been a little more laid back and perfect for a crowd whose energy levels were probably a little on the waning side, but if anyone mistakenly thought that things were starting to wind down, then they were rudely awoken when the magnificent Shrapnel hit the Very Metal Art Stage. Another band I have been a fan of for a fair while, but had never seen live before, Shrapnel are an utterly furious juggernaut of Thrash & Speed Metal, their sound giving a huge nod to the likes of Testament and Exodus but stamping their own twist onto proceedings as well. They sounded like a squadron of advancing Challenger Tanks and had heads snapping in all directions. I love my Thrash and this felt like a starter, main course and dessert all in one go. Rather than feel completely drained by the time they left the stage I felt utterly re-invigorated!
With a renewed spring in my limp I hobbled, with Beth, back to the Red Stripe Main Stage because there was absolutely no way we were missing the next band. We first saw Mason Hill live, about a year ago, at RockWich 2017 and they absolutely blew us away, in fact it had almost brought Beth to tears so emotional was their performance. Since then we’ve met them, interviewed them, seen them live a couple more times and have championed them on Ever Metal and we were absolutely stoked they were playing on the big stage at Amplified. Unfortunately, the heat had got the better of a lot of people by this point, so sadly the crowd was a little sparse but that never stops Mason Hill and they gave every ounce of energy they had. They play Classic Melodic Rock with a Modern twist, have great material that is really catchy, they are all gifted musically and they play with excitement and passion. They even graced us with some new tracks that will be on their debut album and they are fabulous. We aren’t the only ones who think they rock, they’re now signed to Frontiers Music and they don’t sign unless they see something special! It’s a shame more people didn’t see them because they deserved to be playing to a much bigger audience but they still made some new fans at Amplified. Part of my step-daughters photography prize was to photograph them being interviewed by us later in the day and it was a joy to catch up with five of the nicest people you’ll ever meet! We love Mason Hill!
From a photography point of view Beth says that, Misfit’s guitarist, Doyle’s band was her favourite of the weekend. ‘Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein’ is an incredibly striking subject with his sculpted make-up and hair, body of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger and towering stature enhanced by some magnificent platform boots! Musically Doyle are, unsurprisingly a bit like The Misfits, churning out catchy, Horror themed, sludgy Punk/Rock n Metal. Frontman Alex ‘Wolfman’ Story is also an intriguing character. He looked like he had sunk three bottles of Jack Daniels before hitting the stage and his banter, in-between songs, was unusually humorous with each track being introduced as ‘this one is a love-song that you can dance to if you want’ in a slurred accent, before launching into another great performance. It was too hot to dance and there were a few too many love songs but Doyle are the embodiment of US Rock n Roll excess. You feel like they should have been playing this material at New York’s CBGB’s club in the 1970’s whilst throwing TV’s out of hotel windows and driving vintage cars into swimming pools. It’s hard to believe Mr Doyle is actually a vegan! Make sure you catch them on tour!
By this time my legs were completely numb, it’s very weird walking on what feel like lumps of wood, but I had said at the outset that I intended to watch as many bands as I possibly could and next up on the Very Metal Art stage were a band I hadn’t seen live for many years…Xentrix!
Alongside Onslaught, Xentrix were always one of my favourite UK Thrash bands and it’s hard to believe that it’s nearly thirty years since I trudged into London, as I used to do on a regular basis, to buy their debut album ‘Shattered Existence’. Like many bands they’ve gone through a couple of break-ups and many line-up changes but at Amplified they were utterly superb. Bull-Riff Stampede guitarist Jay Walsh is now also vocalist/guitarist in Xentrix and he did a cracking job. They were tight with razor sharp riffs and thunderous drumming fighting for supremacy and once again, any thoughts of slowing down from the Amplified crowd were banished as necks shook and legs stamped. As the sun slowly started to dip and the inferno level temperature subsided by a degree or two, it looked like everyone had been given booster pills! This was a fantastic performance from an excellent band and it certainly won’t be years until I see them again!
Back on the Main Stage it was time for Industrial/Alternative Metal heavyweights Sulpher to crank up their amps but I had to bow out due to needing medication/water and a fresh t-shirt, however, Beth went to watch them so here are her thoughts! “I really love Industrial Rock/Metal, I don’t know why; I think it’s the raw edge power of it. The low bass and harsh drums just get to me. I think that the band were on stage, although it was a little difficult to tell sometimes with the amount of dry ice that was being pumped out! Having not seen Sulpher before, I didn’t know if this was a normal occurrence or if someone back stage had broken the switch on the machine but it certainly added to the atmosphere of their music! Again, the crowd was a little thin as many were still in the process of finding shade/nursing burnt skin or were in the G’s Bar Stage watching the, much talked about, Ward XVI and unfortunately I think this got to the band a bit with the between song banter being a little harsher than was necessary. It was a shame because, musically, Sulpher were absolutely outstanding”
I will add that even though I couldn’t see the band properly, I could hear them pretty well (I hope those sound guys were well paid because they deserved every penny) and Sulpher sounded fantastic. Since returning, Beth and I have checked out a fair bit of their music and neither of us would hesitate to go and see them again!
We were now heading towards the twilight of Amplified 2018 but the Headline band on the Very Metal Art stage was one I love but didn’t think I would ever see live so, even though I felt like a rat with no legs stuck up a drainpipe, I was as close to front and centre as I could be. With a massive portable lighting rig having appeared on stage along with a drum kit the size of a military cargo plane there was very little space left to actually stand but when Belgian Thrash/Speed Metal machine Evil Invaders flicked the on switch it was like they were playing Wembley Stadium.
I’ve already told you how much I like my Thrash and that there had been some awesome Thrash bands on over the course of the weekend but Evil Invaders took it to Def-Con 4. Their energy levels could have supplied the National Grid, which was just as well considering the amount of aircraft landing lights onstage. Vocalist/Guitarist Joe looked like the bastard lovechild of Lemmy and the Tasmanian Devil, his scowl utterly monstrous, and was a whirlwind of adrenaline from start to finish. Lead guitarist Max and bassist Joeri weren’t far behind and how the three of them managed to circumnavigate the space available without crashing into one another was astounding. All you could see of drummer Senne from behind the massive framed kit was a tornado of arms and hair and the occasional maniacal grin. If you’ve never heard of, or seen, Evil Invaders before then rectify that now because a band that is made up of equal parts Kreator, Heathen, Holy Moses, Iron Angel, Metallica, Exodus, Motörhead and a pinch of Septic Death is a pretty magnificent one in my book! They were a perfect wat to bring proceedings to a close on the VMA Stage and I really hope I get to see them live again!
During the Evil Invaders set Beth and I discovered Rum Bellini’s from the Cloven Hoof stand and they were absolute nectar, just about giving me enough energy to walk, one last time, to the Red Stripe Main Stage!
“And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…” Here we were for the final performance on the Main Stage for another band from Beth’s formative years, Irish Rockers, Therapy? Now I’m going to be honest, when people, including Beth, talk to me about music in the 1990’s I nearly always do a ‘meh’ face. However, I cannot deny, that I was proved wrong yet again! Therapy? gave a fabulous performance with a mix of classic tracks and new material from the forthcoming album “Cleave”. Andy Cairns must be one of the nicest frontmen I’ve ever watched and between him, bassist Michael McKeegan and drummer Neil Cooper they make a heck of a lovely noise!
Everyone was having the time of their lives, singing along to just about every track and the atmosphere was electric, as the angry sun finally dipped below the horizon to give us some respite. It was almost as if Therapy? were battering it into submission! We had to sit down for most of their set, because we had definitely hit the proverbial wall. My back was agony and my legs were in serious danger of losing circulation plus Beth had developed elephantiasis in her ankles, but from our picnic blanket which had been very kindly supplied by the Motley Brew and with our cuppas aloft, we sang and cheered and smiled that melancholy smile you do when you know that something utterly fantastic has happened, but is coming to an end. Thank you Therapy? for an enthralling and brilliant way to end our Amplified 2018!
If you wanted still more then Welcome Back Delta were getting ready to play on the G’s Bar Stage but, like the previous two evenings, we finished with the Main Stage Headliner. We settled back down in the Motley Brew tent and chatted to anybody and everybody that arrived and we said goodbye to some who were packing up and leaving that night. There were no words to describe how we felt by this point, we were ridiculously tired, sweaty, dirty, in pain, drained, thirsty and a thousand other things but we also felt elated, thrilled, rapturous, enthralled, inspired and intoxicated, not by alcohol, but by the atmosphere and experience. It was very clear to see that we weren’t the only ones who felt like it either. After what felt like a wonderful eternity we finally dragged ourselves back to the tent for much needed sleep.
We didn’t get any sleep because a group of people, camping near us, decided that Sunday night was party night, hey they were just enjoying themselves, but with very groggy eyes we finally gave up trying to sleep at 6:00am and started to pack up. Mercifully, but also ironically, the temperature had decided to drop, somewhere in the region of 15 degrees, overnight. Had that happened a day earlier there would have been more people watching bands on the Sunday and my neck wouldn’t have looked like a bad case of Leprosy but I can say, with a clear conscience, that this was the best open air Festival weekend I have ever attended. It may not have had the largest audience, every event has to start somewhere, and it may have been hotter than everlasting purgatory in Hades but the atmosphere was the best I’ve experienced. You all know that we are family and I have never experienced that family feeling quite as much as I did at Amplified 2018. It would take me too long to name people individually so thank you from the bottom of my heart…you all know who you are!
I’m only going to mention one name because without his vision, drive and stubbornness Amplified wouldn’t have happened in the first place and, after last years debacle, it certainly wouldn’t have got to year two without his bloody mindedness. Gary Paterson take a bow and make sure you have a rest because Amplified 2019 is going to be even bigger and better, I’m not sure how but it will be!
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 all parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Vega – Only Human Frontiers Music srl Release Date: 11/05/2018 Running Time: 52:57 Review By Beth Jones 9/10
My first experience of Vega was at Amplified 2017 and I was an instant fan. I love their kind of melodic, American rock – it brings out my girly side. Having been a life – long Bon Jovi fan, they sit very nicely in my tastes, and I was very pleased when I found out that they were releasing a new album this year.
Only Human is Vega’s fifth album. The band have produced it themselves, and have teamed up with legendary Canadian musician and producer, Harry Hess of Harem Scarem, to mix and master the final product, and what a pretty damn fine final product it is! Since it’s release date on 11th May 2018, I have had it on in my car as my ‘cheer me up on the drive to work’ music and it really does the trick!
Whilst Vega do sound very much like Bon Jovi, Nick Workman sounding very similar to JBJ in particular on this album, they do definitely have their own sound. That being said, they do fit very neatly into that style, it is very 80s, very American and very easy to get on with. With the quality of the songs on this album, this could quite easily be an album from a multinational chart topping band of that genre. It is 12 tracks of thumping American style melodic rock, with a good mix of upbeat anthems and ballads, all of which have catchy hooks, great melodies, and a finesse in the production quality that shows not only the skill, but the passion and craftsmanship of those involved.
It is really hard to pick out a favourite track from the album as they are all so good, however I think I do have two favourites; the title track, ‘Only Human’, and ‘Last Man Standing’. These were the two tracks that instantly caught my attention on first listen, and are definitely the tracks that I now sing along with.
Only Human, appearing about half way through the album, has the feel of a classic stadium anthem, starting off quietly, just vocals, keys and drums. I can imagine the staging for it – packed stadium, low lighting, the whole crowd cheering, spotlight on Nick for the verse, smoke machine, then BAM! Lights up! More Smoke! Drums! Guitars! Keys! Crowd going wild! Bouncing! WE ARE ONLY HUMAAAAAN…… Then I stop getting lost in the song and focus on the road because I am driving! But that is what that song does to you, and that for me is the mark of a good song and the whole point of music – the fact that it takes you somewhere else and makes you feel good. It has a more modern feel, whilst still hanging on to its classic roots. It is one of those songs that will stay ageless.
Last Man Standing, positioned in slot 3 on the album, is a different kettle of fish! More upbeat, but very 80’s American Rock. Good solid chunky rhythms underpin the whole song, with bass and rhythm guitar providing good riffs that echo each other in the chorus, along with a very catchy melody line, with classic harmonies in 3rds on the title line, which give the track a very nice lift. This is a track that you can really move to, and even if you are too cool to have a bop, I can guarantee you that you will not be able to resist some sort of movement to this song, whether that be a slight toe tap, or a very aloof nod of the head in time. IT WILL MAKE YOU DO IT – IT IS INFECTIOUSLY GOOD!! This track is my ear worm at the moment. I can be stood in the kitchen at work making a brew, and then all of a sudden, there it is!!! So goddamn catchy!!
The vibe of the whole album is pretty much encapsulated by these two songs. This is 12 tracks of really solid, really catchy ear worms that wouldn’t be out of place at any ‘mainstream’ event, but fit perfectly into the world of rock too, and it is for this reason that I am pretty sure the Vega boys are some kind of sorcerers, and their songs are their spells!! They certainly have me hooked!
If I had one criticism, and believe me it is incredibly hard to find one on this album, this is just because I am properly fussy, it would be that the vocals on track 11 (Fade Away) seem to be slightly out of sync with the rest of the track – just by a tiny bit – in the chorus, so it feels like the vocals are rushing. Whether this was an issue in mixing, or it is meant to be like that, I’m not sure, but it just doesn’t hit the level of brilliance the other tracks do. For this reason, it is my least favourite track on the album and, depending what mood I am in, I do sometimes skip it as my brain can’t cope with it being not quite in sync!
Other than that, this is an absolutely stonking album. OK, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it most certainly is mine, and judging by some of the other reviews it has picked up so far, I am not the only one who thinks so. If you are a connoisseur of high class Melodic Rock, you need this album in your collection now…right now!
TRACKLISTING: 01. Let’s Have Fun Tonight 02. Worth Dying For 03. Last Man Standing 04. Come Back Again 05. All Over Now 06. Mess You Made 07. Only Human 08. Standing Still 09. Gravity 10. Turning Pages 11. Fade Away 12. Go To War
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.