Solitary – Nothing Changes: 20th Anniversary Edition DOC Records Release Date: 20/08/2018 Running Time: 56:44 Review by Dawn King 9/10
It was the mid-90’s, thrash metal was dying and the heady days of “The Big Four” were fast becoming fading memories. But, one man in the north of England wasn’t prepared to sit around and reminisce about the good old days.
Rich Sherrington had always had a dream to follow in the footsteps of his heroes, Xentrix, and in 1994, he formed his own band, Solitary, and against all reason and sense, started the thrash comeback!
The first Solitary album “Nothing Changes” was released in 1998 on Holier Than Thou Records and bristling with its snarling riffs and ready to fight attitude, even the press couldn’t deny the intensity and integrity of the album. They received positive reviews from major magazines such as Terrorizer, and they hit the road for two UK tours. The rest, as they say, is history!
In 2008 they released the album “Requiem” and in 2017, they released “The Diseased Heart of Society”, which was harder, faster and more focussed, and was welcomed with open arms by a society that was much more tolerant of thrash metal.
Now, twenty years later, they have re-released the album that originally set them on their road. There is new artwork, a host of bonus tracks, and a little injection of modern-day studio wizardry, to give the album a heavier and more aggressive sound and it is only available on CD, with NO digital platform whatsoever, so get your copy while you can!
For those of us who weren’t around the first time this was released, there are five bonus demo tracks tagged onto the end of the album, showing just how their sound has changed. Maybe they included these to tempt newer fans to their music or maybe it was just to give older fans a taste of what was, only the band will know that, but either way, I think they are a great addition to an already awesome album.
From the opening bass lines of first track ‘Within Temptation’ it’s obvious this band is not messing around. With chunky riffs and snarling, menacing vocals, these guys are every bit as good as the original thrash bands of the 80’s. With the likes of Metallica, Machinehead, Pantera, Testament and Slayer as influences, they should have been the forefathers of a new wave of UK thrash, so why do they only have just over 4,000 likes on Facebook? (and yes, I do know that Facebook likes is NOT an indicator of how good a band is, before anyone jumps on this comment!)
This no-frills album is fantastic from start to finish, just the type I could listen to repeatedly and still not be bored with it. If this album was their debut back in 1998, then what a debut! There are very few bands that crash onto the scene with a gem of a premier, but these guys should have done just that!
Being a thrash girl at heart, this album gives me everything that I need. The riffs are heavy and meaty, hitting you right in the belly, the trembling basslines and galloping drums are, in a word, superb, and the vocals have just the right amount of grit to give a gruff sound without descending into the dirty vocals that I so hate!
Stand out tracks for me would have to be ‘A Second Chance’ with its hints of Metallica and Pantera and ‘The Downward Spiral’ a brutal groove track that will have you banging your head from the very first note but, in all fairness, there is not a bad track on this album.
It was the advance of the Seattle ‘grunge’ sound that originally contributed to the downfall of thrash in the 90’s and, at the time, I was a huge fan of the grunge scene, thrash not really hitting my radar until later (I was in my late teens so don’t hate me!)
Looking back, I wish I was that little bit older so I could have appreciated this when it was first released. I am, however, now a huge fan and will definitely be buying anything else they have done.
Ever Metal recently reviewed a gig they did in Wrexham and I so wish I could have been there for that! But any time they hit the South East now, I will be in attendance!
These guys are simply awesome!!
01. Within Temptation
02. The Downward Spiral
03. A Second Chance
05. Nothing Changes
06. Clutching Straws
07. No Reason
10. A Second Chance (1996 Demo)
11. The Bottom Line (1996 Demo)
12. What Price (1996 Demo)
13. No Reason (1996 Demo)
14. Fear (1996 Demo)
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.
Hi everyone – Rick here I was due to be covering this gig but unfortunately my deformed spine had other ideas so I am indebted to POWERZONE Radio Show host Dani Maguire for stepping up to the plate and writing an excellent review of proceedings. Please make sure you tune in to his awesome radio show every Monday from 9-11pm on Calon FM (Links are at the bottom of the review). I shall now hand you over to Mr Maguire!
It was a cold November night in Wrexham town, but luckily those fine fellows at N.E.W. Metal Productions really turned the heat up with a line-up of head-swingin’ balls out thrash metal over at our favourite little venue, Atomic. A short foray into the streets on a mission to get some beer tokens took us to a cash machine some streets away, and the still air and empty town carried the sweet sound of sound checking, it could be heard loud and clearly even at that distance and it was like a siren-song, calling us closer…
…anyway, enough of that gubbins. We hurried to Atomic, ready for a night of good, old-fashioned heavy metal. Atomic is quite the place for it- a bottle bar downstairs (which I speedily emptied out of Hobgoblin) and a small room above with a stage, an excellent sound engineer and room for about 50ish burly metalheads to mosh in. It was the last show of the year here in Wrexham, so we were really up this one!
First up to whet our appetites were a band new to me and with a gimmick the thrash metal scene has been crying out for: THRASHATOUILLE! This young band were formed last year, they hail from Cheshire and play what they like to call ‘chef-based metal’ but in reality, it’s more like raw thrash with a touch of groove and some interesting lyrical concepts. It’s quite unusual to have recipes and songs about fry-up’s blasted out at you with ripping furiousity (it’s not a word, but you know what I mean!), accompanied by some riffs that gave a considerable contribution to my terrible neck pain when I woke the next day. A character was introduced- a psychotic spaghetti called ‘Bludgeonnaise’ who is kind of the bands’ mascot. The band certainly look the part too, wearing their chefs’ whites and chequered keks which does help to make it a little more surreal. The diminutive frontman got out and about into the crowd often and ended up with a hilarious classic cake in the face to close the set (after singing it a love song, naturally).
Now, this whole thing might sound a little silly- and that’s really the point. Thrashatouille are another British band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, following in the footsteps (or should that be footprints) of Footprints in the Custard, Raised by Owls or Evil Scarecrow and for me, that’s great. Maybe not one for traditionalists (unless they lightened up!) but I’d certainly recommend going to see them. I certainly will be next time they’re near!
After a brief recess, Liverpool-based thrashers REAPER were pumped and ready to go! These guys came highly recommended from a metal peer and all-round good egg Paul- and I know from experience that when he recommends a band for me, I’ll enjoy them, and this proved to be true once again. They were tight, intense & quite frankly, fast as fook! Lead guitarist Anthony had me slack-jawed with awe at several times throughout their set and the crowd loved it. Frontman Daniel was on top of his game throughout, clinical with his guitar work too, and bassist Elliott plays that finger-picking style that Cliff Burton used to favour- looks cool and sounds superb. It was drummer Anthony’s first gig with Reaper but he slotted into his new role brilliantly, providing the background blast beats to complete their soundtrack of a warzone. A bruising set- I just wish they were able to stick around afterwards as I was planning to buy a patch from them to add to my cut. Ah well!
To round out a great night of thrash, veterans SOLITARY hit the stage and they hit hard. Having seen Solitary a couple of times before, I knew what to expect; sheer brutality. I think these guys have it all- a solid back catalogue, fantastic stage presence, cool merch, and more importantly, songs that make you want to bang your head, repeatedly. It’s a crying shame that they aren’t as recognised in the scene as, say, Evile, when they are clearly on par at least (and don’t tell Evile I said this, but they MIGHT even be a touch better!). They have the brutality of Slayer, the memorable licks of Testament and an aggression all of their own. The Lancashire four piece are sticking to their promise to thrash forever and for that, we salute you. Everybody present was blown away, and personally, I especially enjoyed jumping in the pit with the guys from Thrashatouille throughout the set to those crushing riffs.
I’m lucky enough to have been to many local gigs this year and have seen more than my fair share of stand-out performances. But on this ‘Thrash Friday’ I could not separate the bands. Every single one of them was spot on and gave us all some serious entertainment. Thank you to them for a night to remember and thank you to Fozzy and Beanie from N.E.W. Metal Productions for putting on yet another show. Here’s to another brutal year ahead!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dani Maguire 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.
Bloodstock ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ North Wales Final Central Station, Wrexham 15/06/2018 Review by Beth Jones with pointless bits from Rick Tilley!
After what seemed a very long time, Friday 15th June was the night – The Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses North Wales Final! It was the culmination of months of hard work by both the bands and the organisers, and was set to be a great show, combining competition bands and showcase bands for an evening extravaganza! We, at Ever Metal HQ, were really excited for the event, not least because it was a chance to have a catch up with old friends, but more so because we had been at most of the heats, and the semis, and were excited to see which band would be rewarded for their efforts with the ultimate prize – a spot on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock 2018.
Following the packed nature of the heats, it was good to see a move of venue for the final, from the ‘cosy and bijou’ Atomic, to the much more substantial Central Station Venue. This allowed NEW Metal Productions to have two stages and alternate them – a brave decision, but did it work? We will come to that later!
First up on the main stage, to get us all in the mood, were instrumental trio, Archetype. This was our first experience of them. One word – Proggywoggydoodahh! I don’t think I need to explain any further than that. It was quite funny trying to watch the audience bang their heads to the rhythm, only to be fooled by a random bar of 13/8 instead of a good old 4/4 beat. Watching reasonably sober metal heads collectively trying to look cool when someone steals their solid rhythm is quite amusing! Aside from that, Archetype were clearly very talented musicians and clearly know how to write a good prog tune, but I have to say, after a short while, I found it quite difficult to listen to. It was too much for my brain to take sober, Rick, on the other hand, loved them!
A quick hop over to the second stage followed to catch Pelugion. We love these guys and it is easy to see why they have had success this year in the M2TM final in Coventry – if their performance that evening was half as good as their performance as guests here, then they were very worthy winners. They make one hell of a sound with just the three of them, and their connection is really strong, which gives their performance a confidence beyond their years. They provide you with classic heavy metal, quite Sabbath like in places, and give everything 100% welly! Love them.
Next was the first of the competition bands on the main stage, Impavidus. In my last review, I called them ‘female fronted’ and got a bit of stick for it, so this time I shall refer to them as Michelle and her all male backing band!! Joking aside, these guys are all properly talented musicians, and Michelle’s vocal versatility is astounding. We had been massively impressed with them at the Semi Final and felt certain that they would walk it in the final. Sadly, the sound let them down. Central Station is a notorious venue for problematic acoustics, and Impavidus were not helped by this one little bit. I think that the bad sound quality gave them a bit of a knock, and the spark and chemistry we saw in the semis just wasn’t quite there, which in turn affected their overall performance. Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was the size of the venue, maybe it was the low – level lighting or the way it sounded on stage, who knows. We were truly gutted for them, but I think it was probably a worthwhile experience – things like that tend to focus your mind on areas that you can improve on.
Moving back to the second stage, we were greeted by local band, IN DEPTHS. Again, another first time for us, but with them hailing from just over the border and having had success recently in the Mammothfest Best Band competition, we were intrigued to check them out. The first thing that caught my attention was the bright white floor lights that they were using on stage. This totally changed the mood of the performance in a very clever way. The effect of it was almost like a bad dream – strange shadows creating distortions in features, which fitted well with their musical style. It was much harsher than I was expecting and quite intricate and complex, a bit Djent, and quite animated. Whilst I’m not a massive fan of the genre, it was really good to see them thinking about the overall look and staging and it was nice to see a bass player, on a six – string bass, actually utilising all the strings – kudos for that!
Returning once again to the main stage, we were ready and waiting for our next competition band, Cadence Noir. Again, we had really enjoyed these guys from their heat and semi and had high hopes for them. They were very different to everything that had been on so far, with much more of a party feel to them. They were lively, rocky, well-rehearsed, and had the best sound of the evening so far. They too had thought about their image, and the fact that they have a violin player and the bass player switches between standard electric bass and upright semi acoustic double bass gave them more of an edge. They gave a great performance and had the whole crowd bouncing and dancing and really partying. It was certainly a hard act to follow and I was pretty confident that we had just seen a winning performance, although the band themselves where not of the same opinion when we had a chat with them in the smoking area afterwards, during what was a well needed break from proceedings.
Following the short interval, the next competition band, Redwood Avenue, took to the main stage. As you all know by now, my opinion of these guys has changed a lot from when I first saw them, however I think this is because they have grown in confidence and finesse, and their performance here was no exception to this rule. They always have a good following too, which helps drive their performance along. Front man Aled is very animated, and the skills of the drummer keep everything very tight throughout their complex songs. With their Djent, Modern Metal sound, it was a huge contrast to the previous two bands we had seen in the competition this evening, which was great – variety is the spice of life, and they do what they do well. I sometimes wish their guitarists would be a little more animated though. I think this is made more noticeable by the fact that the bass player and drummer, along with Aled, are animated, so it sticks out like a sore thumb. To coin a phrase I used in my first review about them, they are only young; it will come with time and experience!
Once more back over to the second stage we headed, for the last band of the night on that stage, the fantastic Welsh nutcases, Lifer! Although I have listened to plenty of their music, this was a first time for me seeing them live. What a diamond bunch of lads they are, and what a chemistry they create on stage. They are thrashy, doomy, and heavy, and generally awesome. Scriv has a great presence as a front man and knows how to hold a tune and an audience in the palm of his hand. I really enjoyed their set and will endeavour to see them again soon. It was nice to have them in the mix with all the young bands that we had seen so far, as they are like the voice of experience for them – the ones who have been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, and are still loving it and showing us that they are loving it!
The final Competition band was up next – OMV. Hold on to your hats folks, things are about to get a lot more sweary. One thing is for certain – Richie OMV certainly has a lot of fucks to give! Call me a prude, but there was a bit too much fuckery for my liking if I’m honest, which is a shame, as I really like their music, but the over use of our favourite expletive, as well as a few other choice words, was a big turn off for me. That said, they did put on a good show and it was, as ever, tight and well-rehearsed. I love the fact also that they had more than one generation of their family there to support them – as they have had at each of their performances in the M2TM competition. That was really nice and they did do their family proud with their performance – just please lay off the expletives a little – it doesn’t do you any favours!
And that was it for competition bands. Whilst Rob Bannister deliberated on, what was most definitely, a very tough decision, we were treated to some good solid thrash metal in the form of Solitary. They were our guest headliners and they certainly filled that spot brilliantly, even if quite a few of the audience hadn’t got the stamina to stay until the end…lightweights! The people who did stay were treated to a fantastic performance from them, with huge energy and passion and groove laden tunes back to back throughout their set.
So, to the decision – Rob took to the stage, the room divided into four definite parties! Who would win? I had a feeling I knew but was intrigued to see if Rob would go that way. ‘The winner of this year’s Metal 2 The Masses North Wales Final is ………… CADENCE NOIR!!!!’ Whilst there was obvious disappointment in the room from the fans of the other bands, the general consensus was that it was the correct decision on the night – apart from the Cadence Noir guys, who were completely shocked and thought Redwood Avenue should have won! After obligatory congrats / commiserations / photos, the crowd drifted off, all knowing they had just witnessed a super night of music with a competition of four bands, completely diverse in style, but all equally talented at what they do. It really was anyone’s game. We had an absolute blast, as we have had throughout the competition, and came home happy and content that a good night had most definitely been had. My only criticism was that the night seemed to take a long time to get to the decision. I think the second stage was good, but possibly dragged things out a little too much, however all the bands on there were fantastic. The sound on there was better than the sound on the main stage, which kind of irritated me a bit, but the room which the second stage was in is much easier to set sound in – that is more a fault with the building though – believe me I saw Soulfly in there a good while ago and it was a wall of noise, so even the big bands struggle.
Myself and Rick feel very privileged to have been at all these gigs and would like to express our thanks for the hard work and dedication of all involved, not only the bands, But Fozzy and Beany for having the determination to pull off the events, all of which ran like absolute clockwork. Also, thanks to Rob Bannister for coming all the way to little old Wrexham to judge it, as well as Dani Maguire from ‘Powerzone’ on Calon FM and John Matthews from ‘Totally Tankered’, who cast the judges votes in the heats and semis. Not only have we had a great time at each show, but we have met and become friends with some wonderful people along the way, and that is what music is all about – the universal language that brings people together. It would be lovely to see this as the springboard for more of the same in this town.
Huge congratulations to Cadence Noir – have fun at BOA 2018. LONG LIVE METAL!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.