Armored Saint – Punching The Sky

Armored Saint – Punching The Sky
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 23/10/2020
Running Time: 53:29
Review by Chris Galea
8/10

There has been a notable consistency in the line-up of Armored Saint and apart from original guitarist Dave Pritchard, who passed away in 1990 (and whose shoes were filled by Jeff Duncan), “Punching The Sky” features the same guys that appeared on the band’s 1984 debut album “March Of The Saint”. This is not merely a bit of trivia but could account for Armored Saint as a songwriting unit and why “Punching The Sky” is one of the strongest releases from the band.

The sound is perfect too…not excessively polished, not too raw…and all tracks have their own temperament. For example, there’s ‘Bark, no Bite’ which has both bark and bite. Or ‘Fly in the Ointment’ with its soulful, Hard Rock moments. Or even ‘Never You Fret’ with its hard-hitting rhythm section and spot-on guitar solos. Or the pensive moments of ‘Unfair’….you get the idea.

Curiously, both album opener ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’ and album closer ‘Never You Fret’ start with some sort of hypnotic New Age tunes. Perhaps to foster a sense of structure?

Overall, though, there has been no major departure in music style…despite the band members’ involvement with the Bay Area Thrash scene, Armored Saint still seem to keep a closer affinity with the NWOBHM.

John Bush is at the top of his game and amazingly his singing actually seems to have got better with age. Just check ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ or my favourite track ‘Missile To Gun’ to see what I’m on about

Compared to other album reviews on Ever Metal, this one has been relatively short. To be honest just 3 words would have been enough: “It kicks ass”. So, if the ongoing pandemic has restricted your mobility, “Punching The Sky” could be a great way to raise your spirits.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants
02. End Of The Attention Span
03. Bubble
04. My Jurisdiction
05. Do Wrong To None
06. Lone Wolf
07. Missile To Gun
08. Fly In The Ointment
09. Bark, No Bite
10. Unfair
11. Never You Fret

LINE-UP:
John Bush – Vocals
Phil Sandoval – Guitars
Jeff Duncan – Guitars
Joey Vera – Bass
Gonzo Sandoval – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

13 Burning – Unholy EP

13 Burning – Unholy EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 14/08/2020
Running Time: 25:00
Review by Beth Jones
7/10

Well, it’s Wednesday! Or ‘hump day’ as some call it (stop snickering at the back, it means it’s the hump of the week, and once you’re through it, you’re on the way to the weekend)! And what better way is there to make it through a humpy Wednesday, than with a bit of metal? None, my good people! None at all!!

This evenings listening is presented by Oxford based NWOBHM band, 13 Burning, in the shape of their recently released debut EP “Unholy”. Formed in 2014, their mission is to combine the traditional sounds of classic heavy metal, with storytelling of mythology, war, and witchcraft.

The EP opens with the title track and gives us everything you would expect from a classic NWOBHM band. Face melting riffs, slightly edgy vocals with perfect Shakespearean diction, a great steady 4/4 beat, and a booming bass line. It’s like bish bash bosh, meat and two veg, heavy metal. And there is not a single thing wrong with that. It takes me back to the good old days, when hair was flowing, boots were cowboy, and everything was double denim clad. And not a pair of rose-tinted glasses in sight!

We’re treated to some awesome musicianship on this release too – a notable example is the ripping solo in track 2 ‘Wings Of A Dream’, which really brings that song to life.

Track 3, ‘Day Of Reckoning’ begins in theatrical fashion; spoken word with a ton of echo, backed up by some eerie and ethereal sound effects. I think this is actually my favourite track. It’s got a slower pace which helps to show off vocalists Dan Abrams pipes really well, and hints at how they can diversify their sound from the traditional. Saying that, it does kind of remind me of the more drug induced tracks that appeared back when peace and love were a thing…just with more riffage!

The final track, ‘Valhala’, again starts in a more slow, lamenting style, with Dan’s vocals sitting atop the mix. Lyrically, it’s pretty poetic, too. Completely in keeping with their mission. And this track is a close second for my favourite track. It’s a biggy, at over 8 minutes long, but has a sharp change of pace in the middle, taking us back to the comfortable groove of classic metal! By the way, unless you by the CD, you won’t hear this track, because it’s a bonus track only on the physical copy. And the lesson here is BUY MERCH AND BUY PHYSICAL COPIES!!!!! Stream, shmeam!!!! Heathens!!! Anyway, where was I?…

Ah yes! “Unholy”, as a debut EP, is a sound footing for 13 Burning to start out with. It’s not ground-breaking, but as a first tentative step into the world of having the balls to put your tunes onto a shiny circle of coated plastic for all to hear, it’s pretty worthy. There are a couple of itchy teething problems that could probably do with ironing out to take them to the next level. The mix is a little muddy in places, and the balance of instruments isn’t always right. But that almost gives it the authentic NWOBHM feel. So, you have to make a call. If it’s ‘perfection’ in the modern day that you seek, then maybe check go out some Ed Sheeran. But if you want proper no nonsense British Heavy Metal, then you could do a lot worse than looking these guys up. I think 13 Burning have a lot more to give (hence my score) and I very much look forward to hearing where they go next.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Unholy
02. Wings Of A Dream
03. Day Of Reckoning
04. Valhala

LINE-UP:
Dan Abrams – Vocals
Phill Millward – Guitars
Sarah Thompson – Bass
Steve Kearley – Drums

LINKS:

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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Tokyo Blade – Dark Revolution

Tokyo Blade – Dark Revolution
Dissonance Productions
Release Date: 15/5/2020
Running Time: 55:45
Review by Mark Pritchard
9/10

Recently, while trying to help get a sofa into my grandma’s house, I suffered an unfortunate foot injury (it turns out feet don’t like getting wedged between a sofa and a gate! Who knew?!). It was pretty darn painful! the next day, as I rested my leg, I decided that it was the perfect chance to listen to one of the new albums I’d asked for to review from Ever Metal! My choice that day, and since, has been “Dark Revolution” by long standing British heavy metal band Tokyo Blade.

Tokyo Blade are based in Salisbury, Wiltshire in the UK and are a New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) band. They’re old hats in the music business now, having been active since 1983, but are definitely still going strong! Since forming in the 80’s they have put in a lot of hard work, releasing 7 singles, 6 EPs and 9 full-length albums with “Dark Revolution” being their 10th!

Listening to this album, and looking at when they started, I can’t help but hear some comparisons with the likes of Maiden, Metallica, and Megadeth, but at the same time, these guys have a sound completely their own. Steve Pierce’s drumming drives from fast to faster, and the guitar work by both Andy Boulton and John Wiggins is great. This wonderful guitar work is especially evident when they solo. It’s fast but then it hits the solos and really comes at you more. They blend all this with bass work by Andy Wrighton, which helps keep the main pace of songs going, and the very clean vocals of Alan Marsh, to create one hell of a band!

“Dark Revolution” is full of great songs, but I if I had to choose a standout it would be ‘Perfect Enemy’. From start to finish it keeps the same tempo, but near the start of the song it has a great solo which drew me in. As the song progresses, we’re treated to another beautiful solo. And as if that wasn’t enough, the vocals are amazing!

I have listened intently to this album and have thoroughly enjoyed it! I would easily recommend this album to all who are fans of the likes of Metallica, Maiden etc, and especially albums released in the 1980’s, as these guys are just as good as the aforementioned bands, well in my eyes anyway! I know that I will be looking at getting this album myself in CD form when I can.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Story Of A Nobody
02. Burning Rain
03. Dark Revolution
04. The Fastest Gun In Town
05. Truth Is A Hunter
06. Crack In The Glass
07. Perfect Enemy
08. See You Down In Hell
09. The Lights Of Soho
10. Not Lay Down And Die
11. Voices Of The Damned

LINE-UP:
Steve Pierce – Drums
Andy Boulton – Guitars
Alan Marsh – Vocals
John Wiggins – Guitars
Andy Wrighton – Bass

LINKS:
www.tokyoblade.com/
www.facebook.com/tokyobladeUK/
www.twitter.com/TokyoBladeUK
www.open.spotify.com/artist/6F9tjDKhGtXlm9M4s30KD5
www.youtube.com/channel/UCqRqQCo6nokjRQ8M_wYy7DA/videos

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Mark Pritchard 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.

EMQ’s with SNATCH-BACK

EMQ’s with SNATCH-BACK

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with St. Helens, Merseyside, UK based Classic Rock/NWOBHM band Snatch-Back. Huge thanks to guitarist, Ste Byatt, 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?

Hi, it’s great to see your superb Rock pages. I’m very honoured that you’ve asked us to contribute. I’m Ste Byatt guitarist in Snatch-Back. Snatch-Back formed in the mid 70’s after our drummer Steve Platt invited me to watch the “Hendrix Plays Berkeley” film at the cinema. We were playing together in a covers band but decided to leave to write and perform original rock. We knew John (vocals) from his bad party influences at school. Besides, he had hair and a tassled jacket that reminded me of Black Sabbath “Vol 4”. Love that LP! He introduced us to Ian (Bass) who had started writing and was gig ready with his Hofner Bass and a little WEM Dominator combo amp.

Initially, we created our own gigs as there were only bingo/social clubs in our town. We played between music films at the cinema, school discos and charged door money in youth clubs and mid-week social club rock nights we helped organise. We soon got lots of proper work in the north west UK. Playing the same venues as Strife, Alex Harvey, Diamond Head, Def Leppard, (Quo) Vardis and Judas Priest. Our pinnacle was a self-promoted 80’s gig. We sold out our local 600-seater theatre twice!

Snatch-Back always wanted a record company to spot and promote us, so we spent all our efforts and cash writing, buying equipment, vans and playing live. We had a record company visit us at a biker gig, but they really wanted a pop band to mould. They signed the Rubettes of ‘Sugar Baby Love’ fame instead of us. A lucky escape for us rockers maybe? We did a couple of self-funded studio sessions that we had no idea how to approach companies with effectively. There was no internet education or communication in the 70’s or 80’s. A 1979 Manchester studio session resulted in our only release: the single ‘Eastern Lady/Cryin’ To The Night’. It got a little local rock radio play and we sold it at gigs. In the mid ’80s our gig circuit closed down, so we eventually split.

The (now collectable and expensive) single prompted a letter from a NWOBHM fan in Israel to our local newspaper seeking us out for information and our vinyl. The internet revealed we were featured in Malc Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Local, past, fans kept pushing us to reform, but we hadn’t met for years. I was interested to revisit what sound Snatch-Back had that maintained such interest. I always felt that Steve Platts drumming style added a unique flavour to the music. I contacted Ian (Bass) and we found the others. A Facebook photo gained us a headline slot in a local festival. Luckily, we could still play well together. We vowed to spend more time this time around on recording to communicate with a potentially wider audience across a wider world. It’s overwhelming that fans across the world want to hear our recordings now. We’ve certainly enjoyed making a few videos. Pity we couldn’t have done that in the 70’s.

How did you come up with your band name?

In the very early days, we had gigs booked but no PA. We took a trip to the Liverpool music shops with our part time jobs cash. We got thrown out of the shop debating and negotiating over a hire purchase repossessed (termed financially as a “snatch-back recovery”) Simms Watt amp system. The next day we came back with enough funds. The shop guy says “oh no! It’s that Snatch-Back band again, got any cash before you waste my time again?” The name stuck on our future shop visits and it sounded to us like we were destined to “snatch-back” music into rock from the brink of the disco precipice.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

St Helens, Merseyside, England, UK. The live music scene was great from the 70’s up to the mid 80’s. A real Beatles Cavern Club culture 60’s hangover in Liverpool and The Wirral. This meant lots of pubs and clubs hosting original bands playing a smattering of covers. It was great for us and other new bands in the north west in general. We could also see bands like Bad Company at Liverpool Stadium, Empire Theatre or Manchester Free Trade Hall. This was very affordable for us. These days the scene is recovering with new venues opening. There is certainly a good internet following for rock but it’s difficult to gig in starter pubs unless you are a covers or tribute band. It’s really up to bands like us to contact new mid-size venues and put cash up to promote gigs. From an audience point of view, there are more mega stadium venues, but they are too expensive for young people to afford and a remote experience from the band.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our latest, from January 2020, is “Ride Hard Run Free”. This is an independent release on Gatefold Vinyl and CD. It has been an exciting international project for us. Recorded and pressed in the UK; mixed and mastered in Poland (the new home of Rock) by Bart Gabriel and Ralf Kossakowski. The artwork was completed by Roberto Todeerico in Italy. It’s exciting that we’ve built such prestigious contacts since reforming. We’ve planned and funded the whole process ourselves too. You can order copies from our Facebook page or Website. We’ve also placed it on all the streaming and download media so we can reach a wider international audience. You can watch our video of ‘Hard Times’, a track from the album free on YouTube. I think its important fans can see a visual story connected to the music.

Who have been your greatest influences?

I’ve got to say hearing ‘Voodoo Chile’ and then “Hendrix in the West” were life changing. Before that it was various guitar bands like the Monkeys and Rolling Stones that seemed to offer an attractive lifestyle, but they didn’t influence me to project my feelings into a guitar. Shortly after, I bought “Deep Purple In Rock”. Richie Blackmore at the start of ‘Speed King’ was tremendous. I soon got into Free and Black Sabbath. Seeing Paul Kossoff play ‘The Band Plays On’ in Back Street Crawler at Manchester was very moving. I had been a huge fan of Free Live. Another early influence was Gravy Train. Now I would say I like a variety of musicians like Jeff Beck, Al de Meola and John McLaughlin. Budgie, SAHB, Soundgarden and Rob Zombie are great too. Not just the fastest technical musicians. It’s got to project a feeling to me.

What first got you into music?

Seeing Norman Barrett from St Helens band “Gravy Train” (Vertigo and Dawn label recordings) play our local theatre. Just a Gibson 335, Vox AC 30 and a pair of lungs. Tremendous emotion. I was quite introvert, at that time, so my uncle had given me his unwanted acoustic guitar to help me socialise. Now I wanted to feel the same as Norman when I hit those strings and influence an audience like that. My uncle was a smart guy.

My family weren’t musicians, but they certainly enjoyed music and dancing. The radio and record player were always on. Guitar groups were emerging with an everyone can have a go attitude. The guy down the road had written “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” (Eurovision hit). He moved from working in a factory to a villa in Italy. Seemed a good plan for me to escape industrial north west England.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Zal Cleminson, guitarist from SAHB. Zal shows me there’s no age limit to being a high energy, creative writer and gigging rocker. Getting advice on recording production or supporting his band would be great.

I would also love to play with his last “Sin Dogs” drummer Carlos Marin. Carlos was great at communicating energy and drive to an audience in a rock show.

I’d like to find the people who produced and mastered Budgie’s “You’re All Living In Cuckooland” and the Thunder spin off “The Union”. Love those LP rock sounds!

I think playing in any band or taking recording advice with Burke Shelley (Budgie Bass & Vocals) would be superb.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

We are not fussy. Anything that reaches our current fans and grows our audience. We did very well on the Stonedeaf Festival opening act competition so it may be good to do that. Fans recommend we would be ideal for HellFest & British Steel in France and MuskelRock in Sweden. Anything in Eastern Europe or Japan would be a fantastic experience too. I love to travel Internationally.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Being appreciated I think and/or asking me to sign something. I know a few arrogant musicians that can’t critique themselves. They will never develop or build a fan relationship. The best bands are of course assertive, but deep down quite humble and appreciative of their fans. They are on a quest to be objectively critical of themselves, be creative and probably undervalue their achievements. I suppose I do that as I could always listen to myself. The rest of Snatch-Back are the same. We want to offer something unique but there’s always somebody better technically. My best recording or performance is always going to be my next one.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thanks for everything. Fans contacting us on the internet inspired us to reform and continue. We couldn’t have achieved what we have without your appreciation.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Hendrix would be superb. He was heading for a soul phase rather than the psychedelic rock I enjoyed. However, I think he would have experimented in many new musical directions. He was light years ahead of studio craft and I think he would have been revolutionary. There aren’t many notes in ‘Voodoo Chile’ but the studio is also an instrument he used to communicate a touching emotion.

If I could bring a singer back it would be Alex Harvey (SAHB) or Steve Marriot from Humble Pie era.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Without doubt, expressing myself through music. I like to create an emotion in my performance and try and communicate that to an audience-either live or in a recording. A friend said to me that “There is much more to being a successful performer than being good at your instrument”. He was so right. No one slides a record contract under your bedroom door. I get immense satisfaction posting an LP to a fan but there’s so much work and promotion that I have to do before it can happen. I enjoy the business side but will never be remembered for it. I would much prefer to spend much more time writing and playing.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

For me having an honest manager would get us much further. As I said, it would free us up to be more creative. I wasted so much time approaching record companies ineffectively with “Ride Hard Run Free” recordings. Maybe the right influencer would have been more effective. Companies just wouldn’t take a chance unless they’ve paid for and control the recordings. We didn’t want the album to be consigned to a back-office file or just available on downloads. It’s very important for us to have a good quality vinyl and CD that fans judge us by in years to come. I’m still playing my 70’s copy of “Hendrix in the West” and re reading the vinyl gatefold cover. It projects images and a relationship with the music!

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Humble Pie – “Rockin’ The Filmore”. I’ve mentioned a few others but couldn’t leave this package of high energy out. Great gatefold vinyl photos too. I’ll sneak in Soundgarden’s “Superunknown” too.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

As I said: Vinyl for my ears and the interaction with a band. CD’s are great for extra tracks and accessible home storage. I’m not doing downloads down though. They have reached so many international fans we never dreamed of. It’s a lot to ask a fan to spend postage on vinyl without trying on streaming first. Bands dont raise much with funds on downloads but its excellent promotion that pays a little back on every stream. I can imagine apartment owners don’t have the same storage I have for 100s of LPs under my stairs. I can see the logistics of downloads there.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Definitely the Theatre Royal, St Helens (our hometown) in the 80’s. We took a leap of faith, with no LP out, to put up cash to promote that. We gained immense satisfaction when we sold all 600 seats out. It was great offering local original bands the chance to play with us on a big stage too. We even did that a second time.

It was exciting too coming back to packed local audiences at Westfest in our town. Of course, Mearfest was like coming home. We were are on the same bill as top NWOBHM bands in front of a 100% Rock audience.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I see music as an expression of what I feel, so I suppose I would do something else creative. I went through a self-searching phase of mountaineering. Sort of discovering and competing with myself for a while. I love international travel too so could work in that. Music was always there though even if less prominent. I can’t imagine a world without it.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Snatch-Back plus our second bassist Ste Kay and my Mrs Denise. They are all into rock music, beer, fun and spicy food in a big way.

What’s next for the band?

Promoting the LP as well as we can. Learning better ways to reach out to distributers and download customers is also critical. The gigs we had lined up for 2020 are shelved with the virus crisis. I want to plan a Liverpool rock night though as soon as feasible. I’m not leaving it long before the next LP either so have started writing already. It would be great to find a way to get the right support from a record company to widen the appeal of the band.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Fans can order CD’s, etc through:

www.facebook.com/SnatchBackBand/

Or our website at:

www.snatch-back.co.uk

We’ve got a youtube channel for our videos just search “Snatch-Back”.
Our streams and downloads are on all the usual good stuff like iTunes and Spotify.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Is this a bank account security question? I think I would take the biscuit option-even though a little soggy. Coincidentally, I recently chatted to the guitarist in “Half Man Half Biscuit”. I would say I had a brief affair with Hobnobs-but don’t try and sing after oaty biscuits- I did once, they choke you.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Just to say thanks for your interest in our music. Bands would be nowhere without your kind of media support. Its particularly important in the virus crisis that people are motivated by entertainment through the media. I think you are doing a vital job keeping rock and its audience alive.

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

Soldier – Storm Rider EP

Storm Rider EP Cover

Soldier – Storm Rider EP
Starhaven Records
Release Date: 12/08/2019
Running Time: 15:49
Review by Paul Monkhouse
8/10

It’s incredible to believe that Soldier are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year and, much like some of their other contemporaries from the NWOBHM era, they still have an awful lot to offer as this three track EP ably shows. Whilst the band have had more line-ups than the Met Police, founding member and original guitarist Ian Dick has found himself a perfect combination of talent to power them on and keep the name and music very much alive. Having somewhat sadly decided not to gig this year (but who knows what the future holds) this new release is a perfect indicator of the force they still harness but also acts as a perfect introduction to newcomers of this seminal band.

The title track ‘Storm Rider’ kicks things off in fine style with its insistent riff, powered by the guitars of Dick and Miles Goodman. This has elements of some of the best of that initial rush of creativity and fire from forty years ago but also gives it a great, modern sound. There was a real song-writing skill that a lot of the bands of that heady era, like Saxon, Praying Mantis, Diamond Head and Samson, had and this is very much the case here as their ear for a melody as well as something that has that visceral excitement comes through on every track. Singer Richard Frost has been a real find and has a voice that’s perfect for the material, his vocals having both power and a honeyed tone to them. The guitar solo at the end of the song is all you could hope for and leads nicely into a fade before the second song, ‘R.N.R.’, kicks in.

Despite the well-worn subject of a guitar slinging hero, the song is utterly irresistible and glories in an instant appeal that sounds just so good whilst treading that line between hard rock toughness and AOR. These guys put other artists of the genre in the shade. The epic ‘Little Big Horn’ is the sort of thing that Iron Maiden used to make when they were at the first, early peak of their career and at just over six minutes in length gives you time to really revel in its delights. It has both the style and subject matter of early Maiden but with a lot more polish as the guitars charge full pelt at you, vocals weaving the tale and the bass and drums (of Steve Barlow and Tim Churchman respectively) pound with precision. It really is a great way to end the E.P. and leaves you not only marvelling at the music therein but desperately craving more. Fortunately, there’s quite a back catalogue to explore and this release is a pure distillation of what makes Soldier’s brand of melodic metal so enduring. Here’s to the next 40..!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Storm Rider
02. R.N.R.
03. Little Big Horn

LINE-UP:
Richard Frost – Vocals
Ian Dick – Guitar
Miles Goodman – Guitar
Steve Barlow – Bass
Tim Churchman – Drums

LINKS:
https://www.soldiernwobhm.com
https://www.facebook.com/soldiernwobhm
https://www.youtube.com/user/SOLDIERNWOBHM1

 

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse 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.

Sacrilege – ‘The Court of the Insane’

The Court Of The Insane Cover

Sacrilege – ‘The Court of the Insane’
Pure Underground Records
Release Date: 02/08/2019
Running Time: 55:12
Review by Paul Monkhouse
7/10

It’s arguable that many of the bands that are known and loved in the rock world wouldn’t be here without the advent of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Those were heady days when this new breed of long-haired musicians seemed to pop up from virtually every town and city in the UK, filling the pubs and clubs with a sea of denim and leather scented with patchouli oil. The fact that so many of these bands are still around or have reformed shows that there is such a huge hunger for this much loved genre and that giants like Iron Maiden and Saxon are still packing out venues and playing with as much fire as anyone else on the scene. Not all were as successful as Maiden, but they still put their hearts and souls into it and Sacrilege are one such band. Originally formed in ’82 they enjoyed five good years together before going their separate ways only to reform again, twenty-five years later, in 2012 and have been constantly working since then. “The Court Of The Insane” is their new album and it pushes the clock back to those exhilarating days when the world sat up and listened and the weekly edition of music paper ‘Sounds’ was full of amazing tours and must-buy new albums.

‘Celestial City’ heralds the album with keys and that soon morphs into a guitar intro that captures the fire of the old days and races off with a song very Maiden-like in its scope. It must be said that vocalist/guitarist Bill Beadle doesn’t have the range of Bruce Dickinson but his singing fits perfectly with the band and adds real character to the Sacrilege sound. Second track, ‘Lies’ ups the ante on the drama and the band really take off for the title track of the album, the drums and bass of Neil Turnbull and Jeff Roland respectively being up in the mix, happily displaying the strength of a classic uncluttered three piece. It’s indeed a powerful number with a maelstrom of guitar and maniacal laughter at the end, showing the grasp of both narrative and musical punch.

‘Depression’ rips along like the best of Judas Priest and that theme is continued on ‘No Bequeath’ with its long instrumental passage and metallic edge. It’s not all balls out hard rocking as ‘The Prophet’ shows more light and shade, a much more melodic start giving way to an epic rampaging riff and some great fret burning by Beadle. The band seem to be very much aware of their heritage whilst pushing forward and broadening their ambitions on the album, a definite feeling of both old and new mixed in that will appeal to both the younger and older fans. Whilst the production and dramatic passages do seem at times very much harking back to the early 80’s, perhaps showing that there isn’t a multi-million-pound .budget behind them, this adds to the charm and authenticity of the album and is bound to bring a smile.

‘Unhinged Mind’ has much to enjoy about it and is another epic that sees the band let loose, not constrained by the need to just rush through tracks with indecent haste. ‘I Can Hear the Silence’ turns up the heat once more and is full of British Steel whilst album closer ‘Ride Free’ has lyrical and vocal flashes of The Who whilst having the gnarly heaviness that approaches Motörhead. A very fine way to finish and overall the album is a good reminder for those around at the birth of the NWOBHM and a pointer for a younger generation wanting to explore the thrill of something they missed at the time but is still very much worth supporting today.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Celestial City
02. Lies
03. The Court Of The Insane
04. Bring Out Your Dead
05. Depression
06. No Bequeath
07. The Prophet
08. Unhinged Mind
09. I Can Hear The Silence
10. Ride Free

LINKS:
http://www.sacrilegenwobhm.com
https://www.facebook.com/Sacrilegerock/
https://www.instagram.com/billsacrilege/

 

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse 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.

EMQ’s with SACRILEGE

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EMQ’s with SACRILEGE

Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with UK NWOBHM / Heavy Rock band Sacrilege! Huge thanks to vocalist/guitarist Bill Beadle 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?

Hi I’m Bill Beadle and I’m singer/songwriter/guitarist for heavy rock band Sacrilege who I formed in 1981/82. We were then billed as best new band of 1983 and appeared on the 6th episode of the David Jensen Rock Shows TV series, which also featured U2 and The Stranglers alongside Sacrilege that week. I kept Sacrilege playing live up until 1987 when I then decided to stop playing, I reformed the band and we played our first comeback gig in October 2012.

How did you come up with your band name?

At the time I was going to call us Blizzard. I’m a massive Sabbath fan but coincidently Ozzy returned with his new band calling themselves Blizzard of Ozz so I had to find a different name. While watching a film one night called ‘Demetrius and the Gladiators’ the star (Victor Mature) saw these dead gladiators being thrown into a massive pit, he shouts out ‘That’s Sacrilege’ so that was it.

What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are from the UK and the metal scene, in fact music scene, isn’t doing so well unless you are a covers or tribute band it seems! There are some great original bands out there not getting a chance so we are pleased to have our loyal support.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)

“The Court Of The Insane”, our new album, which is on the Pure Steel record label and is due out on 2nd August this year (2019)!

Who have been your greatest influences?

Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and in the last 10 years Nightwish!

What first got you into music?

Those bands I mentioned but primarily Black Sabbath. When they seemed to be finishing with Ozzy leaving I thought I’d see if I could write and form a band, this I did and now seven albums later I’m still writing and playing even if I did have a long break in-between. You can hear my influences in the Sacrilege tracks.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Tony Iommi, no doubt there!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

The old Castle Donnington ‘Monsters Of Rock’ which is now Download Festival. I’ve been to see many of my favourite bands there and always wanted to play rather than watch but they seem to have changed the genre of bands that play so in this country it would be Bloodstock or abroad Wacken.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

A very shy girl once got her friend to come over to speak to me! She said her friend liked me very much but didn’t have the courage to come over to talk so she wanted me to have this, it was a picture of her friend naked, I thought not that shy then? Haha!!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thanks for all your support and please tell you friends about how much you enjoyed our music and stage show. The support and messages we receive are all very special and we wouldn’t be playing without you.

If you could bring one metal/rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

That’s a hard question we have lost so many great artists and characters! Lemmy Probably closely followed by Dio, Phil Lynott and Gary Moore.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Seeing the smiles and enjoyment on people’s faces from the stage then talking to them after the show. I hate being let down by people which happens a lot in this business.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

More venues opening rather than closing and the music industry could help with that.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Studio album then Black Sabbath’s “Vol 4” but live album it would be “Unleashed In The East” by Judas Priest!

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Always loved Vinyl when I was younger and if we went back to those days I’d be happy!

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

The best gig is a very hard question as playing on a big stage where we can let off our Pyros and put a full stage show on is hard to beat but we played in Cambridge at the Melbourn Rock Club recently and the support and reaction from the crowd was very special. We also did a show in Hamburg last month and, again, from a crowd that didn’t know us the reaction was brilliant, so those two were very special but overall I’d have to go for the Malta Metal Festival. We were made to feel so welcome, the crowd was great and we made many many friends there!

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I’d always be a musician it would just depend on what scale, either that or drive a train or something.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Doro, Floor Jansen, Charlotte Wessels and Tarja plus a referee haha!!

What’s next for the band?

We have just had Paul Macnamara (Guitarist) join us permanently so we want to really tour with the new album and play as many places as possible improving our stage show and then start recording album number eight.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

We use the normal sites Facebook, Twitter, Reverbnation, Instagram and our own webpage plus YouTube!
https://www.facebook.com/Sacrilegerock/
https://twitter.com/BillSacrilege
https://www.reverbnation.com/sacrilege
https://www.instagram.com/sacrilegenwobhm/
http://www.sacrilegenwobhm.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCytK8ge7u4R67JdXduLaxpA

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

That’s the best question of the interview haha! Cake it’s in the name!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

A special thanks to my band mates Neil Turnbull, Jeff Rolland, Paul Macnamara and Road Manager Richard Ellender, we all work to put the best show on and it’s a pleasure having these guys as friends and band mates.

 

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, 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.

Praying Mantis – Gravity

Gravity Cover

Praying Mantis – Gravity
Frontiers Music
Running Time: 58:00
Release Date: 11/05/2018
Review by Chris White
5/10

Praying Mantis are, by all accounts (ok, their PR Company’s account), one of the most influential bands from the NWOBHM period! I’m geared up for tight leather trousers, warbling vocals and twin guitar harmonies, colliding with big, thunderous bass riffs.

This record is also featuring a new vocalist and drummer in conjunction with the original members, so it seems that the band have achieved a good level of momentum since their last release in 2015.

In kicks the first song, ‘Keep It Alive’ and all is not going to plan. Heavy layered vocal harmonies guide us into a forgettable verse and an improved chorus that at least has a slightly catchy feel to it. My first impression is that the singer is trying too hard to outperform Graham Bonnet in the ‘louder and higher’ singing repertoire, but at least he sounds like he is having fun.

The second track, ‘Mantis Anthem’, features a retro Bontempi-sounding intro and as things go on, I wonder if this is more AOR than NWOBHM? It sounds a bit desperate as it goes on. Anthems are about waving that lighter in the air at the live gig, but I fear that if you were waving a cigarette lighter in the crowd to this song, you would most likely suffer narcolepsy and accidentally set fire to yourself.

Without wishing to dissect each song individually from here on in, my notes contain phrases such as ‘a bit like a testicle-equipped version of Vixen without the Richard Marx songs’, ‘plods along a bit’ and ‘acoustic guitar with yet more full-on helium fuelled singing’.

Finally, the album finished with the song ‘Final Destination’, complete with a wailed “dessssssteena-shunnnnnnnn” outburst from the vocalist, as if to prove a point. The point was clearly that after 5 minutes 16 seconds, it made me wish I was heading towards my final destination as well.

TRACKLISTING:
01 Keep It Alive
02 Mantis Anthem
03 Time Can Heal
04 39 Years
05 Gravity
06 Ghosts Of The Past
07 Destiny In Motion
08 The Last Summer
09 Foreign Affair
10 Shadow Of Love
11 Final Destination

LINKS:
http://www.prayingmantis.rocks/
https://www.facebook.com/PrayingMantisUKRockMetal/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9mgPe1jTBoyfVZs2wRidsQ

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris White 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.

Satan – Cruel Magic

 

cruel magic cover

Satan – Cruel Magic
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 07/09/2018
Running Time: 49:42
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

With a debut album released back in 1983, it was only after Satan’s 2011 reunion that the quintet started becoming relatively prolific as a recording band. Truth be told, Satan have been fairly consistent in the quality of their material, a fact complemented by a reputation for impressive live shows. With this “Cruel Magic”, the band notches 5 albums and therein lies the band’s dilemma: how do they retain the style that has gained them fame and admiration while not stagnating?

For a start the band has gone for a rawer, more ‘live’ sound. Regarding this aspiration, I read somewhere that in the recording studio they tried to resist the temptation to make too many takes, even if that meant leaving individual mistakes in the final product. And I have to say that’s certainly the impression I got from listening to the album. Rather than put me off, this approach was a masterstroke – it somehow gives the songs more appeal, makes them feel more genuine, more intuitive.

But the biggest achievement of “Cruel Magic” is that none of the songs feel boring and yet you know that they can only come from Satan. This is all down to the excellence of the songwriting. The riffs and vocals phrasings of ‘Into The Mouth of Eternity’ remind us that Metallica were one of the many bands influenced by Satan. ‘Ophidian’ is destined to be a classic in Satan’s repertoire. Besides having some blistering guitar solos ‘Legions Hellbound’ is notable for the smooth way the songs shifts from/to mellow and heavy parts.

I loved the guitar harmonies of ‘The Doomsday Clock’, a song about impending doom. ‘Ghosts Of Monongah’ is about the West Virginia mining tragedy of 1907 while in ‘Who Among Us’ Satan rise to the defence of Jesus Christ’s messages. You can see that even thematically, “Cruel Magic” is diverse, even though the songs seem to have a common thread of a foreboding doom. Suitably enough, the album ends with ‘Mortality’, a song where Satan play around with atmospheres and guitar sounds with interesting results.

Spot-on drumming, great melodies, inspired guitar solos, excellent songwriting….what more can one hope for? This is an album that I am liking more and more with each listen.

I’m generally hesitant to give full marks ratings but “Cruel Magic” is the archetype of all that is great about Heavy Metal.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Into The Mouth of Eternity
2. Cruel Magic
3. The Doomsday Clock
4. Legions Hellbound
5. Ophidian
6. My Prophetic Soul
7. Death Knell For A King
8. Who Among Us
9. Ghosts Of Monongah
10. Mortality

LINE-UP:
Brian Ross – vocals
Russ Tippins – guitars
Steve Ramsey – guitars
Graeme English – bass
Sean Taylor – drums

LINKS:
http://www.satanmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/officialsatanpage

https://satanuk.bandcamp.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuLTFfi-peM ‘The Doomsday Clock’ (Official Video)

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

Airforce, The Cart & Horses, London, 27/10/2018

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Airforce
The Cart & Horses, London
27th October, 2018
Review and Pictures by Chris Galea

I’m sure that, to some degree, the symbolic meaning of tonight’s gig fuelled the pervasive fervor. And that symbolic meaning had something to do with Iron Maiden.

Doug Sampson, drummer of Airforce, performed with Iron Maiden at the ‘Cart & Horses’ at a time when that band was starting to assert its dominance over the Metal scene. Here was where Iron Maiden played their very first gigs, something that was probably convenient for Steve Harris as he lived just up the road from here. Besides that, Iron Maiden used to rehearse about 5 minutes’ drive from this pub. Chop Pitman and Tony Hatton, respectively Airforce’s guitarist and bassist, remember the first Maiden gig well as they were there (or should I say ‘here’).

This area of NE London is also home of the West Ham football team (from whom Iron Maiden adopted the ‘Up The Hammers’ battlecry). Tonight West Ham were playing away – this meant the ‘Cart & Horses’ was already thronging with punters by the time Airforce started assembling their gear. The fact that this was Halloween night added a further element of fun to the ambience with many attendees dressed in gory costumes and fake blood (yes, there was also someone dressed as Eddie, Iron Maiden’s mascot).

That might have been a long-winded way to put tonight’s show in context but it hopefully helped you, the reader, seep in the atmosphere before the air-raid siren sounded and Airforce finally hit the stage…..

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All the four band members wasted no time in immersing themselves into the performance, especially bass player Tony Hatton. On lead vocals was Italian national Ivan Giannini, who has joined Airforce only recently. Previous singer Dilian Arnaudov had to return to his native Bulgaria due to personal matters. Ivan proved to be an incredibly good singer with a phenomenal set of pipes.

On the subject of singers, Dilian’s singing with Airforce is rougher around the edges whereas Ivan’s voice is much more melodic. So for better or for worse, Airforce’s music changes depending on who of the two is singing. At this juncture the band needs to decide which of the two roads to take. But I’ve digressed…

Mid-way through the set Chop started a song with a riff that made me think he was ripping off Accept’s ‘Princess Of The Dawn’. After a few moments, I told myself, “Hold on, this IS ‘Princess Of The Dawn!”. A surprising choice of song to cover but, if I may speculate, perhaps we can take it as an indication of what sound Airforce is going for. That’s a heartening thought. An even odder cover was ‘Eleanor Rigby’ of The Beatles. But luckily both Accept and The Beatles are bands I love so I wasn’t one to complain.

Most of the original songs performed I was hearing for the first time. And what I heard were songs that were lively, mean-spirited and exciting and to be honest I enjoyed them all. Judging from the crowd’s involvement, ‘Finest Hour’ and ‘Sniper’ went down particularly well, in part thanks to the video clips of those songs that were released recently. ‘Life Turns To Dust’ – a catchy mid-tempo song with some cool melodies – also found its way into the set. ‘The Reaper’ was a new song and one which I immediately took a liking to. Finally the band rounded off their triumphant performance with a cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Breaking The Law’.

Special credit must go to Ivan for learning the Airforce songs at very short notice. He hardly spoke except of course to sing and most of the crowd banter was left to Chop. That was perfectly understandable but still I think it would have looked better if the Italian were more loquacious.

From the currently active musicians with roots in the NWOBHM, Airforce are one of the bands I am liking most these days – they seem to be one of the few bands of the NWOBHM generation that I feel are coming up with quality material that hasn’t mellowed too much with time. On top of that, as evidenced by tonight’s performance, the delivery of that material is dynamic and convincing.

So although the band’s future is not yet written in stone, tonight I sensed some very promising signs. The diversely composed audience of the ‘Cart & Horses’ would probably second me on that.

Setlist:
Fight
Life Turns To Dust
War Games
Fine Line
The Reaper
Heroes
Son Of The Damned
Faith Healer/Princess Of The Dawn
Lost Forever
Finest Hour
Band Of Brothers
Why Has It Come To This?
Sniper
Eleanor Rigby
We Wanna Rock
Breaking The Law

Links:
https://www.airforceuk.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/chop.airforce/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=TN01fGFRnF4 (‘Sniper’ Official Video)

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.