FLOGGING MOLLY’S NEW EP, ‘TIL THE ANARCHY’S RESTORED, AVAILABLE NOW VIA RISE RECORDS LISTEN NOW WATCH THE NEW VIDEO FOR “DRUNKEN LULLABIES (LIVE FROM ELECTRICAL AUDIO)” HERE EP FEATURES PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED TITLE TRACK AND LIVE PERFORMANCES FROM STEVE ALBINI’S ELECTRICAL AUDIO STUDIO Flogging Molly’s new, three-song, […]
NEW ALBUM: ‘PROTAGONISTS’ – OUT 31 MARCH + UK TOUR DATES + IN-STORES THIS SPRING:TICKETS ON SALE HERE With their upcoming third album fast approaching, IST IST are pleased to unveil the latest track to be cut from the record: “Nothing More Nothing Less”. WATCH THE […]
CLOAK release first new track and album details of ‘Black Flame Eternal’. Blackened heavy metal masters CLOAK will be releasing their third full-length “Black Flame Eternal” on May 26, 2023! To celebrate this release, the Atlanta quartet is now sharing the blistering first single ‘Invictus’ along with scorching […]
CLOAK release first new trackand album details of‘Black Flame Eternal’.
Blackened heavy metal masters CLOAK will be releasing their third full-length “Black Flame Eternal” on May 26, 2023! To celebrate this release, the Atlanta quartet is now sharing the blistering first single ‘Invictus’ along with scorching new music video!
The video is now streaming via the official Season of Mist YouTube channel HERE and may be freely spread throughout your channels.
Pre-orders are soon available! The album can already be pre-saved on various digital platforms HERE.
CLOAK drummer Sean Bruneau comments on the song: “No composition written by the band has so perfectly captured our essence to date. The time spent in isolation allowed not only personal growth, but tremendous reflection on a lifetime of inspiration. The song came together aggressively once we started working on new material, and it was clear that we were approaching things differently this time around. Anger and empowerment were much more evident as opposed to the more melody driven material in the past albums. To us, ‘Invictus’ is a thesis of sorts. It’s everything about who we were before this band and where we are headed together moving forward.“
Track-list: 1. Ethereal Fire (05:37) 2. With Fury and Allegiance (04:46) 3. Shadowlands (05:58) 4. Invictus (06:36) [WATCH] 5. Seven Thunders (05:49) 6. Eye of the Abyss (05:06) 7. The Holy Dark (06:03) 8. Heavenless (02:57) 9. Black Flame Eternal (06:43) Total: 49:35
Genre: Dark Heavy Metal FFO: Watain, Dissection, Behemoth, Rotting Christ “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – Rudyard Kipling
In an era that is designed to beat down and weaken the individual, Black Flame Eternal is an album that represents strength, empowerment, and total opposition. With mounting pressure to engage in modern societal tribalism, Cloak invokes a spiritual rebellion that exists beyond good and evil with album number three. “All of our albums are created with a spiritual focus, dealing with how we see life, death, and everything in between. I think the earlier records dealt more with the mysteries that surrounded delving deeper into the world of dark spirituality, whereas the new material has taken what we’ve learned and used it to move forward with force,” says Cloak frontman Scott Taysom of the record’s underlying philosophy. “Black Flame Eternal is a statement of spiritual empowerment in every sense. For the first time we want people to grasp on to this sentiment, instead of keeping it completely personal within our world of Cloak. The themes and the sheer power can be felt much more within the songs that this album contains.”
“Our goal is complete spiritual liberation, which is where true power and freedom exists,” he adds. “We’ve reached a point in history where people are forced to pick a side or to join a team, so to speak. Cloak stands in complete opposition to this. We aim to be a giant middle finger in the face of the empty modern world.”
While Cloak might rage against societal conventions, the Atlanta quartet embraces the rebellious and time-tested traditions of heavy metal. Whether it be the conjuring the chaotic spirit of Swedish black metal purveyors Watain and Dissection, summoning the deep, dark and sensual groove of Danzig, or evoking the raw speed and raucous energy of Motörhead, the influence of metal’s founding fathers is deep within Cloak’s DNA. Cloak’s charm, however, does not merely lie within its romanticism of the past, but rather is the way each of these genres has shaped Cloak’s own personal identity. And with Black Flame Eternal, the record sees Cloak continue to strengthen its own unique established sound.
Cloak recognizes the importance of a band’s third record, with Taysom explaining, “These influences will always be important to us, as they are some of the best and most important bands of our time. On the other hand, what is so special about getting to the third record of our career is that inspiration starts to move inwards. We had enough experience and material at this point to really know what we do best and how we can utilize these skills in the best way possible. If you look at some of the most iconic bands, their third albums were massive steps towards greatness. So to us, we feel our third record will be a very important one in our time as a band.”
The Atlantan’s evolution is evident in the fury displayed on Black Flame Eternal, which flawlessly compliments the grandiose melodic atmosphere. “This was a conscious effort. Early on before the album even started, I knew it was going to be a much more aggressive and powerful album. I wanted to take a step away from certain sounds and add a bit of brutality back in. The overall vibe matches who we are much more, so it was only fitting to move towards this sound. It almost feels like we are going back to our roots as people in certain ways,” explains Taysom. Black Flame Eternal follows up sophomore effort The Burning Dawn, which was released in November 2019, with hell unleashing its fury on the globe just a few short months later. As plans to tour the new album around the world came to a screeching halt, the band did not stagger or falter, and instead used this gift of time to write. When reflecting upon the lost years and its impact, Taysom seemingly embraces the situation with little regrets, “Considering Cloak is a sacred space for us, these exterior things did not have as much of an impact as one might think. But it was impossible to ignore some of what was going on throughout these tumultuous years. It’s bound to affect people’s personal lives and the way the mind works during these interesting times. One thing that it did greatly affect was the fact that we could not promote The Burning Dawn properly after the one U.S. tour we did with 1349. We feel this hurt the record, but there was nothing we could do. We were one of the earliest out of the gate after venues started to open back up, and we’ve been continuing to tour in promotion of that album all the way up until now.”
Cloak utilized every minute of this time to focus on fully realizing its vision for Black Flame Eternal. “The initial stage of the writing process started in January of 2020, and lasted all the way until May 2021. It was the longest spanning album process for us so far, with many long days, nights, and weeks trying to piece the songs together the best we could.” While the record did not come together swiftly or easily, the care and attention put into its creation is evident in its powerful composition.
Making up for lost time, these road warriors have already embarked on several high profile North American tours since the autumn of 2021, commanding audiences in every major city with their chaos magick. Each performance merges the spirit of black metal with the backbone of rock ‘n’ roll as the band consistently delivers a blistering set from start to finish. Taysom describes Cloak’s live approach as “a mixture of ethereal atmosphere and total abrasive chaos. The mixture of these two opposing energies is where Cloak lies; the meeting of high and low. To us, this is where the most interesting moments happen, both emotionally and physically.”
With no borders or boundaries, Cloak is ready to embark on this new chapter as the leader of its own pack. The band bows to no one, forging its own path as one of the governing metal forces of this decade as ‘Black Flame Eternal’ promises to scorch the earth and leave its hallowed mark.
Recording Studio: The Green House Mixing: Cameron Webb Mastering: Audiosiege
Line-up: Scott Taysom – vocals/guitar Max Brigham – guitar Billy C. Robinson – bass Sean Bruneau – drums
Check out their latest video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJksOe1aBhg There are few progressive metal bands who command as much admiration from fans and critics alike as Redemption. Their unique blend of an impressive heaviness (not exactly a daily occurrence in this genre), irresistible melodies and great emotional urgency is […]
There are few progressive metal bands who command as much admiration from fans and critics alike as Redemption. Their unique blend of an impressive heaviness (not exactly a daily occurrence in this genre), irresistible melodies and great emotional urgency is a global success. The group consists of five highly talented and extremely individual artists who together are renowned for their extraordinary performances. For more than twenty years, Redemption have been helmed by their guitarist/ founder Nicolas van Dyk, who contributes the compositions as well as the inspiration for the songs. Vocalist Tom S. Englund (Evergrey), keyboardist Vikram Shankar, bassist Sean Andrews and drummer Chris Quirarte play equally important roles and, together with van Dyk, form a tight unit which impresses with its great musical skill and artistic ambition. Their new studio album is called “I Am The Storm” and lives up to its programmatic name, sounding haunting, exciting, overwhelming and dramatic all at once.
Like Redemption’s previous seven studio offerings, ‘I Am The Storm’ has turned into a perceptible but never radical evolution of the archetypical Redemption sound. The current material also features a high recognition value while at the same time carefully exploring new territories. “I’ve always liked bands whose albums blend together stylistically, be it Iron Maiden’s “The Number Of The Beast” and “Peace Of Mind”, “Mob Rules” and “Heaven And Hell” by Black Sabbath, or Ozzy Osbourne’s “Blizzard Of Ozz” and “Diary Of A Madman””, van Dyk explains, adding: “We’re not musicians who have to constantly reinvent themselves. The consistent evolution of our sound happens in small steps which are easy to manage for our fans.”
Nicolas is referring to songs such as the high-energy title track “I Am The Storm”, an aggressive and ostentatiously powerful opener with a thrash flair that’s typical of Redemption. He also mentions the multi-layered “The Emotional Depiction Of Light”, a pretty atypical song for this band that’s available in two different versions. “The track was originally written by our keyboardist Vikram Shankar, then began to take a slightly different direction when I came in with my guitar work. But I wanted Vik to be able to present his song the way he’d had it in mind originally. Hence the additional remix version.” “Action At A Distance” also deserves a mention, proving once again that van Dyk & Co. are outstanding prog metal artists. You just can’t limit us to any one genre”, explains the band’s mastermind. “Just like Evergrey, our songs are at the same time hard and melodic, combining thrash and power metal with melodic metal and progressive influences.” So it comes as no surprise that the media continue to heap praise on this group and refer to the musicians as “one of the best progressive metal acts of the last decade” (DPRP), attest them a “magical aura and incredible songwriting expertise” (Blabbermouth) and describe their music as “powerful, catchy, captivating, technical, and all this together” (Lords Of Metal). All these qualities come together on “I Am The Storm”, supported by the lyrics’ familiar depth. Van Dyk adds: “Our songs have a generally positive attitude yet deal with all aspects of human existence, including pain and suffering, fear and worry, hope and disappointment.”
“I Am The Storm” was produced by Nick van Dyk and sound engineer/guitarist Simone Mularoni (DGM), who – alongside Chris Poland (ex-Megadeth) and Henrik Danhage (Evergrey) – also features as a guest musician. In addition, the new album contains two cover songs which seem a little unusual for this genre: “Turn It On Again” by Genesis and “Red Rain” by Peter Gabriel. Which is also consistent with Redemption, whose musical complexity is difficult to beat. In other words, “I Am The Storm” is the new tip of a gigantic iceberg!
Nick van Dyk (Guitar), Tom S. Englund (Vocals), Chris Quirarte (Drum), Sean Andrews (Bass), Vikram Shankar (Keyboards), Simone Mularoni (Guitars)
Slated for a release on March 17, 2023, the album pre-sale will be available soon via the AFM Records shop at THIS LOCATION!
I Am The Storm track listing: 01. I Am The Storm 02. Seven Minutes From Sunset 03. Remember The Dawn 04. The Emotional Depiction Of Light 05. Resilience 06. Action At A Distance 07. Turn It On Again 08. All This Time (And Not Enough) 09. The Emotional Depiction Of Light (Remix) 10. Red Rain
Vinyl Bonus Tracks: The Pearl Clutchers ( feat. Chris ) The Far Side Of The Clouds (feat. Henrik Danhage)
Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc8rGs6NCpA Fight The Fade Drops Fierce New Metalcore Industrial Single “Scratching” (feat. Daedric) For Fans Of Breaking Benjamin, Linkin Park, and Falling In ReversePurchase/Stream: https://link.fixtmusic.com/ScratchTheWall Five-piece midwest rockers Fight The Fade are back with a driving new rock industrial single “Scratching” (feat. Daedric). The track […]
Five-piece midwest rockers Fight The Fade are back with a driving new rock industrial single “Scratching” (feat. Daedric). The track racks up the intensity from the start featuring a combative vocal performance from both Zene Smith of Fight The Fade and Krystin Hope of Daedric, overlaid with thunderous rhythms and harsh guitar riffs. “Scratching” (feat. Daedric) is an aggressive soundscape from start to finish, and is the first single from their next album dropping in late 2023 from FiXT.
Known for pulling together influences from rock, metal, and electronic music, Fight the Fade has forged an unmistakable sonic identity that wraps heartfelt lyrical themes within a robust production style and delivers them with nuanced and diverse writing approaches. The band’s work ethic and innovative blend of genres led them to an album deal with independent electronic rock label FiXT in late 2020, with Fight the Fade releasing singles throughout 2021, leading to a full-length album APOPHYSITIS released in July 2022.
Daedric is an audacious creative venture from Dallas/Fort Worth-based vocalist and artist, Kristyn Hope. Daedric draws inspiration from an eclectic array of sources including David Bowie, Anthony Green of Circa Survive, Sia, and the popular open-world role-playing game series Elder Scrolls, from which the Daedric name is derived. As Daedric, Kristyn works closely with producers Geoff Rockwell and Clay Schroeder to develop a mix of throwback synths blended with contemporary rock and metal, forging a powerful sound that is uniquely her own.
“Scratching” (feat. Daedric) is out now on all platforms from FiXT. Watch the “Scratching” (feat. Daedric) Visualizer HERE. Download Press Photos HERE.
LISTEN HEREWATCH OFFICIAL VIDEO HEREPRE-ORDER THE RECORD HERE boygenius – the acclaimed trio comprising Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, have today released ‘Not Strong Enough’, the fourth track taken from their highly anticipated debut album the record. Through soaring harmonies and the band’s signature candid lyricism, the song is about paradoxically experiencing […]
boygenius – the acclaimed trio comprising Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, have today released ‘Not Strong Enough’, the fourth track taken from their highly anticipated debut album the record. Through soaring harmonies and the band’s signature candid lyricism, the song is about paradoxically experiencing self-hatred while having a God complex. The accompanying video, which was self-shot by the band and edited by Jackson Bridgers, feels like a home video reel, offering a glimpse into their close bond as they spend a carefree day together. ‘Not Strong Enough’ premiered on BBC Radio 1 Hottest Record today.
boygenius announced their long awaited debut album, the record, in January and made global headlines with their Nirvana-nodding cover of February’s Rolling Stone magazine. boygenius will perform at this year’s Coachella Music Festival on Saturday, April 15th and Saturday, April 22nd in addition to headlining the inaugural Re:Set Concert Series with stops in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and more. They have also just announced three new UK tour dates: Gunnersbury Park in London, UK on August 20th, The Piece Hall in Halifax, UK on August 22nd as well as an appearance at Connect Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland August 27th.
UPCOMING UK TOUR DATES:
August 20 – London, UK – Gunnersbury Park ^ August 22 – Halifax, UK – Piece Hall % August 27 – Edinburgh, UK – Connect Festival
^ with MUNA and Ethel Cain % with Ethel Cain
Once, when boygenius was on a road trip in Northern California, Phoebe asked Julien and Lucy to listen to a very important song, and pushed play, and got on the freeway headed in the wrong direction. The song was ‘Trapeze Swinger’ by Iron & Wine—about a dead person telling the living how he wants to be remembered. It was impossible to interrupt this ten-minute-long song. Because of how the exits were spaced, ‘Trapeze Swinger’ added an hour to their travel time. Phoebe felt like an idiot. Lucy turned that drive into the song ‘Leonard Cohen’.
What happens when you see an hour-long detour, not as a detour, but as part of the trip—the part where you listened to ‘Trapeze Swinger’ while driving the opposite direction from your destination. Does that become the most valuable hour on the trip? Does time transform into something other than alternating “valuable” and “not valuable” hours? What if the right song can dislodge, for its duration, this piece of capitalist furniture?
the record started in June 2020. A week after Punisher came out, Phoebe sent Lucy and Julien a demo of ‘Emily I’m Sorry’ and asked if they could be a band again—for the first time since those five short months in 2018, when the boygenius EP was conceived, written, recorded, released, and toured. Nobody had wanted to be the first to ask—to make such a demand on everyone’s time. Now, Julien made a Google Drive folder called “dare I say it?”, and everyone flooded it with potential songs.
the record is about recapturing joy—about the wasteful detour that turns out not to be the most important thing. Julien wrote ‘$20’ after realizing that what she wanted for the band was More Sick Riffs. It’s hard to say such things as an individual artist, when it’s your music, soon to be collapsed with your identity. You don’t want to seem like—or be—a superficial meathead. But it’s things like sick riffs that made you truly giddy when you were first learning how to play, making music with your friends “for no reason.” Why do non-reasons sometimes feel so much more urgent than reasons?
the record is about making time, and finding new ways to record it, over time. The opening track, ‘Without You Without Them,’ picks up where the EP left off—with ‘Ketchum, ID,’ and an old-school Carter Family vibe—and it’s a song about picking up where something else left off, about everyone who came before, and made the person you love now. Lucy had been singing this song for years, while she did the dishes. A recurring theme: what we see about each other is a tiny fraction of a huge glacier that shifts over time. On a historical scale, that means you were shaped over hundreds of years, by people you’ll never know. On a human scale, who you are is constantly revealed, as you live, to the people who are paying attention. History loses its mystery. (Lucy: “I find comfort in knowing that I’m going to know you two a long time, and get to see the different iterations of the person you are.”) Because it’s disclosed over time, truth is constantly changing: the theme of ‘True Blue.’ It comes together and disperses, like planetary formations.
The first thing boygenius did after getting vaccinated last April was meet up to write music together. That’s wherethe recordchanges. The first four songs were written individually. The rest are conversations. Sometimes, each person takes a verse, and writes their own version—like on ‘Satanist’ which Julien, who was raised religious, wrote, after watching the documentary ‘Hail Satan?’ She could, she thought, be a Satanist—and would her friends join her for this phase in the journey? In other words: “Do you want to be in my life a long time?” Or, as Phoebe put it: “Would you still love me if I was a bug?” Isn’t that what time is—the thing that makes everyone into a bug?
Lucy first sang ‘We’re In Love’ a cappella to Phoebe, in Phoebe’s bed, on New Years Day in 2022. They were holding each other’s faces: a function of totally legal drugs. Lucy was weeping and did not blink. Later, in the studio, Julien thought the song was too… long. In retrospect, Julien hadn’t been ready to engage. When the truth sank in, the truth of a love song, she went away for six hours. (Julien: “It’s still a learning process to know the difference between being scrutinized and being seen.”) Then she came back. She was ready.
The album was recorded in January 2022, at Shangri-La, in Malibu: ten-hour days every day, for a month. Nobody questioned the schedule. (Julien: “We are all at least one type of the same psycho. The Venn diagrams overlap in ‘Every day for a month.’”) At one point, Julien was freaking out because there weren’t a thousand guitar tracks on ‘Emily I’m Sorry’. Lucy comforted her by pointing out that Phoebe was definitely going to rewrite that song a thousand times: the neuroses smoothed each other out. Back home, Julien made a thousand guitar tracks and emailed them to Catherine Marks, the co-producer, while Phoebe re-recorded ‘Revolution 0’ and changed the words at the last minute. She “did the Flaubert.” (Julien: “That’s the old mot juste, my guy.”) The mot juste was “spiraling.”
Nowthe recordis on the sound system and you’re merging onto the freeway. Glen Campbell’s guitar is doing the Sad Beatles, as the wrong exit comes up on the left. Soon you’ll be at the ocean, which Julien still sort of thinks is a creek, and the Venn diagrams are overlapping, and the years are rushing by in descending order. This interchange has way more than four levels. 2018 rushes past, and the EP—there’s Phoebe, and her dog!—and the illegal fireworks, and your mother’s father’s mother. Then the track changes, and it’s time for the overdue U-turn that isn’t actually overdue, and “spiraling” is the mot juste and the crack in your plan is where the light comes in. Why is this song is so long? How can it take this much time? Can we afford it? And meanwhile the time keeps unfolding, until the only think you had to sacrifice was the idea of sacrifice: everything was the important thing. Six hours later, you’re ready to engage, and 2023 is here, andthe record is now. – Elif Bautman, January 2023
Chris Shiflett returns to the UK for a run of headline dates this March, the guitarist’s first solo shows here since 2019. In advance of the tour and as a hard-drivin’ taste of things to come, long-time Foo Fighters member Shiflett releases the brand new single / video, ‘Black Top White Lines’; produced by Jaren […]
Chris Shiflett returns to the UK for a run of headline dates this March, the guitarist’s first solo shows here since 2019.
In advance of the tour and as a hard-drivin’ taste of things to come, long-time Foo Fighters member Shiflett releases the brand new single / video, ‘Black Top White Lines’; produced by Jaren Johnston from The Cadillac Three and co-penned with Johnston, a writer with multiple No. 1 country hits to his name, and Brothers Osborne guitarist John Osborne, ‘Black Top…’ is a dark tale of justice that moves quickly into the fast lane with no intention of moving over or slowing down.
Says Shiflett: “I am so excited to announce my upcoming tour of the UK & Ireland! The gigs I did over there in 2019 were some of the wildest, most rocking solo shows I’ve ever done, and I expect this one will be even better. We’ve got a bunch of new tunes to play and we’re fired up! See ya soon!!!”
March 2023Tour Dates: 21st – Whelan’s, Dublin 22nd – St Luke’s, Glasgow 24th – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 25th – Band On The Wall, Manchester 26th – Thekla, Bristol 28th – Scala, London An opening act will be announced shortly. Tickets on sale now.
So much black in view, everyone was in black but the imagery on the t-shirts was very well split between all three acts due on tonight. KK’s Steelmill has become one of THE venues to go to for music of all types – tonight it […]
So much black in view, everyone was in black but the imagery on the t-shirts was very well split between all three acts due on tonight. KK’s Steelmill has become one of THE venues to go to for music of all types – tonight it was rock, rock and more rock!
The room wasn’t quite full as Phil Campbell and his Bastard Sons come on stage. He’s no stranger to these parts and the welcome was above ‘warm’. With long time friend Joel Peters, who I originally knew from his time with Fury, now at the front of the band whacking out the vocals, this was to be my initiation ceremony for PCaTBS!
With an eight-song set taking in material from the two most recent albums, Absurdity and We’re the Bastards, the band aptly kick off with We’re the Bastards and me getting the finger, much to the other photographers chagrin, from Joel! Young Mr. Peters seems to have taken well to his role as frontman and vocalist, giving the audience the ‘come 0n’ whenever he could, he really is a very good singer, I’m not sure why he’s waited so long for this opportunity; but all credit to Phil and the boys who obviously recognised the vocal quality.
I guess the two main highlights of the short set were the Motörhead staples Born to Raise Hell and, of course, Ace of Spades, which encouraged audience participation and closed the set to quite deafening cheers and applause.
It’s been a few years since I’d seen the quite manic Michael Monroe, in fact the last time was him supporting Alice Cooper in the depths of Devon in 2015. I’m sure he has a picture in his attic that ages instead of him because after seven years, he looked no different and he was as bendy as I remember. Tonight he’d been let off his chain because he must have covered the stage area many times over as he raced around pumping out fan favourites.
The band opened with One Man Gang, I Live Too Fast to Die Young and Murder the Summer of Love but the ‘undercard’ to these included Last Train To Tokyo, Malibu Beach Nightmare and Dead, Jail or Rock’n’Roll with a few others thrown in to make the audience join in which the not so young Mr. Monroe climbed on board the speaker stacks, did the splits (which always looks painful to me) and generally gave it everything he had while Steve Conte pulled faces, played guitar and sang along too. The set finished with the all-time Creedence Clearwater Classic Up Around the Bend.
It was fast approaching Black Star Riders time! This promised to be a loooooong set with 20 songs on the setlist and with Scott Gorham pencilled in as guest guitarist it was going to be interesting to see how new kid on the block, Sam Wood, taking over Scott’s guitar duties was fitting in.
This is the Riders’ 10th Anniversary and they planned to celebrate it in style. The band open with Pay Dirt, Another State of Grace then Better Than Saturday Night, all from the two most recent albums. In fact the band’s latest album, Wrong Side of Paradise, yielded several of the songs that followed and they included a rather mental version of the Osmond’s Crazy Horses, also released at their new single – Black Star Riders that is, not the Osmonds! Sam Wood seemed to be doing really rather well with a broad grin permanently on show, his skills are quite awesome.
We’re seven songs in and it’s time to bring out the ‘old warhorse’, Scott Gorham. The support for him was deafening and it was nice to see him back on stage. The band track back to their first album and play the title track, All Hell Breaks Loose followed by Bloodshot from the same album. Scott Gorham fits back in seamlessly and shows that he hasn’t lost any of his skills – I hope he can take these to realise his promise of resurrecting Thin Lizzy again.
Speaking of Thin Lizzy, it’s fitting that this little segment finishes with one of the band’s anthems; Don’t Believe a Word with Ricky Warwick being somewhat drowned out by the audience singing along.
Where Wrong Side of Paradise dominated the first half of the set it was All Hell Breaks Loose that took over for the send half. With songs like Before the War, Kingdom of the Lost and Bound for Glory on show it was again quite fitting that another Thin Lizzy favourite was scheduled; this time it was Jailbreak, which was fabulous to hear. The night was closed out with Finest Hour from The Killer Instinct album and then it was time to go home, part deaf, wholly satisfied but not before Ricky Warwick announced that there could be another ten years of this band who have shrugged off the legacy of Thin Lizzy and made a sound all of their own.
Looking around the venue on the Sunday ‘morning’ there are certainly some there who may have drunk slightly more than they anticipated they were going to the previous evening (again?), some even have facial bruising, gained apparently by successfully face planting whilst falling off the […]
Looking around the venue on the Sunday ‘morning’ there are certainly some there who may have drunk slightly more than they anticipated they were going to the previous evening (again?), some even have facial bruising, gained apparently by successfully face planting whilst falling off the benches situated outside the venue, damned good effort Sah!
Onto the music; first off is the lurgy burdened Silverkord. A description of them that I hope they’ll appreciate is, a cross between Muse & Slipknot. Today though, there is no bassist for he is a poorly soul, and listening to the frontman (Will Miles) well, he could also pass for a nuisance phone call candidate, if such a thing existed? His voice holds out and, despite being first on after a heavy night, not something anyone would relish, they deliver, and they deliver to a standard far above what I would have expected. Well done lads.
WYNT (pronounced, I am informed WINT) are next up, they are named after the Billy Wynt, which is an ancient tower situated in the area that the lads come from, that makes them ‘locals’. They put on a set that is on fire, it has everything, and more, that anyone would want from a Sunday early afternoon slot. I go about my business in the pit, then I have the luxury of being able to stand and watch the audience, all of whom are extremely appreciative of the plate placed before them. My notes on WYNT have a huge green tick by them, WYNT are certainly worthy of that in my books, go and see them, thank me later.
Sporting a Cardinal Black T-Shirt the Zac Shultz Gang frontman (Zac!) stands ready. I’m not familiar with them but, in my defence, they haven’t been around too long so I plead mainly ignorance as to why I’m not familiar? Their style is a populist rocky style with a huge dollop of blues dropped into the mix for added good measure. There’s a bit of Wilko in there as well, with some early Jake Bugg if you listen closely. I like them, and they have an energy that some bands lack, they obviously enjoy being on stage, and they are soon comfortable there. My highlight was the bluesy ‘Walk The Dog’. You will see and hear more of these lads, if you don’t then you’ll have missed out!
I guess the trousers of the next bands frontman should have told me everything that I needed to know about what I was about to witness next? Relatively tight, with a psychedelic pattern, in a shade of purple, with a vast flared bottom to them, but wait, not only the standout trousers of the weekend, but if you’re looking for the standout name from the bands then look no further, for Ladies and Gentlemen I give you The Karma Effect! An absolutely cracking name. But, it’s not all about an image and a name, a band needs to produce, and The Karma Effect pressed that button early, they certainly produced, they gave the audience something to remember for a long time to come. The opening track, ‘Wrong Again’ was swiftly followed by ‘Doubt She’s Coming Back’, with ‘Mercy’, ‘The River’, and ‘Stand’, with the awesome Testify as the final offering. Sounding modern, with some big hair rock lurking in there somewhere, The Karma Effect are most definitely going places and you would be well advised not to miss them the next time they play locally to you.
After the ‘break’ Mr. Troy Redfern stands on stage before the now packed hall. The assembled masses obviously know something that I don’t for I can sense the anticipation in the room, and from the pit I can see the eager faces. Looking every part the rock star, and displaying a hint of Johnny Depp somewhere in there, we are served a delicacy of musical delight as Mr. Redfern and his bassist, the stunning Keira Kenworthy, (formally of a band that I saw at The Drunken Monkey Rock Festival last year called Syteria), serve up, in their own inimitable style, ‘Sweet Carolina’, the fabulous ‘Come On’, ‘Dark Religion’, ‘Fever’, ’Waiting For Your Love’ before all too soon leaving us with hard hitting ‘Sanctify’. Mr Redfern is not a support act, he is the real deal, a headliner in his own right, he is, put simply, a class act.
Xander and The Peace Pirates are welcomed onto the stage by the audience like old friends. I am looking forward to seeing them for I have heard much of them, all good I hasten to add, but wait, the bar is already high after the The Karma Effect and Troy Redfern sets. Can Xander and The Peace Pirates raise it even higher, as I expect of them, or has the event peaked?
An emotional mix of mainly rock, with some added blues, played alongside a hint of soul, allied with original highly emotional self-penned lyrics mean Xander and The Peace Pirates are rightly so, audience favourites. Opening with the emotionally powerful ‘We Cry’ and with the equally overwhelming ‘Fire’ following, the audience then show their appreciation to the band.
Despite his prosthetic lower right arm Keith (frontman) plays with an extraordinary air of casualness, but don’t be misled, to be able to do so at this level is a skill of the highest quality, it will have taken more time and effort than you or I, or any other mortal being could devote to mastering it. To see this happening, to hear the results just gains more respect from me, I recognise greatness when I see it. And there should be no doubt that Keith is supported by the equally talented individuals around him, for without them…..finish the sentence?
A full on set means no one moves from where they were when the set started, the audience are enthralled. The emotional ‘Kiss Your Rain’ and the final offering, the high energy ‘Dancing in the Light’ are the signals that, for now, we have to make do with the phenomenal sights and sounds we have just witnessed, the band leave the stage to rapturous applause. I mentioned the height of the bar earlier on, Xander and The Peace Pirates have cleared the bar, and added some as far as I am concerned.
What is this I now see before me in the dark and dimmed lights of the stage? A single mic stand and a drum kit at the back? The Virginmarys are here. For those that don’t know, you do need to find out, for I cannot do their set justice in word alone. Allow me this if you will, if they can be compared, and I do strive to find a comparison, then that comparison is definitely an Artic Monkeys infused Royal Blood with the street attitude of Punk. The Virginmarys are raw, yet they are polished, they know what they are doing, and they know just how to do it! They are unique, they are full on, and I like that in my music. When Deezer adds up its statistics for me it will find there are a lot of Virginmarys tracks there!
The climatic final offering from Winters End 2023 is the Kris Barras Band. Anticipation is brewing, and the exceptions are high. I know several of my friends are ardent followers / fans of the band, I hear a lot of their music but I am a Kris Barras Band virgin, I have not seen them live before. As I stand in the pit and I watch the stage being put together I notice that there’s not to much in the way to keep band members in their allotted places, so that could mean an ‘active’ set, always a good sign, better than 3 mic stands and 3 bar stools I feel? From the off I am not disappointed, each band member gives their all from the very start, smiles and plenty of ‘posing’, for the audience of course, they are a photographers dream.
Whilst obviously a rock band the other influences are there if you divorce yourself from the moment, and you listen, yet when they are all combined they effortlessly produce a unique and distinctive sound. The Kris Barras Band are well and truly hammering on the door of greatness, soon, very soon, the door will either be opened or the band will smash their way through it to take their rightful place in the Rock Halls of Fame.
I saw Focus play live in Liverpool around the time that Focus II (aka Moving Waves) [not to be confused with Focus 11 – see below] was released . This album, and the iconic single, Hocus Pocus, got played to death during the university years […]
I saw Focus play live in Liverpool around the time that Focus II (aka Moving Waves) [not to be confused with Focus 11 – see below] was released . This album, and the iconic single, Hocus Pocus, got played to death during the university years that followed. Fifty-odd years on and they’re back again, fulfilling dates that have had to be rescheduled due to Covid. The tour takes in venues found in England, Wales & Scotland during April & June with a single Rock & Blues Festival appearance in July.
The band may have changed a bit since I saw them, with only Thijs van Leer and Pierre van der Linden remaining from the band I saw but I’m hoping the sound is the same.
Here’s the story leading up to the tour:
In 2019 Focus released their first studio album for 6 years, Focus 11, which came complete with brand new Roger Dean artwork. The year was then spent touring from South America to Japan and everywhere in between in support of the new album.
With the dawn of 2020 came the 50th anniversary of the formation of Focus. Unfortunately, celebrations had to be put on hold due to global events. 2021 brought the 50th anniversary of Moving Waves, as well as the deluxe boxset Focus50 featuring Blu-ray and CD of the Live In Rio concert and a studio re-record of all the Focus numbers.
2022 meant a return to touring and the band were delighted to be performing again! They continue the re-scheduled tour with some additional dates in April and June 2023. The timeless classics are still featuring in Hollywood blockbusters: Hocus Pocus has been featured in a global ad campaign for Nike, Top Gear and feature films such as Baby Driver, while Sylvia, and House Of The King will, of course, be on the bill… and of course some of the Focus numbers will make an appearance!
The band are Thijs van Leer (Hammond organ, flute and vocals) and Pierre van der Linden (drums), who are delighted to still be performing 50 years on, together with Menno Gootjes (guitar) and Udo Pannekeet (bass) who are among the cream of Dutch musicians and grew up with the genius of Focus. They are still excited to be getting back to their fans and returning to the stage to play the music they love with the energy and passion of a teenage band!!!!
The band has toured extensively in the UK and Europe and have the following re-scheduled and new UK dates confirmed for 2023:
Going into this review is going to be a weird one, you have three bands here that kind of differ from each other in quite a few ways but also bring each other together at the same time. We have Solstafir along with Katatonia supported […]
Going into this review is going to be a weird one, you have three bands here that kind of differ from each other in quite a few ways but also bring each other together at the same time. We have Solstafir along with Katatonia supported by Som; Katatonia have taken remorseless doom and they make everything around them beautiful. If you’re a fan of bands like Depeche Mode then this is a tour that you should’ve been at. For a Saturday night, The Ritz isn’t exactly packed but a fairly decent crowd has made their way in, to be fair the first band on the card is on fairly soon after doors opened so there isn’t much you can do. When looking through the crowd you can spot the mix of Solstafir and Katatonia shirts.
Taking the stage first to kick off the night, Som brought in a type of music that you could easily get yourself lost in, there were so many twists and turns throughout their set it was eye catching. The vibe that they had changed every now and again throughout their set, with fragile melodies and dark pounding rhythms. Sometimes it could be fairly fuzzy and distorted and then it could easily switch to being the other way around and go to clean, they’re a band that if you hadn’t listened to them before then this may throw you off the first time around. This is something you could see within the crowd, as if everyone there didn’t know what to make of what was going on around them, but by the end of their set, the crowd had erupted in cheers giving these guys an amazing nod of approval.
Solstafir was interesting to say the very least, and I’m going to say this in a good way too. They weren’t what I expected but then again I didn’t know what to really expect from this. The entire performance is atmospheric, ethereal and it brings you in as every second passes by. Over the course of this nine song set, there is not one single one that clocks in at less than six minutes. None of this feels long, these guys don’t outstay their welcome and they’re making sure that throughout this entire set, you remember this performance.
Everything starts off slow and subtle, and then they hit you with a build of girth and power. Solstafir are nothing short of extraordinary this evening, from the sides myself and several other photographers are on our feet looking at what’s going on, because it’s always something new.
For the set closer, ‘Goddess of the Ages’. Everything gets dialled up. It’s intense and atmospheric. Aoalbjorn jumps off the stage and this is the moment in the show when I watch around four security guards look honestly terrified for what they’re seeing in front of them, he then decides to balance on the very tip of the barrier like a tightrope walker. He then manages to cover the entire barrier distance, changing the hands that he’s grabbing in the crowd to keep himself up and balanced. Safe to say this was a sight to see and a way to make many members of the crew at The Ritz tonight be utterly terrified in what they’re witnessing, but it kept everyone’s eyes on him and very much entertained. But this just shows the dedication these guys have to put on such an incredible show, and it was from vocals, bass, guitar and drums all the way to stage presence alone, I really hope they keep to their word when they say they will be coming back to Manchester.
Now after that performance, I was wondering how the hell Katatonia could exactly top that, but a majority of the crowd are here for them tonight so I’m ready to see how they could do exactly that. Having just released their latest album Sky Void of Stars they have a new set of material to try out for everyone tonight.
Forsaker brings in the sing along aspect of the show, and then My Twin gets brought in their more modern hit. Now the only downside for having a joint tour is that some of the crowd come for one band and one band only, and throughout the performance you do see the crowd get gradually smaller. But that doesn’t have any effect on the band, as they go full on with their hardcore themes for those in the crowd. Untrodden and City Burials brings the main set to a gargantuan conclusion. Now for me personally, this isn’t something i could go out of my own way to listen to on a day to day, for me I find the songs a bit repetitive and they all sound pretty much the same, at times you can’t really tell a song has changed and that you’re stuck on a really long 10-15 minute track.
From the balcony you can see people loving every second, I was concerned for one fan who looked like she was close to falling over the railing when she was trying to get a closer look, as she head banged and sang along throughout the entire show. Katatonia were great, they sounded amazing for the type of music that they produce. However, in terms of stage presence, and everything combined with the performance I can’t deny that Solstafir were the key holders in terms of performance tonight. Honestly they were that good, not my music personally but I’d go along to another show just for the performance alone.
Saturdays festivities started with The Forged Hearts, who hail from Northern Ireland. They describe themselves as a ‘female fronted, classic rock inspired band’ and had travelled just to be at Winters End. The first two tracks (I Touched The Fire and Stupid Games) rattled the […]
Saturdays festivities started with The Forged Hearts, who hail from Northern Ireland. They describe themselves as a ‘female fronted, classic rock inspired band’ and had travelled just to be at Winters End. The first two tracks (I Touched The Fire and Stupid Games) rattled the addled brain cells of those pissheads who were still hanging from the Friday eve, to those of us who were ‘sober’ it was pleasure to witness their all too short set, a mere 6 tracks, all of which made me sit up and take notice. For a ‘new’ band the Hearts story is only just beginning, all I can say is, stay tuned, or you’ll miss some diamonds!
Next up are Untamed Silence, another female fronted band. As I return to the pit Debbie Wade (their singer) is prowling the stage, it is obvious she is ready to roll, (you can almost she her thinking “I’m ready, why aren’t you!”), this I am looking forward to, there are definitely no egos hiding anywhere here, this is going to be raw, it has the makings of something special……the MC appears on stage and sidles up to Debbie, that was his first mistake, his second one in a matter of seconds was to look at Debbie and say into his mic, “are you ready then?”. Debbie looks him up and down and immediately retorts with “….you’re obviously not!”, the audience greet this with a well-deserved cheer. A swift polite lesson learnt introduction and we’re off…..we’re treated to such gems as Long Time Dead / The Power / Rise and finally Deadspeak. Untamed Silence aren’t tame, and they aren’t silent, and I wasn’t disappointed; this was something special, I count myself fortunate to have seen (and heard) Untamed Silence, and as the lighting fairy didn’t visit overnight, with some decent lighting I’d like to photograph them again!
Alice Freya who fronts Last Flight to Pluto (the next band on) is, as she tells us, ”from just down the road”. Alice is a petite lady, her guitar is almost as big as she is, BUT, judge on that at your peril, Alice’s voice soon brings you back to earth. Last Flight aren’t a classic heavy rock band, they give you a more refined sound, their appearance is deceiving, and I think they are somewhere nearing V1, take off speed to you and I. Their journey will see them become even more refined and they WILL ‘find’ that Last Flight signature sound.
Austin Gold! Now there’s a name. I had absolutely no idea what to expect from them. Hailing from Peterborough Austin Gold aren’t the new boys in school, they’ve been around a while. Long enough in fact to have released 3 albums, the latest (Those City Lights) of which was released last Nov. We are treated to a bluesy, soul style of rock music, something rather refreshing, and something that will propel Austin Gold to the forefront of their industry in very quick time. The third track of the set ‘Cut & Run’ (which is on the album) gets my attention, I do like that, you need to hear it! The set ends with the punchy 2019 track We Are Lightning. Since the festival I’ve played it countless times, it is now another of my particular Gold favourites, and perhaps a track you shouldn’t drive to!
Up next is a band, originally from Switzerland, but now it appears London based, they are called Daxx & Roxane. These guys are full of character, they aren’t scared of a lens being pointed in their direction, in fact I’m sure they would be offended if you didn’t actually point a lens at them! Their music is full on; imagine music played by the bastard son of Motley Crue (insert any class rock music bands name here if you must!) and a groupie, a son who has inherited the musical talents of his father without trying too much? Music is a God given talent to Daxx & Roxane, it flows effortlessly via their instruments and their fingers allowing them time to engage with the audience and with the couple of photographers somewhere in the depths of the pit……”Pit Monkeys’, as I was once eloquently described by an ex friend, one who also doesn’t understand fish and gravy! Anyway I digress, Daxx & Roxane bring life to the room, if you’re in the room then you have no choice, they rock hard, they rock heavy, and they expect a reaction from those lucky enough to be in their presence! Don’t forget the name!
A quick set change and band that I need no introduction to are next on stage, that band is the formidable Cardinal Black. If you have seen and heard them then skip this bit, for I will not be able to find the words to do them justice. If you haven’t seen or heard of them then please tell me why? How have you missed such masters of their profession? Talent oozes from their very pores, they produce sounds that I’m convinced that the Gods listen to on a regular basis; in fact if they weren’t No 1 on the playlist of all of the ‘Gods’ that frequent the skies above us I’d want to know why? I will bang on no longer, do yourself a huge favour and go and find out all about, and listen to, Cardinal Black, you will thank me!
Oli Brown & The Dead Collective. Oli is the former frontman of RavenEye who has gone rogue, he’s gone out on his own, and from my point of view rightly so, he has an exceptional talent, one that cannot be hidden away, not even for a moment. With Sam Wood (think Black Star Riders and Wayward Sons) playing second guitar and no dedicated bassist the Dead Collective get the proceedings under way. We don’t know it yet, but we are about to witness something of such magnitude that it will (if you were there) have a lasting effect on yr musical life. From the very off this is ‘DIFFERENT’, this is good, very good, both musically and visually. I say visually as it appears a grownup has taken charge of the lighting for this set, the lighting enhances and shows off the band, there is mood to the lighting, it’s in the right place, and at the right time. The population of the pit along with the first few rows of the audience aren’t having their retinas burnt out this time!
Both Oli and the Dead Collective are enjoying this, you can sense it, you can see they are, it’s written in smiles between themselves. It’s all over far too soon for my liking, it was polished and it was very professional, there is so much more to come from this new set up, mark my words.
The Saturday headliners the Von Hertzen Brothers are 3 brothers (strangely, as the name rightly suggests) who have Finnish roots. It didn’t take long for me to realise they posses musical skills that any ‘normal’ human wouldn’t know what to do with. Opening with Day of Reckoning (which starts somewhat quietly) before smacking you around the head for not paying attention, and leading into the fabulous Blue Forest as the second offering.
If their music is a reflection of life experiences then the brothers have lived a varied set of lives, lives which have given them perfect starting blocks from which to launch their musical onslaught on to us. Track titles such as Flowers and Rust, and Frozen Butterflies are delivered perfectly, with very few tracks with lengths under 5 mins then you certainly get your Euros worth. We are treated to 14 tracks in total. All are unique and all are fabulous. New Day Rising is a particular favourite of mine. Ending with Peace Patrol you can see why they are the headliners tonight.
Sat back in the caravan mulling over what I’d just seen (in the company of Mr JD Fire & Cherry Coke once again) prior to retiring for the evening I thought to myself, if I had to ask myself a bona fide question about the Von Hertzen Brothers and what I’d just witnessed what would I ask myself? The question would be, very simply, describe their music? The genuine answer to that is….music best played loud!