Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with West Midlands based Rock/Metal band Sister Shotgun. 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?
My name is Niall Wills, I play guitar and scream for Sister Shotgun. The band started due to a house party I had in Kidderminster, England. I had been studying music technology in college and befriended people studying music tech/music performance, I filled a tiny one bedroom house with about 50 to 60 teenage musicians. Chloe (vocalist), being one of those people had invited some of her friends along and they had noticed my guitars all piled up in the corner of the room. They had played in various Blues Rock/Hair Metal style bands and wanted to get a new band together, therefore I joined them in the making of a band starting with a bunch of covers that would later become Sister Shotgun. During this time Chloe was singing for a Pop Punk band and a wedding band and solo projects, we had the core members but no vocalist. We found a male singer we were digging and he was prepared to join but ended up getting to the finals of the TV competition “The Voice” so that fell through. Chloe ended up leaving her Pop Punk project and convinced us she should join as she was the best vocalist in the area. We picked her up and it worked so she began our journey. It took us a while to grasp those vital members which brings us to the present day with the best line up yet. These guys have the best creative minds I know.
How did you come up with your band name?
Chloe came up with the band name. She had a working title of a project called Sister Shotgun as a sort of alter ego character she had created. I believe she took the phrase from Billy Idol’s ‘White Wedding’ however it wouldn’t influence the bands styling! We dug the simplicity of the name and the clash of words; the innocence of the word Sister and the aggressiveness of the word Shotgun, we tried to think of others but it was the easiest and catchiest name.
What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?
We are from England, United Kingdom There is so much Metal in this country it’s kind of just sewn into our genes, however the metal scene varies. a lot of bands have gravitated toward the American Rock sound with Country/Blues tones to their music so the Metal scene has shrunk a little however, the ones that have stuck around and grown are some of the most creative Metal bands I’ve heard in a while.
What is your latest release (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our latest single is ‘Sacred Heart’ and our album “Fragments” was released on April 19th.
Who have been your greatest influences?
This is where it gets harder, We are five different people with different tastes and influences so we gather them together and we influence each other! Some that are mutual are Killswitch Engage and Bullet For My Valentine, then personally it goes from My Chemical Romance and Mötley Crüe to Korn and Machine head for all our own reasons.
What first got you into music?
I grew up with a father who was very into his music, he had guitars and he had drums often in the living room so when I’d stay over I couldn’t help myself but to strum the strings on every guitar every time I walked past and the excitement around music from him was built inside me. I was very much into art as a kid so it was easily transferred into music.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
All in all someone like Rob Zombie or Johnny Rotten would be incredible and not a generic collab but I’d absolutely love to pick someone a bit off the wall, throw a spanner in the works and turn some heads so I think I’d shove someone like Morrissey on a Metal track and with his lyrical content that would be interesting.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
The obvious answer being Download Festival, Hellfest, Wacken! However, also Shiprocked!, a cruise and a massive beach party with metal! That beats a muddy festival easy plus they have some really cool bands play!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
We haven’t really been given anything weird as far as I know, We’ve had fans bake cakes and cupcakes for us.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
With all the obstacles that have been in our path over the past so many years as a band, you the fans are what kept us fighting and kept us writing and kept us on the road and this album is for you. The ones that listen, that scream back in our faces, those familiar faces we see at shows far from their own homes, you travel the distance for us and well go the distance for you, thank you!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
I’m gonna say Kurt Cobain or Dimebag Darrell so I could at least see Nirvana or Pantera as they’re some of my favourite bands that I never got to see.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Everything involving the creative side, just making music is an amazing experience starting from a small riff or progression then you build it, play it, perform it, record it and it becomes its own beast kind of like raising a child and then having fans sing it back to you and the sound and feeling I get of loud live guitars fills my soul with excitement and energy! I hate the amount of rip off merchants and egotistical personalities that are flying around. Everyone wants to overcharge or take all your money for services and try not to pay you or pay you naff all for maximum effort like we did in the beginning. It took a lot of time, effort and money to play shows for free and watch a promoter walk away with all the money in their fancy cars. I dislike the egos from some musicians they think the world owes them something because they can sing or play guitar like everybody else and this happens with small time bands too.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
To turn back the clock back to 80’s/90’s when the industry actually signed bands and put money into them to progress them and truly scouted talent rather than how many likes do they have on Facebook? Or how much money do they have to buy onto this tour? Or how popular of a person is the lead singer, so in essence Social Media. I’d wipe that out of existence and let the live shows and the music do the talking… not the numbers!
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“The Poison” by Bullet For My Valentine. Their riffs where unique and songs where so creative and the guitar playing was by far their best. It was aggressive, melodic, catchy as hell and something new out of Metal rather than the ‘let’s copy Metallica’ route!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Vinyl, especially the old ones, as it’s all analog and pure but it’s mainly because when you purchase it’s a real physical thing. That’s what I don’t like about downloads, you don’t get a nice big piece of artwork with a bunch of lyrics that you can read and with CD’s the lyrics are crammed in and you can barely read it. You can hang a vinyl on your wall you have the art and a physical thing for your money!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
There have been quite a few lately down to the hype the crowd have given us singing at the top of their lungs. I loved playing a festival called FortFest because we pulled out all the stops. We had roadies moving our stuff, we brought in some fire performers that breathed fire and used angle grinders on stage; that was our coolest gig. It wasn’t the liveliest crowd as it was a brand new festival and we were very fresh as a band back then but it was fun watching the lighting guy fear for his life as he was showered in metal shards!
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I’d more than likely have chosen a career being a tattoo artist. I’ve always loved art and I could draw a car and its engine parts before I could even write my own name properly and I had a huge interest in tattoo artistry in my school days but music just took over!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
I’d have to have an outrageous dinner party full of characters so I’d probably pick Ozzy Osbourne, David lee Roth, Devin Townsend, Abbath and someone like Donald Trump. That would be one entertaining night, it would be chaos, exactly how a dinner party should be.
What’s next for the band?
We’re looking at a “Fragments” headline tour followed by some festival dates, some high profiles support slots and a bunch of other fun stuff we’ve got planned… the fun doesn’t stop at album release!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
The usual suspects Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and we have a Bandcamp site also. With Instagram we give a lot more insight into our goings on such as backstage stuff. https://www.facebook.com/SisterShotgun/ https://www.instagram.com/sistershotgunuk/
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Fun fact; whilst recording the album there was an offer on for Jaffa cakes a triple pack for a pound I believe and Benji (guitarist) bought a pack a day (for 7 days) he’s dangerously addicted to jaffas, a bit of a ‘jaffajunky’, on that note it is a cake disguised as a biscuit it’s a clever ploy it appeals to both markets but were not fooled it’s a cake.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
For those who aren’t familiar with us and are new to Sister Shotgun give new album “Fragments” a blast. It’s an amalgamation of the edges of the Metal and Rock genres not treated like a ‘female fronted’ band. Every song on this album has something different to offer, you may not like one song but you’ll find another on this record!
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.
Shallow Side – Saints & Sinners Thermal Entertainment LLC Release Date: 29/03/2019 Running Time: 35:09 Review by Stephanie Stevens 8/10
Rick here – As I was getting ready to send this over for publication it became apparent that the album, which had been on all the major streaming/download sites was being recalled. Shallow Side have made an announcement on Facebook Live that some things are happening behind the scenes which necessitates the recall. I’m not going to speculate on what is happening, but you may not be able to buy or stream the album by the time this review goes live. Keep an eye on Shallow Side’s social media links for updates!
Shallow Side caught my attention back in 2016 when they won best new artist by Loudwire. The band comes from Alabama and consists of a bunch of musicians who have the passion, love and dedication to write, record and create a dynamic show for their fans. Just from following them it’s easy to see they care and appreciate everyone that supports and enjoys the rock music they love making.
The addiction I have to songs like ‘Can You Hear Me’, ‘Try To Fight It’ and their cover of ‘Renegade’ by Styx has made me a huge fan and I was overly excited to finally enjoy new music when Shallow Side’s latest album “Saints & Sinners” landed in my mailbox.
One thing is for sure, these guys have grown immensely and it showcases depth and an overall sense of the band edging towards their ultimate sound just with one listen to this new disc.
Shallow Side begin the album with a song call ‘Revival’ that is jaw dropping and refreshing to hear from them. That old-school down south rock vibe jabs you right from the beginning. That low bass vocal just grabs you. It is potent and shows they can get down ‘n’ dirty when needed and I think an opener like this just breathes new light for the fans of this band.
The title track continues the Southern Rock feel and just oozes with melodic beauty and good n lively rock attitude.
‘Sound The Alarm’, the band’s first single, is sassy, sultry and wins you over with charm. You will be addicted to the melodic driven antics of this track!
‘Temptations’ is soulful and the playful vocal pattern just takes this track to new heights. I knew vocalist Eric Boatright had depth and talent but on this song he showcases diversity and perfection throughout.
‘No More’ is guitar sass! It’s pumped with hard rock grit and at times pulled me back into an 80’s soundscape but then bungees you back into the modern rock world. I love the energy and the playfulness from the musical ambience and vocal patterns.
‘Not Alone’ gives me piano and a voice. With these you have the beauty in a ballad and Shallow Side have hit a homerun with this. Delicate and pretty with an air of soft rock ambience. Two thumbs up for this you southern gentleman.
Lastly, my favourite song off this album is called ‘Hallelujah’. You want attitude? You want Rock ‘n’ Roll creativity? You want stripped down Rock? Do you need melody that drives you to get up and move? This song is just a straight forward beautiful ball of ‘fuck ya’!! Words don’t do it enough justice; you just gotta hit play and feel it in your soul.
Shallow Side IS Rock ‘n’ Roll! They are a band that leaves their hearts on the stage every night, writes real music with real meaning and just encompasses the future of Rock.
02. Saints & Sinners
03. Sound The Alarm
07. No More
08. All Rise
09. Not Alone
10. Carry On
https://www.facebook.com/ShallowSideBand/ Tweets by shallowsideband
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens 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.
Pelugion – I Self-Released Release Date: 04/08/2018 Running Time: 37:26 Review by Dawn King 9/10
On 27th July 2018, Ever Metal had the privilege and the honour to premier Pelugion’s video for the track ‘Bane Of Humanity’ and now we are proud to review their debut EP “I”.
Pelugion are a three-piece rock/metal outfit from Coventry, England and the trio, Andy Sweeney, John Pittaway and Brandon Balou, first met at college in September 2012 while they were studying music performance. They started off by doing Black Sabbath and Metallica covers at college gigs, but once the college days were over, they found new rehearsal rooms and wrote their first original track.
It was then that Pelugion was born!
The threesome gigged heavily around England, they won a slot playing the Godiva Festival, which is the UK’s biggest free family festival, and signed a management deal with FATangel Management and PR, as well as releasing a music video for the track ‘Serpent’s Mistress’. This extensive gigging gained them recognition for their energetic performances and massive sound.
In 2016, they released the song ‘Bide My Time’, which was produced, mixed and mastered at Woodworm Studio by Mike Exeter, who has worked with legends such as Black Sabbath, Dio and Judas Priest, and this grabbed the attention of Wildfire Festival in Scotland, where they performed later that year.
2017 was a busy year for them. They played the sold-out HRH Metal at the O2 Academy in Birmingham, were a special guest performer at the Mosh Against Cancer in Coventry, performed their first acoustic set at Uprising Festival in Leicester (which we also had the pleasure of reviewing) and embarked on a tour with Welsh heavyweights, Lifer!
2018 saw them head back to Wales for the popular Dementia Aware Fest and they once again appeared on the bill at Uprising. They also gained a spot at Bloodstock Festival in Derby after winning the Coventry Metal 2 The Masses and receiving worldwide radio airplay is helping them on their way to becoming an international band!
So, what of this fantastic EP? Well, I think I just said it. It’s fantastic! From the opening basslines of first track ‘Monster’ I knew this was going to be a killer EP. With influences such as Black Sabbath, Metallica, Megadeth, Soundgarden, Alterbridge, Black Label Society, Kyuss and Down, they have added their own unique twist on things to produce what can only be described as a stonking sound. Heavy, sometimes sludgy yet melodic and upbeat, if this EP doesn’t have you banging your head and throwing the horns then nothing will.
The EP is a collection of the band’s recordings to date, put together over a period of three years! Some of it has never been heard before, while some of it had only been available on digital format, but now for the first time it has all come together on CD, and really is a must for fans old and new.
This has everything a great EP should. Groove-laden, chunky riffs, melodic, powerful vocals with just the right amount of grit, funky bass lines and frantic drumming. Pelugion can seemingly turn their hand to anything, from the slow-tempo Sabbathesque type tracks to speedy and more thrash numbers.
We recently set up a page on the Ever Metal site showcasing bands we support and Pelugion were one of the first to be added to the list. This was due to their extreme capabilities, talent and hardworking ethic.
It may have taken three years to get this EP out, but if this is an indication of what is to come from this group of lads, then we all should be very excited about the future of metal.
Just don’t let it take three years for the follow up!
2. Bide My Time
4. Bane Of Humanity
6. Bury Me
7. Serpent’s Mistress
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Charming Liars – Thought, Flesh & Bone Chartmaker Inc. (CDF) Release Date: 01/03/2019 Running Time: 34:05 Review by Stephanie Stevens 8/10
When music catches your ear certain things stand out that make you intrigued. For me, an alluring and satisfying vocalist that has an interesting flair sets my heart ablaze. If you then add passionate lyrics you have me sold.
Charming Liars were first introduced to me on a Spotify playlist. The bands single ‘Soul’ played and within the first 30 seconds the voice had me hooked. The words being sung and that soothing and beautiful vocal pattern made me want to know more. Then the chorus just explodes and wants to showcase a positive and inviting happiness, one that we are all losing in this day and age. Once that song had played out it was easy for me to follow the London and now Los Angeles based band Charming Liars.
The band set out to release single songs over the past year but with “Thought, Flesh & Bone; they have collected and integrated all those singles and some new tracks into a powerful Alternative, Pop, Rock, Electronic piece of artistry.
‘Like A Drug is probably my second favourite track because, yet again, the voice of Kiliyan Maguire just engulfs your soul. This track is more daring, seductive and alluring but the song overall is just catchy as hell, moody and intriguing.
‘Ocean’ delves into a more dance electric type ambience. It has higher energy, is real poppy and also a fun song. ‘Spiral Out’ keeps with the more techy electronic engagement but, very definitely has a rock sounding backbone keeping the song protected and multi levelled.
‘Deeper’ is just captivating and, once again showcases the vocal side of things.
Novacaine’ has the flair of 90’s soundscapes but then slowly segues into a more melodic, sweet style track with a lullaby like feeling.
‘Insomnia’ is purely fascinating from its combo of rock and synth like pop flair but, yet again, showcases that voice which is just so smooth and captivating. ‘Something Dark’ is a force of nature. I’m not sure how to explain the alluring qualities of the mood shifts on this track. It might just be a case of clicking the button to listen because it has me hooked.
All in all if you love the feeling of eclectic sounds with uplifting pop elements and alternative rock roots which make it all come together like perfection then “Thought, Flesh & Bone” is the album for you and Charming Liars the band for you.
02 Like A Drug
04 Something Dark
07 Running Away
09 Spiral Out
10 Time To Start
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens 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.
Johnny Gioeli- One Voice Frontiers Music Running Time: 40:25 Release Date 07/12/2018 Review by Tsarina Wilson 8.5/10
On hearing the first track of “One Voice” I thought I had pressed play on a Jon Bon Jovi track by accident. I checked but it was definitely Johnny Gioeli, so I carried on and just had to listen to it all.
Johnny has been around the music industry for a few years (25 I think, sorry Johnny) but his sound is so fresh and new-sounding. Johnny has been in Hardline, Crush 40 and played with Axel Rudi Pell but he decided it was now time to do something on his own.
Ok, he is not totally on his own as his band consists of himself on vocals, Eric Gadrix on guitars, Nik Mazzucconi on bass, Marco Di Salvia on drums and Alessandro Del Vecchio on keyboards. But Johnny woke up one day and thought “I just wanna do this, I’ve always been so faithful to the groups I’m in and I remain that way, but I just thought it was time to do something on my own and see how it goes, for the creativity and the freedom to express myself.” “One Voice” is the outcome and we are very grateful he decided to do it.
A big portion of the money raised for this album, through a crowd funding campaign, is going directly to help a young man named Joe Barber. Joe needs help to recover from an accident last year that left him paralyzed, and if I didn’t like Johnny already because of his sound, I like him even more now. I am humbled by this action and he has my total respect.
This whole album has a feelgood factor from the first track to the last. It’s rare you get a whole album that you can dance around to, yet chill to at the same time but this one is that album. It gives you guitar rock with some pop undertones, along with some great melodic rock.
The track ‘Deeper’ is a softer ballad but it still has that rock hint to it and ‘Let Me Know’ has a chorus that you just have to sing along too. Mind you, that’s pretty much the whole album! It has an up-lifting vibe all the way through. Its solid rock songs which Johnny’s voice easily adapts to, from the rockiest tracks to the ballads.
But also, let’s not take anything away from the guys he has with him. They are a great band which compliment him so well. There is a drum beat that has your foot tapping more than once, especially on ‘Hit Me Once, I’ll Hit Ya Twice’ and guitar solos which just melt you! What more could you ask for?
The emotional ride on this album is one that takes you from totally bouncing around to back down to earth with gripping ballads like ‘Price We Pay’, and with lines like “how much is life gonna cost you” it is talking about the fictional lives people live these days, which get you nowhere in the end.
Johnny has an amazing knack of writing catchy songs, whether this is a fast rock track, or a heartfelt ballad and these songs will get stuck in your head. It’s rare that someone is the whole package, to be writing such great tracks and sounding so good singing them too, but this album proves it can be done.
It’s a solid album of pure rock songs, heart-warming lyrics but delivered with a rocky punch. If this is the first solo album I am genuinely hoping there will be more to come.
3- One Voice
7-Let Me Know
8-Hit Me Once, Hit Ya Twice
9-Price We Pay
10-Out Of Here
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.
Party Of The Sin – Party Of The Sin Independent Release Date: 2017 Running Time: 49:46 Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King 9/10
Before I crack on with the review of this album, I would just like to thank the band for their amazing patience in waiting for this. At Ever Metal, we receive hundreds of albums to review and, still only being quite small, we cannot review everything. That being said, we promised these guys we would take a listen to their album and we always try to deliver on our promises.
I received the album a good few weeks ago but, due to personal circumstances and illness, it took me a while to get around to actually listening to it. And boy, should I have done it sooner!
Party Of The Sin are a Chilean band from Santiago and, to be honest, that is about the extent of my knowledge of them. I spent ages scouring the internet looking for information and there really is not much to find! Is this a band who like to keep themselves to themselves or are they SO new, that even the internet doesn’t know much about them? Whichever is the case, this is a band who should be promoting themselves EVERYWHERE and getting their name out to the many people who have yet to hear about them.
From the very first track, single ‘Explode’ I loved this album, and near on two weeks in my car is testament to that. Their Facebook page states they are “psychedelic Anglo rock” but this is not something I would necessarily agree with. Why we are still in an age where we must categorise and pigeon-hole music I don’t know, but seeing as we are, I really don’t know where they would be placed on the rock / metal spectrum.
At first, they come across as a rock band, in the vein of Def Leppard or Inglorious or Alterbridge. But after a while, you can also hear a hint of grunge creeping in. I was big into the grunge era in the early 90’s, and I can definitely hear influences from bands such as Pearl Jam, who were one of my favourites. Whether this was done deliberately I don’t know but it seems to work.
This is a band who are full of talent and really should be heard by a lot more people, which is where me and my review come in! If I can turn one more person onto their music, then I have done my job!
The band is made up of four guys and they are shown on their Facebook in the following manner: Crazy Drums – Pablo Stagnaro, Groovy Bass Guitar – Zack Arnstein, Magic Lead Guitar – Fernando Cordero and Emotional Vocals – Gabriel Sara, and I can’t personally think of a better way to describe them! Each one has something unique to bring to the table and together they mix extremely well, almost sounding as if they have been playing together for many years.
The album has a bit of a feel-good vibe to it. In terms of originality it doesn‘t bring anything new and much of it has, and to coin an over-used phrase, already “been done before!” BUT how many bands these days actually come up with anything totally original. These guys play great music, and they love what they do! They are passionate, ambitious and, above all, they believe in themselves! In this day and age, with too many bands being shot down before they have even started, to see a band who believe in what they can do, and seemingly not giving a stuff what anyone else thinks, is great.
Right from the offset, I was always going to give this album an 8 out of 10. I love the mix of rock songs with the more ballady types (I’ve always been a sucker for a ballad) and there really is not a bad song on the album (again, I know that is probably another over-used cliché.) Stand out songs for me also happen to be the singles released, ‘Another Sun’, ‘Explode’ and my absolute favourite on the album ‘My Head.’
But, after a few run throughs though, I changed this to a 9 out of 10. I loved it right from the start, but it grew on me a LOT more too, and no doubt, it might have even made its way up to nearly a 10 (and I don’t give those out that often!)
If you have never heard of these guys before, please go out and give this an album a listen. You will not be disappointed!
02 She Stole
03 My Head
04 One Way Love
05 Another Sun (Short Version)
07 Live Forever
09 Streets Of Man
11 Another Sun
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Airrace – Untold Stories Frontiers Music srl Release Date: 10/08/2018 Running Time: 44:04 Review by Chris Galea 9/10
Although over the years the band has been active intermittently, the roots of Airrace go back quite a while. The band was formed around 1982 by Laurie Mansworth, former guitarist of More (who incidentally are expected to release a comeback album this year). Airrace was also the first recording band of Jason Bonham, son of John…late Led Zeppelin drummer. Although Jason has long since left Airrace, some elements of Led Zeppelin’s music still find their way into this album. For example the riff from ‘Different But The Same’ is strongly reminiscent of Zep’s ‘Black Dog’.
Pop music, Rock and Blues all blend together with excellent results. ‘Summer Rain’ has some choir vocals that work particularly well with the song. ‘Innocent’ struck me as a song Mr Big might have recorded. ‘Here it Comes’ is an infectious mood-brightener. You get the idea. Sharp musicianship all around but all band members are serving the song…and playing those very songs with a vibrant passion.
So don’t expect originality with “Untold Stories” but do expect finely crafted songs with a plentiful supply of hooks. I’m surprised it took me so long to notice this band.
1. Running Out Of Time
3. Eyes Like Ice
4. Different But The Same
5. New Skin
7. Love Is Love
8. Men From The Boys
9. Summer Rain
10. Come With Us
11. Here It Comes
Adam Payne – vocals
Laurie Mansworth – guitar
Rocky Newton – bass
Dhani Mansworth- drums
Linda Kelsey Foster- keys
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrqKcEj9w7E (‘Eyes Like Ice’ – Official Lyric Video)
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.
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! Links:
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.
Shrapnel & Therapy? Photographs courtesy of Sian Irvine Photography https://www.facebook.com/siankirairvinephotography/
All other photos courtesy of Beth Jones https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/
Master Charger Release New Music Video ‘One For Sorrow’ Premiered On Ever Metal! Master Charger – ‘One For Sorrow’ Single/Video Release Date 13/08/2018
In May 2018 Left For Red and Master Charger announced that they will be releasing a split vinyl, which will include two previously unreleased Left For Red tracks and two previously unreleased Master Charger tracks. In order to promote the upcoming release Master Charger have released their brand new music video for the title track of their side of the vinyl ‘One For Sorrow’ and it is exclusively, and proudly, premiered today on Ever Metal!
Master Charger – One For Sorrow (Video Link)
Hailing from the blackest heart of Nottinghamshire three-piece Rock / Doom, Sludge Metal outfit Master Charger formed in 2006 from the ashes of previous semi successful bands. Master Charger have since played live across the UK, touring and playing festivals to large audiences and building up their fan base. At the latter end of 2017, Master Charger signed to FATangel Management and are set to release their “One For Sorrow” EP in 2018 under FATangel Records. This will see the band return to their original form but with an even heavier sound than before. The band will continue to bludgeon people live with their primitive thick wall of riffs and thunderous rhythm section as they continue to play more dates across the UK including a few more festival appearances.
One For Sorrow was recorded, mixed and mastered by Mike Ranzetta of The Minotaur’s Lair and the music video was directed and edited by Jay Hillyer of Jay H Filmmaker.
A quote from John James, lead singer and guitarist of Master Charger:
“Master Charger are chuffed to bring you our new video for our brand new single entitled ‘One For Sorrow’ and we are absolutely thrilled how it turned out. It’s huge thanks to Jay Hillyer and all involved who made the video what it is. One For Sorrow combines both doom laden riffs mixed with groove which also captures our thick sludgy raw live sound! Hope y’all enjoy this beast!!”
One For Sorrow is taken from the split vinyl with Left for Red which is due for release December 2018. The artwork for the vinyl was created by Jon Pedley of Pedley Art and the special vinyl bundle can be pre-ordered from FATangel Records Bandcamp.
Jay H Filmmaker
Disclaimer: This article is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this article, unless you have the strict permission of Ever Metal. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
The Cherry Dolls-Viva Los Dolls Release Date – 24/11/2017 Label – Golden Robot Records BJF PR Running time – 30.81 Reviewer Tsarina Wilson 6.5/10
The Cherry Dolls are from Melbourne and are Joshua Aubry on vocals, Jakob Kagan on guitar, Thomas van der Vliet on drums, Brendan West on bass and Jim Stirton on guitar. This very diverse band have already released two EPs in the past, “Pearls” and “Lone Palm” which were recorded in LA, but this is their first full length debut album, with Alex Markwell of The Delta Rings sitting in on production.
Think The Doors, The Rolling Stones and even The Stone Roses and The Stokes, a mix of indie and rock, and there is a lot of talent within this band. The album opens with Cop Out, which shows how strong and clean the vocals are, Let You Down has some great rock riffs and one hellava beat and Lemon and Lime is a real micky take of the expression “I’m so happy”, talk about sounding so miserable but while having a great time! You would be forgiven for thinking this album is from the 60’s or 70’s, the lads themselves certainly look like they are stuck in this era but don’t let that fool you in any way. This is a very alternate album with a lot of attitude but may not be to everyone’s taste. But then show me an album that is.
The guys seem to skip to different genres without missing a beat, one minute slow and relaxed then full on and this album will keep you on your toes, with some catchy lyrics. Ok, during their early days they were known for breaking more guitar strings and gear than they care to recall but on this album they deliver an upbeat and full on album. The album by their own admittance is them portraying themselves which is good. They are not changing their look or sound to “fit in” and they are being true to themselves with their attitude and angst towards live shows, and they get that onto the album, the atmosphere and feeling of being at one of their live shows.
Before going into the studio the lads had the normal idea of bands, write some songs, choose which they liked then head into the studio and get the tracks down, but that wasn’t the case here. They didn’t even have any when they first went in but it all fell into place and in three days they had ten tracks down and sorted and they were very happy with the result, as they should be. At just over 30 minutes long they pack a lot in, but it would have been nice if it was a little longer. Hey maybe the next album will be, but as a first full length album it certainly gives you a taste of what’s to come in the future.
1 -C.O.P Out
3- Let You Down
4- Bottom Of The Wall
8- Lemon & Lime
9- Begging You Please
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities