Cadence Noir – A Reckless Endeavour EP

Cadence Noir – A Reckless Endeavour EP
Release Date: 19/06/2020
Running Time: 24:32
Review By Beth Jones

As we approach summer the days are getting warmer, the nights are drawing out, and the sun has currently got his hat firmly on, and what better way to celebrate this than will a good bit of Gothic Folk ‘n’ Roll! It’s time to put on your best crushed velvet cravat, crack open a bottle of red and find a shady patch, because the new Cadence Noir EP is about to drop (Well in a month or more, but who’s counting – every day’s Thingday at the moment, right? 🙃).

These guys have now been around for almost a decade, but our history with them is more recent, in part. From stumbling upon them a few years ago, then discovering that frontman Ade was a childhood friend who I’d not seen for nigh on 30 years, to watching them progress and win the North Wales M2TM in 2018, a year which also saw the release of their debut full length album, “Physical Copy”. Since then, we’ve seen them a good few more times, and now welcome the release of their second EP.

Recorded in somewhat odd, but sensibly socially distant circumstances, due to the current plague situation, “A Reckless Endeavour” sees the band finally getting the last of their old tracks formally put to press, along with some ‘new’ tracks. I say new, as some of these have been concepts for a good while, but like a fine wine, have been maturing to give them that true vintage flavour. Releasing this EP now leaves them time to, as their press release says, ‘focus on writing entirely new terrible material as the still immature late 30’s angsty millennial lefty goths that they are, were and always will be!’

“A Reckless Endeavor” is very much what we’ve come to know and love about Cadence Noir; a jaunty hop, skip and jump through the suitably dark and disturbed! With deep routes in folk sounds, enhanced by Violinist Emma Bennett, along with the raspy vocal style of Ade Perrie, the solid guitar work of Ade and Nick Chamberlain, and the steady hands of Tom Smith on Bass and David Budge on Drums, this EP is a catchy mix of happy Goth Punk-Folk Celtic Thrash Pop metal, with a couple of surprises thrown in. Drums is all I’m saying. You’ll have to have a listen, but… Hey Yeah! Drums.

Music wise, this is Cadence Noir through and through and it makes you smile with your eyebrows. However, where I think they have upped their game is in the recording, and given the circumstances, that is a pretty awesome achievement. The mix on this EP is spot on – so kudos for that. Will it realign the universe and unite the nations? Doubtful, but it is bloody good fun, musically pleasing, conceptually solid, well recorded, and will get your toes tapping. You can’t really ask more than that. Personally, I think this is their best release yet. Check it out.

1. Weighing Owls
2. Hammered And Sickened
3. A Reckless Endeavour
4. Down The Park
5. My Place
6. Dave’s Turnip Tart
7. Hey Yeah (Secret Track)

Adrien Perrie – Guitar and Vocals
Nick Chamberlain – Guitar and Backing Vocals
Tom Smith – Bass
Emma Bennett – Violin
David Budge – Drums and Percussion


By Beth Jones

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

Cry For Mercy – Automatic Breakdown EP

Cry For Mercy – Automatic Breakdown EP
Release Date: 26/03/2020
Running Time: 15:36
Review by Beth Jones

Lockdown is still upon us, unsurprisingly I may add. It could have been horrific, but thankfully the kids are finding ways to amuse themselves, and any time is wine o’clock here at EMHQ! We’re keeping ourselves busy with all the new releases that are still appearing, in spite of the sucky nature of the world outside our windows. Within this ever-expanding list was the new EP from one of our local favourites, Cry For Mercy.

After having a really good run in the 2019 Metal 2 The Masses competition, and making a bit of a name of themselves locally as a very talented and catchy blues rock band, these three down to earth guys aren’t letting lockdown stop them from putting new music out there. The release of this EP was supposed to happen in physical form, but was instead released digitally. Although checking on their Facebook page, they do now have physical copies.

So, to the music! This is their second EP release, and after really enjoying their first, I was very eager to give this one a spin. At only 4 tracks and a little over 15 minutes, it’s a short burst of what the Cry For Mercy boys can do, but in terms of the songs, it is concentrated goodness! Each track has a great swinging blues rock feel, with cracking riffs, some really smooth guitar solos, and gravelly vocals making it the perfect soundtrack to a road trip through a dusty sun-bleached dessert in Nevada (after lockdown is lifted of course – currently please stay at home, etc, etc).

In terms of production, this EP is a big step up from their first release. I love it when you can see measurable progress in a band, and this is demonstrated perfectly here. The balance of every instrument in the mix is spot on, and the timings and ‘togetherness’ of everything really shows the progress they have made in terms of being tight in performance in order to create a fully gelled sound.

I particularly like the second track, ‘Skin Crawl’ as it has some great dynamic variations, progressing through full on vocal harmonies and crunchy chords, to a softer vocal and fingerpicked guitar section, which then picks up again into the very catchy chorus!

These guys have a very classic sound. A mix of Mama’s Boys, with some early AC/DC, and a good hit of deep-south groove, which is easy and pleasurable to listen to, and always makes me smile. Another great release guys, now get cracking on an album please, because 15 minutes just isn’t enough for me!

1. Automatic Breakdown
2. Skin Crawl
3. Fire
4. Breaking Down The Walls

Kevin Plant – Bass/Lead Vocals
Andy Cutty – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Steven Taylor – Drums


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

The Machine By Beth Jones

Here is another short story from Beth that was published and included in a short story anthology last year, with all proceeds going to charity. If you would like to purchase a copy, you can do so here:

The Machine
By Beth Jones

‘Injuries not compatible with life’.

That phrase was running around my head relentlessly as I sat in the waiting area of the therapist’s office, watching the rain make little rivers down the window before falling silently onto the ledge below. This was my first therapy session after the accident. Or at least I think it was. I wasn’t really sure of much. I might have been here before, but there was definitely a glitch in the matrix of my mind that was blocking out random things; who won the world cup in 1966, what that place was called that I went to on holiday when I was four, and what I had for breakfast on the day of the accident to name but a few. I had replayed that day in my head a hundred times, but always only to the same point, then nothing. Why couldn’t I remember?! ‘Injuries not compatible with life…we need to stop this…we are going to turn the machine off now…you need to let him go…injuries not compatible with life…’

I jolted as the receptionist touched me on the shoulder. Tried not to look like I had just woken up from another dark daydream. ‘Pasha will see you now’, she said, trying not to look amused at my startled glare.

Pasha didn’t really look like a therapist. He was tall, chiselled and wore a snappy suit that made him look a little overdressed for a therapy session. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure why I was here – why did I need therapy? I wasn’t depressed, I wasn’t mentally ill, I was just having a little trouble with my memory after the accident – I think something had got jolted in my brain, some wires had got crossed and accidentally deleted some stuff, but I was functioning. Pasha ushered me in and directed me to a large green leather wing backed armchair that enveloped me as I sat. He watched my every move with intensity. There was a pause before I realised that I was holding my breath. I exhaled and tried to look relaxed – lesson one, don’t look like a psychopath when sitting in a therapist’s chair. Silence.

‘So’, he said finally ‘I have read your file. You have had a pretty rough ride. How are you feeling?’

I wasn’t sure how to answer this, because I wasn’t sure how I was feeling. I was getting used to being still here I suppose. Everything still looked the same. Everything was still the same as before. I think.

‘Yeah, good, you know, just adjusting to life’, I said quickly, not wanting to let my guard down. ‘To be honest I’m not sure why they sent me to therapy, because I feel OK. I don’t have any pain, I’m not really suffering in any way, which is surprising considering what they told me in the hospital about how bad it was. The only problem I seem to have is with my memory. It’s a bit…sketchy’.

‘Tell me about that’, Pasha said calmly, touching his index fingers together at his chin.

‘Well, I seem to have lost bits, little things that have just gone, and then from the day of the accident, there’s nothing. Little bits maybe, but nothing that makes any sense. I remember coming round in the hospital. I remember how quiet it was. But I don’t remember leaving. I remember the face of the specialist who saved my life, Dr Yanich, but I don’t remember what he was a Dr of, or how he saved my life, and then….’ I paused. That phrase was running around my head again. Injuries not compatible with life. What did that even mean? Why was I obsessing on it?

‘Please continue’, said Pasha. His face seemed concerned. I didn’t like this, it suddenly felt wrong. Maybe this was progress, this was the first emotion I could remember feeling in a long time.

‘Can I just nip out, nature calls’. Oh my god, did I actually just say that – that is such a lame way of getting out of an uncomfortable situation.

‘By all means – you are free to come and go as you choose, how you use this session is up to you’.

I hurried out of the room, not quite sure why I was freaking out, but something wasn’t right. If only I could remember emotions properly, maybe I would make more sense of this whole thing. I didn’t need the loo, I just didn’t want to be in there all of a sudden. Pasha wasn’t right, this whole thing wasn’t right. The receptionist glanced at me over the top of her computer monitor. It was kind of an odd look, but she didn’t move. I stood outside the door of the room and listened. I don’t really know why, but something compelled me to. For a minute or two there was nothing, then I heard a telephone speed dial. There was a brief pause, then came Pasha’s voice, in a low tone.

‘Yanish, it’s me. Yeah, he is here with me now. No, he’s not in the room with me, what do you take me for! I haven’t got far, but I think we have a problem. He remembers your face. He remembers the lab. You said that you had erased the memory. This could be catastrophic, and you know who the agency will blame, Yanish?! You need to fix this!!’

He hung up the phone as I strode back into the room. I smiled the best ‘blissfully unaware’ smile that I could muster. What the hell had that conversation been about? Something was very wrong about this whole situation. Who was this Pasha? What was this office? I needed to go.

‘Ah, better?’ asked Pasha, an odd, twisted smile on his face.

‘Yeah, much’, I said quickly. ‘Listen can we do this another day, I’m really tired today – I guess I’m still getting my strength back’.

‘Erm……sure’, he said, moving to the door, ‘just call me again soon, I want to keep a close eye on your progress.’


I arrived home about an hour later. The traffic was all messed up again. The bus ride had taken so much longer than usual, and it was full of angry people late for meetings. There had been mutterings on the bus of another attack. I turned on the TV and sure enough the rumours were confirmed with wall to wall news. Another attack on the capital, the 38th this year, had taken place whilst I had been sat in that office. This time it was a bus into a crowd of people. The newsreaders were all describing the loss of life in too much detail, with a split screen of pro war demonstrations outside the parliament building. You had to admit that by this point, they kind of had a point. The country was under attack! How long could we stand by and let it happen. I sat in my chair and watched the story repeat on a loop every minute. I wasn’t really watching though. I was trying to make sense of the session with Pasha. What was it all about; the phone call, the smart suit, the receptionist? It just wasn’t right.

Injuries not compatible with life. What was that?

“………How many have we lost captain?! I need these figures now!!!”

“Sir, twenty-two sir, and four civilians. We have two crew and two civilians down, children sir. Injuries not compatible with life, sir!”

“Where are they?! Take me to them now!!”

“……………There is nothing more we can do for them, colonel, we are going to have to turn off the machines………….”

“…………. We have to make this disappear colonel. These men; our men. These children. None of this was meant to happen. This. Their blood is on our hands. Fix this. Do you understand?!”


I jumped awake to a loud banging on my door. It was a little after 8pm. How long had I been out? I sprang up from my seat and moved to the door, checking the peephole nervously. Eve, the receptionist from the therapist’s office – what was she doing here? How did she even know were I lived? I opened the door and she looked at me straight in the eye, as she had done in the office. I knew what that look was now. What emotion it showed. Fear.

‘Don’t say anything, just let me in…. Please!’ she whispered.

I moved to the side and let her come past me, glancing around instinctively. I shut the door and turned to look at her. She was standing firm, but I could see her hands were shaking, her arm outstretched, holding a file. In the top corner the number 39 was written.

‘This is your file. This is you. I know you are different. I know you remember; I saw that today. Please, read this.’ I started to speak, but she cut me off. ‘Please! Please just read. We don’t have much time!’

I moved towards her and took the file out of her hand. Placing it on the coffee table, I sat and opened it. The first page was a mugshot of me, with my name printed underneath – John Edward Harris. My heart lurched. That was my name! I hadn’t been able to remember it since the accident. I mean it had been there on the tip of my tongue, but I could never get it to come out. I don’t remember anyone ever addressing me directly since the accident either. What was this. I turned the page and skimmed the summary ………battalion………civilian reconnaissance…… navigation error………IED……casualties………INJURIES NOT COMPATIBLE WITH LIFE…………Subject 39…………reanimation commenced. The report was signed Dr Pavlov Yanich – Chief Homo-robotics Research Engineer. I felt sick. What was this?!

Eve touched my arm and I leapt a mile out of my chair, like a startled cat. I had almost forgotten she was there. So many thoughts and emotions were filling my mind all at once, it was like a dam breaking down. My friends in the battalion, the sands of the desert, my colonels face, then…yes… England! England won the world cup in 66! Some fans are on the pitch; They think it’s all over: It is now! It was Spain where I went on holiday at four – Barcelona. My mum held me up in the pool so I could pretend I was swimming. I took my wife there for our honeymoon …wait, what?! My wife?!! I have a wife! She was there! She was there when I died. I remember her cries. Oh my god my beautiful wife, Shannon, she turned off the machine! She had to say goodbye to me…

I fell backwards into the chair as if I had been shot. My whole body felt contorted and wrong. WHAT WAS THIS?!!! This nightmare. Who was I and how had I not remembered all this before? I could hear myself wailing and moaning, the room spinning round me like a merry-go-round. As if in a dream, I saw Eve come towards me, brandishing a screwdriver. I instinctively put my arm up to cover my face as she plunged the weapon and drew it down my forearm like a knife through butter. I cried out in pain… But it didn’t hurt! In that moment, time stopped, and everything was still. I looked up at Eve, her eyes wet with tears.

‘I’m sorry’, she sobbed. ‘I had to make you see!’

I looked down at my arm, where the screwdriver was still lodged. There was no blood, although my skin was ripped in a 5-inch gash. Under the skin I could see something glinting in the light from the TV. I reached out my hand and pulled back a fold of skin and was greeted by metal. Circuits and wires took the place of flesh and bones. I continued to pull back the skin, expecting to feel pain with each movement, but feeling nothing, but cold, dark dread.

We sat in silence for a long time. Then finally, as dawn broke, Eve spoke.

‘You are part of a programme now. A multi – national specialist weapons unit, sanctioned by many governments, in secret, to instigate war. They used your body as a transport system for terror. They want to start a war, and the only way they can do that in democracy is to have the people behind them. They have got the people behind them through terror. These terrorist attacks. They aren’t real. This is them. These terrorists. They are all like you. They had no more use for their bodies. They were broken beyond repair. They fixed you. They brought you back. But for their own means’.

I tried to take this in. This couldn’t be real. ‘No, no, no! You have got this all wrong!’ I said, bewildered. ‘I was in an accident, but I recovered, I just suffer from amnesia!’

‘No!’ snapped Eve sharply. ‘You are suffering from parts of your living memory coming back! They were supposed to erase it, but yours has broken back through! That is why I found you!! I saw that today in the office – I knew you remembered! You have to help me. They are using you, and others to start a war. They will vote on it in days, unanimously between the main governments, and it will be the final war. This could be the end of us all. I have seen their experiments, their reanimations. They have used you. They have used us all to gain power!’

She slipped a photograph into my hand. A young boy of about 8 years old. ‘Please help me, they have my son.’ She said. I looked at the picture. I recognised the boy. He was the boy I held in my arms as the IED exploded.

‘He’s alive?!’ I asked hurriedly.

Eve nodded, tears flowing down her cheeks. ‘They are using him as ransom. I continue to co-ordinate their attacks, they keep him alive, I stop, he becomes the next attacker. Please, we don’t have much time. You are number 39, but you have remembered! Please help me stop this.’

I paused. Clarity descended on me. I still had so many unanswered questions, but there was no time. I was a machine. But I was no longer their machine. Because a machine doesn’t feel. Science was good, but not that good. I was a soldier, and this was not happening on my watch. I stood and moved to the door. I looked back at Eve.

‘Take me to Yanich! Take me to Pasha! They want a war – I will show them war.’

Disclaimer: This short story is solely the property of Beth Jones. 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.

Red Method – For The Sick

Red Method – For The Sick
Depraved Records
Release Date: 25/02/2020
Running Time: 46:13
Review by Beth Jones

Hello fellow isolators! How’s it all going?! Weird times are upon us, but thankfully using the power of music, (and soap), we’re getting through it, right? The fact that there are no gigs to attend is a double edged sword for me, because I’m not out there doing what I love – taking pictures of wonderful musicians – however it does afford me the time to actually write some album reviews – every cloud!

And what better way to get back into the swing of things than with a good hit of Red Method, in the shape of their debut album, “For The Sick”. If you’ve not come across Red Method yet, why the hell not? Have you been living under a rock?! We first had our minds blown by the quality of these guys at Rabidfest 2019. They were easily my live band of that weekend, and I was very intrigued to find out how their sound would transfer to a recorded format.

They meld a lot of styles in their music, barraging through classic Death riffs and vocals, seasoned with some 90’s Grunge, and beefed out with modern Heavy Progressive Tech Metal. It’s a horrifically glorious cacophony of post-apocalyptic madness that makes me want to do a happy dance! I bloody love it! In the current climate, it seems incredibly apt too! And the answer to the question, “Does it transfer to recorded format?” A big, fat ‘abso-fucking-lutely it does’!!

Thumping drums playing ridiculously involved patterns, equally tricky fuzzed out bass and guitars, haunting samples, and a combination of clean vocals and powerful screams make the whole album an intense journey of discordant pleasure/pain. Every tune is incredibly complex in structure, and all have nods to the bands’ obvious influences, creating a sound that’s familiar, but unknown all at the same time. I may be sounding like I’m losing my mind here, but I promise you that you’ll know what I mean if you give this album a listen!

It’s bleak, its apocalyptic, it feels like a tortured descent into insanity, but it is absolutely impossible to stop listening to it halfway through, and that’s the mark of a good album in my book! You simply can’t stay still while listening either. I dare you to try! The pace and emotion generated by the whole album literally infects your entire body. Again topical! But this is a good virus that I recommend everyone catches. This album is, after all, “For The Sick”!

I can’t really pick a track that stands out, because they are all absolute barnstormers! But I will just mention the final track on the album, as it’s a brilliant nod to the bands’ grunge influences, in the shape of a cover of the Nirvana classic, ‘Heart Shaped Box’. Here, they have taken a notable tune, and reinvented it into something fresh, new, and perfectly matching their style. They created this track to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the release of “In Utero”, which in my humble opinion, was Nirvana’s finest album. Red Method’s version is a fine and very fitting tribute.

As I’m so completely blown away by “For The Sick”, you might be wondering why I’ve only scored it a 9 out of 10. Well, and I’m being uber picky here, the second track, ‘Split’, commits one of the cardinal sins of music in my opinion – a fade out at the end. ARRRRGH!!!  If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll know that I don’t let anyone get away with it!! Think of a way to finish the song!! Apart from that, this is an absolutely top-quality album written and performed by very talented and skilled musicians, who are destined for great things. Get yourself a copy, you won’t regret it!

1. Cycle Of Violence
2. Split
3. Messiah
4. The Narcissist’s Prayer
5. Ideology Of The Sick
6. Adriel
7. Euphoria Of Transformation
8. My Psychosis
9. The Absent
10. Heart Shaped Box (Nirvana Cover)

Jeremy Gomez – Vocals
Fred Myers – Drums
David Finn Tobin – Guitars and Backing Vocals
Will Myers – Bass
Quinton Lucion – Guitars
Alex Avdis – Keys and Backing Vocals


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

Jack And The Box – By Beth Jones

Here’s another short story for you, this time penned by Beth. This was included in a short story anthology, with all proceeds going to charity. If you would like to purchase a copy, you can do so here:

Jack And The Box
By Beth Jones

Sarah closed the front door, resting her head on it as she did so. She exhaled and closed her eyes, tears rolling gently down her cheeks. After a few minutes she turned to look at her house. It looked cold, dark and unloved. Slowly, she slouched through the door to the lounge, and on into the kitchen beyond. She needed a brew. If there was one thing that could make things look better, it was a good cup of tea! That was what Old Jack used to say to her anyway, so she figured she would put his theory to the test. She filled the kettle and went to the fridge for milk. To her dismay, it was curdled and congealed in the see-through plastic bottle, and the fridge smelled like something had died in there. She sighed, rolled her eyes, and lumbered back towards the lounge, flicking the kettle off as she passed.

She sat in her comfy chair, where Old Jack used to sit when he came around for chats, and pulled a crocheted blanket round her shoulders. She hadn’t felt this alone in a long time. The sense of being totally lost and unsure what to do swept over her; something she hadn’t felt since her childhood. For a while, she sat motionless, staring at nothing, thinking about Old Jack and what she could focus on now he was gone. She had been so busy caring for him for the last two years, she had almost forgotten how to do anything else. When he was taken into hospital, she’d been with him every day, trying to keep him in high spirits, trying desperately to keep him fighting on, but they both knew he was dying, and that it was only a matter of time.

It was only a few hours since he passed, but the desperate need to see him again was like a black hole devouring her insides. He’d told her not to worry, that everything was going to be ok and that he was happy to be going home. Happy that the pain would stop, for both of them. But her pain hadn’t stopped, because now it was the pain of loss. The pain that takes away your breath and seers through your head, forcing every last tear that you own to come out all at once.

The last fifteen years, living next door to Old Jack, had been the happiest and most fulfilled she had ever been. She had no-one else in the world apart from him. She’d been in the care system since from eighteen months old. Both her parents were addicts and had died of drug overdoses while she was asleep in her cot. Apparently, it was at least 24 hours later when the police found her. She was placed into care as her grandparents were alcoholics. She spent the next sixteen years being pushed from pillar to post, from care home to foster carer. She had blocked out most of those years; the emotional scars too deep to face. Throughout that time, no matter how hard it was, she’d always been determined that her horrible past wouldn’t define her. She tried hard in school and ended up a ‘straight A’ student. She’d won awards for her hard work in the face of adversity, and for her achievement in Maths and Science. She had always been fascinated by scientific discovery. Physics was magical for her; like a playground of mystery where nothing was beyond the realms of possibility! When she was too old for the care system, her stubborn determination drove her to make a go of life as a fully blown, fully functioning adult. Social services had helped her locate a house – nothing special, a little two up, two down terraced. That was when she met Old Jack, her next-door neighbour. From that day, those childhood scars had started to heel. Now they felt wide open again.

Jack had been the closest thing she’d ever had to a father figure. She managed a little smile as she remembered the first time she’d met him. He’d knocked on her door the day she moved in and given her a welcoming present of a jar of coffee, a pint of milk, and a bag of sugar. She had told him, quite bluntly, that she didn’t like coffee! He had tutted and shuffled back to his door, then two minutes later had come back with a bottle of Navy Rum and two glasses! They had both sat on boxes and got acquainted over some very large measures. They instantly hit it off, as Jack had been a scientist all his life! She found him fascinating, and pretty soon it got to the point where they were always together, Jack sharing many wonderful stories with her, and her hanging on his every word, making tea in the gaps between stories, then urging him to tell her more.

He had once told her how he’d been a codebreaker in the war. She had her reservations as to whether this was true; it felt like it was just one story too far, but by then she had so much love and respect for this wonderful human who had fallen into her life so unexpectedly, that she never questioned it.

Suddenly, a familiar sound came from the meter cupboard in the hall, and everything went dark. The sound was the electric metre shutting off because she was out of credit again. She swore under her breath. She really didn’t need this now! She was too tired and numbed by the day to go out and get more, so she fumbled about on the mantlepiece for a lighter and lit the numerous candles she had dotted around the lounge for this very occurrence. The warm glow from all the little lights was somewhat comforting.

Then she saw it on the mantlepiece. The letter that Jack had given her when he knew he was beginning to fade. It came with strict instructions not to open it until he was gone, and it had sat there, in the same spot, for nearly six months. She stared at it for what felt like hours, hoping that it would disappear. Wishing she would never have to open it, but still slightly intrigued at its contents. Jack literally told her everything, so what could this little envelope contain that she didn’t already know?

Finally, she picked it off the mantlepiece and began to slowly open it, her hands shaking a little. Jack had the most amazingly precise handwriting she had ever seen; perfectly slanted cursive script, with every letter beautifully formed, and even when his health had started to fail and he’d grown weak, this skill never left him.

            “Dearest Sarah,

The fact you are reading this can only mean one thing. Don’t be sad that I’m no longer here – I’m not in the least bit sad that I have gone! Nor am I worried about what is to come next. For me, I should imagine it will be an extraordinary adventure! I might be flying though space as you read this; or growing into a coral on a far away planet, in a parallel universe, so have no fear for me. I am an explorer, and death is a mere diversion onto a new path!

I am also not worried about you, because you are strong, you are brave, and you are bright. More importantly, you are young. You have your whole life ahead of   you, and you shouldn’t dwell on my passing because to dwell is to waste time, and you will need all the time you can get to work on a project that I have designed just for you.

I always dreamed I would have a daughter, and in you, that dream was realised. I sometimes felt you thought more like me than I did, and this is why I am entrusting you with my unfinished work. I know you never believed my codebreaker story, but I want you to know that whilst my story was not entirely true, it did contain elements of the truth.

I was born and raised in Nevada. I did fight in the war for a very short time. I was an engineer in US military, until I was injured on manoeuvres and sent home! I took up a roll within the military on my return, working alongside intelligence to identify and replicate advancements in our enemies’ weapons. In 1957 I was working in the Nevada Dessert, at Groom Lake. You might know this place as Area 51.

What I’m about to tell you, you must never tell another soul! You are the only person to know this about me. This is the reason I never married or had any children of my own. If I had done, I would have put them in danger.

In 1957, the ever-suspicious US air force were working on secret technology, to enable them to create indestructible and undetectable fighting machines, to ensure that there would never be another war that they couldn’t win in the blink of an eye. They wanted to affirm their authority over the rest of the planet in a blaze of glory. The technology they were using there was not of this world. You’ve heard the Roswell stories; the conspiracies; the ‘loony’ UFO chaser tales. I can tell you now, they are all as real as the ground on which you stand, but the cover-ups have run so deeply that it is almost impossible to see things in plain sight now.

As a scientist, I was enthralled and enlivened by the idea of discovering and replicating alien technology, but as a human being, with deep morals, I knew that this knowledge was ultimately destined to be used for greed and power, and I could not live with myself being a part of that. I spent months planning my escape; my own exile from that place. I worked through scenarios and theories endlessly before making my move. That is how I ended up here, in our little town, in the back of beyond, our little secret corner of Britain.

My point in telling you this is I brought something with me. I managed to smuggle it out. I found it whilst picking through some pieces of wreckage debris that had been shipped in from Roswell. It had been passed over by the other scientists as insignificant, so much so that it hadn’t been recorded on any paperwork. So, when I took it, the only person who really knew of its existence was me.

I don’t know why it intrigued me so, but there was something about it that led me to think it was some kind of technology. Some kind of machine not of this world. No bigger that a match box, and with no markings or obvious buttons, I often thought I might be reading too much into it and it was just what it looked – a lump of unknown matter. A chunk of ‘stuff’ that wasn’t man-made or made out of any identifiable material. For years I puzzled over it. Right up until 15 years ago. Right up until the point I met you. I decided pretty quickly this would be my legacy to you.

I want you to have it. I want you to crack the code. Unlock its secrets and come tell me when you have. I have no doubt that you will be more capable of this than I, and although I may have left this earth, this existence; and you will have no physical ‘me’ to deliver your conclusion to, trust me when I say I will hear you.

Inside this envelope, you will find a small key. Take it into my house. Behind the fire in the lounge you’ll find a small safe behind a wood panel. The object, and my research papers, are in there. They now belong to you. Carry on my work Sarah. you now hold the key to the universe in your hand!

Until we meet again, Sarah.

Jack x”

Sarah didn’t really know what to say or do next. She kept looking up at the window, then back at the letter, suddenly feeling suspicious of everything. Was anyone watching? Had her house been bugged by some secret agency while she was at the hospital with Jack? Or was this just one of his crazy, mad science stories? She looked in the envelope. There was a small and dainty key nestled in the bottom corner. No, this couldn’t possibly be real, this must be one of Jacks little musings to cheer her up, she thought. She looked up at the ceiling and cursed him under her breath. She placed the key on the mantlepiece and sat back down in the chair. She drummed her fingers on the arm of the chair and fixed her stare on the key, which was glinting in the candlelight. After not too long at all, her curiosity got the better of her. Thumping her hands down assertively on the arms of the chair, she pushed herself up, grabbed the key, and fumbled in her pocket for Jack’s front door key.

It was nearly midnight and the rest of the sleepy road was tucked up in bed by now, even the curtain-twitchers would be snoring, so no-one would see her if she went round to Jack’s for a little investigation, to see if her dear, crazy friend was just pulling her leg for one last time!

She opened her door, and stuck out her head, looking up and down the street, trying (but failing) not to appear too suspicious. There wasn’t a soul about. Perfect! She tiptoed the few feet to Jack’s front door and quickly let herself in. Although it was pitch dark, she didn’t want to turn on the lights and raise any suspicion. Luckily, the clouds of earlier had cleared and moonlight was streaming though the lounge window, illuminating the room with an ethereal glow. She padded silently to the fire place. The house smelled of Jack. It was a comforting smell, like he was there with her, a protector on her new mission!

She moved the old electric fire over and gently tapped on the ‘wall’ behind it. Definitely hollow! She suddenly realised that her heart was beating fast, and that all her senses were heightened. The super power of adrenaline! She quickly surveyed the wall, looking for a way to dislodge the board. There! In the corner, was a tiny cut-out space, big enough for her finger to fit through! She slowly pushed her finger into the hole and felt something small, round and metallic. She pushed a little harder and, with a little pop, the whole panel moved and inch forward! She had to give it to Jack – a spring loaded secret panel behind a fire was pretty cool for a guy of his age! Slowly, she took away the panel, and sure enough, there was the safe. She put the tiny key in the lock and turned. It was a little stiff; the mechanism was obviously old, but eventually it gave a little click, which made her jump! Carefully, she opened the door, and there it was. A small, grey, metallic looking object, no bigger than a matchbox, sitting on top of a thesis of paperwork, all in the same beautiful cursive script that Jack had used to write his final letter. She sat back and stared, her eyes bulging. She had just opened Pandora’s Box. Her head swam with ideas, emotions, theories, fears. She took a deep breath and reached in to the safe to remove the contents.


Sarah got up at six the next morning. She hadn’t really slept all night if she was honest. Way too much buzzing round her head for sleep. When she’d got back in from Jack’s, she’d done what all scientists do; taken the ‘Machine of Unknown Origin’, as she was now calling it, to bed with her, put it under her pillow and had a good long puzzle over it instead of counting sheep. By 2am she was pacing her room reading the stack of theories that Jack had left with the MUO to try and find something he’d missed. A few hours later, she lay back down. So many questions had occurred to her. What was it made of? Where had it come from? What had Jack seen in it that made it special? Hell, was this even a real thing or was this just Jack trying to give her a project to focus on, so she didn’t miss him too much? If that was it, it wasn’t working. The hole in her heart felt bigger today than yesterday. It felt gaping.

She slowly padded down the stairs to the kitchen and placed the MUO on the work top by the sink. She flicked on the kettle and moved to the fridge, to get the milk, sleepily picking it out, holding it up to the light, and realising that it was the same curdled mess that had greeted her last night. Angrily, she wrenched off the lid and moved back to the sink to dispose of the putrid mess. Through her exhausted eyes, she attempted to aim for the plug hole, but missed completely, pouring the rotten stuff all over the work top, and covering the MUO in the foul concoction. She gasped and quickly bent down to get a cloth from the cupboard under the sink. “This is why I’m not a scientist “she shouted at herself as she knelt, rooting through the bottle of cleaning products. “The most important discovery in the world, ever, and I go and spill rotten milk on it.”

As she fumbled, she became aware of the room becoming lighter. She slowly looked up around the room, her gaze finally settling on the light source. The MUO was glowing, from underneath, with a strange, blue-white glow. She stayed knelt down, frozen to the spot, her pulse audible in her ears. For what felt like an eternity, she sat, transfixed at the enthralling light that was being emitted by this tiny object. Without warning the light faded to nothing. She slowly stood and leaned in closer to examine the MUO, her face now only inches from its surface. The silence within the room was electric, she hardly dared to breath. Time seemed to stand still around her, and nothing could break this fascinating moment.

Nothing would break this fascinating moment!

The MUO had her transfixed!

It had her complete attention!

But it did nothing…




Disclaimer: This short story is solely the property of Beth Jones. 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.

Dean Foxx / Knock Out Kaine Interview

Dean 3

Dean Foxx / Knock Out Kaine Interview
RockWich 2017
Lostock Club Sunday 27th August
By Beth Jones & Rick Tilley

Rick has had the great pleasure of talking to and interviewing Knock Out Kaine front man, Dean Foxx, on many occasions before, and we were really looking forward to seeing them perform at RockWich on the Sunday evening. It was my first time seeing them live and it was an added bonus when we bumped into Dean earlier in the day, prior to their set, and he was more than happy to have a brief chat with us about what’s new and upcoming in the Knock Out Kaine pipeline. It was my first time talking to Dean, but it was great fun as he is such a diamond geezer! And here is what he had to say:

Rick: So, you’re doing a new album – how’s it going?

Dean: Its going absolutely brilliantly!

Rick: I saw a recent comment on Facebook that you were up at 3.45am listening back to new tracks…?

Dean: Yeah, it’s going to knock the other two albums into a top hat!

Rick: Really?… Because I was blown away by the first one, and I got blown away even more by the second one so…

Dean: Yeah. We’ve hit that little sweet spot I think. It’s going to be heavier – not all of it, but I think 50% of it is going to be heavier than we have done before, still melodic, still rocky, but definitely with a heavier edge. But we’ve still got some quirky little bits and pieces that people are going to go “What?!” at, which is what we always do!

Rick: yeah you like to throw in a few curve balls don’t you!

Dean: Yeah. It’s certainly shaping up to be the best thing we have ever done, without a shadow of a doubt. I am bowled over by the material because it isn’t something we have written for an album, it has kind of organically grown, because we weren’t even going to record an album. We weren’t going to do anything creatively to put into the commercial arena for quite some time to come, and then it just happened. And it is the first time we have had a producer as well, which I was really cagey about being such a control freak! But the guy is brilliant. After the first studio session, I was quite happy to go, ‘Do you know what…run with it’!

Rick: Who have you got?

Dean: His Name’s Sam Cooke – no not the soul singer! I think he’s dead, isn’t he? – so that would be horrible!!! The smell in a studio environment is never any good after a few hours anyway so that would be horrible! But yeah, it’s turned out to be great, and this is the first time that we have had the scope to be able to spend some time on things. In the past, we’ve had a contract with someone and we’ve had a deadline and it’s all got to be done in that time, but this time we’ve let Sam in and he’s said ‘the album’s finished when it finished’. It’s lots of different studio sessions and it gives us time to breath and not have to slog, and it has just turned out brilliantly. We tracked the drums first as everyone does, but instead of going to the studio, Sam said ‘no we’re going to this place’, and he gave us an address and it was an old deconsecrated church! He had rented it out for a couple of days for the drums! And the drum sound is absolutely amazing – its intense. So, there is a lot of experimental and weird stuff going on as far as we’re concerned, with the new environments he has been putting us in to, but it’s turned out amazing!

Beth: Do you think that your creative sides came out more this time, because you didn’t have the constraints of thinking ‘we’ve got to write an album’?

Dean: Well the songs had already been written – I think you probably know from speaking to you before Rick, that we always have this pool of material because we’re always writing. So, we still did lots of demo’s round at Jim’s home studio to put them in a place where we knew exactly where they were going arrangement wise. That has been done in exactly the same way as we always do it. We are continuously working. We never go into a place where we are writing specifically for an album I suppose. So, we just went through a load of the demo tracks that we have done very recently. The first two albums had loads of songs that I had written that came to fruition in the studio, but I’d written them years and years and years ago, before the band ever even existed. On this one, there is one song that was written by me well before Knock Out Kaine existed, about 14 years ago, but the rest of them are new and exciting and FULL OF VIRVE! FULL OF VIM AND VIGOUR AND SPUNK!!!!

Rick: Haha! Is it more collaborative this time?

Dean: Yes – it is! Everyone has put their two penn’orth worth in, and as far as writing goes, this will be the first one where the credit on the album for each song will say, ‘written, arranged and performed by Knock Out Kaine’, rather than individual names, which makes me happy. Because I like that! …It’s because I’m a rock and roll socialist!! Not a communist! A rock and roll socialist!

Rick: There’s a song in there somewhere!! (laughter)

Beth: So, what’s next?

Dean: Well we will spend the rest of this year working on this record and that is it really. We have a handful of shows – we spent the first half of this year touring wall to wall like we normally do, but this last part we have some shows, like this one today here at RockWich, a couple of festival dates and then we will probably put together a Christmas Knock Out Kaine – KOKstock! At some outdoor venue in Lincoln later in the year, but the rest of the year is going to be spent doing the record!

Rick: I have been pushing your name for the new Stonedeaf Festival next year. I know a lot of people have and I think it’s perfect – cracking band, local to what they’re trying to do – it would be perfect to have you on.

Dean: Yeah! We’ll see what happens there. I’m hopeful it will be a good bash. If we’re not playing it and not doing something else, I will come along to have a look at it. It’s a great idea – it’s is a great premise to get back to the old one day thing!

Rick: Yeah, we are hoping to go.

Dean: It should be great. Anyway – I will give you a sneak preview of some of the album.

Rick: Oooh – are you sure?! Awesome.

Beth: Well this interview is a bit ‘off the cuff’ so that is about it, but I do like to try and ask everybody a random question at the end, so…. Jaffa Cakes – cake or biscuit?

Dean: Ooooooh you see, now everyone is going to say this, but you have opened a can of worms there haven’t you!!! I reckon cake, unless you leave it out too long on a plate and then it’s definitely a fuckin’ ‘orrible crunchy biscuit!!

Beth: But why is it a cake in the first place?

Dean: It’s spongey. It’s got a filling. It’s not a creamy filling accepted, it’s like a marmalade hybrid something!

Beth: But Jammy Dodgers have got jam inside.

Rick: Yeah but they’re biscuits – they’re not sponges!

Dean: And they are also horrible as well!! No one wants to eat one of them jam biscuits that ain’t got a little bit of that creamy shit in as well!! Creamy shit??! Where did that come from?! Creamy shit! That’s a story for another day that is!..(lots of laughing)

And on that note, Dean got his headphones out and played Rick a couple of tracks from the new album. To say Rick is excited about the release after hearing this sneak preview would be an understatement. We will be keeping you all up to date with release news for it, and recommend that fans, old and new, check it out.

We would like to thank Dean again for talking to us – always a pleasure, never a chore – and we looking forward to hooking up with him and the rest of Knock Out Kaine again very soon!


Disclaimer: This interview 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 both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Interview with Luke Appleton

Skype Interview with Luke Appleton
Sunday 3rd September 2017
Somewhere around lunchtime, with a cup of tea!
Interview by Beth Jones and Rick Tilley

For those of you who have not encountered the Appleton family, they are a beacon of professionalism and dedication in the hectic UK Metal scene. Today we had the pleasure of interviewing the baby of the clan, Luke, the rhythm guitarist with Absolva, in preparation for their up and coming European tour. It was great to chat to Luke to find out all about the tour, his journey with Iced Earth, and his views and experiences of the past, present and future of his career.

Ever Metal: It is lovely to be able to catch up with you again – it has been a while since we last spoke. So, the new album with Absolva, ‘Defiance’ came out about a month ago – tell us how that’s going down and how’s it has been accepted by everyone?

Luke: It’s been fantastic actually! We’re really happy with the response all the fans have given us. We’re very proud of this album. It’s been a very pleasurable experience in the studio recording it with everyone. Myself and Chris –  my brother, we’ve been working very hard on the writing –  a lot more together more than ever actually. On ‘Never A Good Day To Die’, our previous album, we co-wrote a lot of the songs together. However, this time I think we did it even more; I think you can tell that we’ve taken a lot of influence from the Iced Earth side, and the Blaze Bayley side, and kind of fused them together. I think that definitely shows with ‘Defiance’. It’s been a brilliant experience so far, and all the fans have taking it very well. I can’t wait for the tour really and to play all these new songs live!

Beth: That was my next question! The European Tour is starting 15th September – tell us all about that?

Luke: Well! Big European Tour!! It’s been a while since we’ve toured together due to our other commitments, but we’re very excited about it. We’ve got a good bunch of dates; a lot of these places we’ve been to quite a few times before and had some amazing crowds. We are returning to Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Czech Republic and we’re doing some shows in the UK in December as well. But we’ve got a very good hardcore following in France at the moment, which has been building for the last few years. We’ve got a very special show in Chez Paulette, for example, that’s going to be really good, we’re selling a lot of tickets for that! It’s always been full of die-hard Absolva fans, so we’re especially looking forward to that. But the whole tour is filled with amazing venues that we’ve been through in the past. It’s almost like a ‘best of’ tour kind of thing, but it’s going to be really good to tour this album. We’re extreme excited to get all the new songs out there.

Beth: So, at the moment the rest of the guys are in America touring with Blaze; What have you been doing while they’re out there?!

RICK: In case people don’t know, of course, you also do another job!

Luke: Yeah! Well whilst the boys have been out over in the States with The Blaze Bayley Band –  they’ve been out there for a while now, but they’re coming home soon –  I’ve been keeping busy with Iced Earth as I’m the bass player. I have been doing the summer festivals with them, which has been very fun actually! We’ve only just finished a few weeks ago, but we had about 12 festivals all over Europe. We did some really amazing ones. One of my personal highlights was Alcatraz Festival in Belgium. Belgium has always been kind of a second home for me. I’m sure the Belgium beer has something to do with that!! (lots of laughing) But the people are amazing.

We did Metaldays in Slovenia, and Sweden Rocks Festival. We did some amazing stuff, and we were out there promoting our new album, ‘Incorruptible’, which was released only a couple of months ago again. So, it’s been fantastic to tour that album a little bit and get to see all the Iced Earth boys again!

Beth: How does the balance between Absolva and Iced Earth work?

Luke: It’s surprisingly easy! The scheduling has been pretty amazing! As soon as I joined Iced Earth I thought, ‘everything is going to be 110 percent Iced Earth’, which in a lot of ways it is – Iced Earth is the priority for me – but I just thought I’d have no time for anything else. My down time would be just me sitting at home waiting for the next Iced Earth tour!  But, it’s worked out well, so in between those gaps I’ve had with Iced Earth, we’ve been able to plan Absolva tours with my brother (Chris Appleton – Absolva singer and lead guitarist) and so far, we haven’t really had any clashes, so it’s worked out very well – if I’m on tour with Iced Earth for a couple of months, it’s usually the case that my brother and the rest of the Absolva band are on tour with Blaze. It’s got such so much potential to become very messy, and we could clash a lot of the tour dates, but so far, it’s worked out really brilliantly! Fingers crossed that it will carry on like that for the coming years.

RICK: Does John (John Schaffer – founder member of Iced Earth) mind? Because I seem to remember when you first joined that there was a thought that you wouldn’t be able to do other stuff, but in the last couple of years, especially, I’ve seen, you more and more with Absolva. So, is he still happy with you moving across and doing other stuff?

Luke: Yeah. I basically just asked his permission, and what he thought about this thing, and he was perfectly fine with it. He was always fine with me doing recordings with the band and then as Absolva grew, I did more tours with them. Obviously, the past few years Iced Earth haven’t been completely full on, so I’ve been able to do more and more Absolva tours. Iced Earth are going to get ramped up again next year and do a full on proper tour for ‘Incorruptible’. That’s more potential for things to clash, se we are going to have to prioritize and plan out with a bit more care. But so far so good! I’m very happy with the way I can balance everything out and it’s been good. I think everybody’s happy about that.

Beth: So, you’ve had a pretty crazy year, so far; What’s been your highlight of this year?

Luke: Well, playing live is my main drive in the music business really. I love playing live and to play at these festivals this past summer has been fantastic really. There’s been some amazing audiences; some huge crowds we’ve done, so that is always my biggest adrenaline rush. That’s always going to be a highlight for me. At the beginning of the year, it was quite hectic because I was recording two albums!! I was recording ‘Incorruptible’ for Iced Earth, and ‘Defiance’ for Absolva. We did ‘Defiance’ first, I think it was the end of December beginning of January, something like that, then literally a few days after I finished in the studio with Absolva, I flew out to the States to record ‘Incorruptible’. So, it was ‘right I’ve got to switch from Absolva a mode and go in to Iced Earth mode’ which I found really fun, because it was just a good solid month or two just on the songwriting and recording. It was brilliant to just zone out everything else and focus purely on the songs, and to go over to the States and stay with John and the boys for a little over a week or so, record my bass parts and just hang out –  that was really nice. It’s something we don’t get much chance to do because we all live so far away from each other – everybody lives in the States, the singer lives in Canada, and I live here in England. So, it’s great to just hook up and do some song writing and get to hang out a bit.

Beth: How do you keep going with the schedule you have?! Do you ever sleep?!!

Rick: Not just you – it’s Chris and the boys too, as well as Mark and Lynne – you just never stop!!

Luke: That’s the way we like it! When Chris had some down time, he decided ‘I don’t want to have down time – I’m going to record an acoustic album and going to call it Restless!!’ So, it kind of like that with all our lives really, because we just don’t really want to stop! Whatever opportunity we get, we’ll always find something to do – go on tour, write an album, do something you know, whether it’s within the grounds of our bands and what we do; Me and Chris have similar kind of goals and aspects with what we do – our main thing again is playing live really. We want to play as many shows as possible, but also make sure the quality of those shows is the best possible. So those are our goals, and I think in this tour with Absolva coming up in a couple weeks, that is definitely going to show. It’s going to be fantastic to play this new album because I think this is going to be a big album for Absolva. We both have that same feeling and hope for this tour.

Beth: It is a superb album. We were listening to it again last night. I love it – it’s brilliant!

Luke: Thank you. We are very, very proud of it.

Rick: Well there aren’t many bands, nowadays, that can do four studio albums and a live album in basically five years is there? I can’t think of any other bands that could work at that schedule. It’s very old school isn’t it – it’s how it used to work?

Luke: Yeah exactly. It’s just an album a year we kind of used to work off, and whether it’s a live album or a studio album, we’ve just done it. We’re very, very pleased with it. And again, it’s something we want to do – we want to keep busy, keep the fans entertained, keep the material coming out – every time we release an album, a couple of months down the line, they ask ‘when’s the next one out?’! We haven’t even toured this one yet!!! (lots of laughing)

Beth: So, what’s next in the long term? Your plans for the next year with Absolva and Iced Earth?

Rick: You’ve mentioned Iced Earth touring much more next year, so if Absolva tour again, they will be going out without you, we assume?

Luke: We try and avoid that as much as possible – It has happened where Absolva have done it without me, I think it was SOS last year – SOS Festival which is the Appleton run festival in Manchester -Absolva did it without me and they just performed as a three piece because I was playing at Bang Your Head Festival in Germany with Iced Earth. That’s probably one of the only times we’ve ever done it, but we try and avoid that as much as possible and plan ahead as much as possible so that we can all be together, because the line -up is us four in Absolva now, we’ve established that, it’s not a three piece. It’s definitely us four as a band. So, we like to try and make that happen as much as possible.

There is going to be more Iced Earth touring because we really want to push the new album ‘Incorruptible’. Plans are going to come to a head for next year, but whilst that’s going to happen, the rest of the boys in Absolva have got another album to do with Blaze Bayley, which I believe they are recording at the end of this year. That will kind of finalize the trilogy of the Blaze Bayley’s story. They are going to tour that heavily, pretty much do exactly the same as they’ve done this year and last year, just do a mega tour for this as a finale of his trilogy. I think the scheduling is going to line up pretty similarly again. Iced Earth are going to be on tour whilst Blaze are on tour so it’s impossible to do any Absolva in that time. But something probably will happen for Absolva – we’ve just got to plan it and finalize it. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for.

Beth: You are playing in Sound Control, Manchester in December as part of the Absolva tour. How much are you looking forward to that– your home coming gig?

Luke: Very much so actually! Because even though we live here, we don’t actually get to play it that much, so it’s really nice that to finish the tour off, the last two shows of the December run, after Newcastle and Glasgow, are Manchester which is mine, Chris’ and Martin’s home town, and then we’ve got Swindon, which is Karl, our Bass player’s home town, so it’s really cool! We get to finish the whole tour off with two hometown shows. I think that’s going to be really special – there’s going to be a lot of good vibes, a lot of friends, family and a lot of really good hardcore fans there. I’m looking forward to that because it’s going to be a very good celebration, and home coming, if you want to say that, after a big long tour. It’s going to be good – definitely a highlight.

Beth: With you all being so busy, is it difficult to find a good work / life balance? Or does it just become your life?!

Luke: It’s pretty much become my life. Whenever I’m at home, I’ve got some hardcore friends and whatnot who really have stuck by and supported me throughout the years, since we really started to be honest, but the band comes first. There’s so many birthdays and family occasions that we’ve missed because the band always comes first. Many relationships with the boys have come and gone, kind of thing, but you know – it’s a hard life to handle, but we’ve got our eye on the prize!

Beth: An interesting one for you here – Will we ever see a Fury UK gig again for nostalgia’s sake?

Luke: We get asked this quite a lot actually! I really like the idea of it. However, it’s just finding the time to do it! Obviously, we’ve got three bands to balance with, so throwing a fourth in there – there are only a certain amount days in the year, you know! I would really like it to be honest. My dream plan would be getting Fury UK to headline at SOS Festival one year and make a little mini tour around that – a lot of people in the UK ask for it and a lot of people in Belgium were really keen on Fury UK, so it would be really good to do that again; to bring back all those lovely memories that we had, and to treat the fans. A lot of those Fury UK fans have gone on to follow Absolva and keep on backing the band. We still get people coming to Iced Earth shows even with an old Fury UK CD, wanting me to sign that. So, the fans still remember! It would be really cool to do that one day and we’ve talked about it a few times, it’s just finding the time and the place really. I think it will definitely happen. We’ll just discuss it and figure it out first.

Beth: If you had one story, from your career so far, that you’d want to tell the grandkids in years to come, what would it be?

Luke: A non-explicit one probably!! (Lots of laughing) I think one of my most memorable times was in Iced Earth, I would say. It was my first show with the band. We were in Toronto Canada, and we were opening for the band Volbeat. This was my first tour with the band, I think about five years ago now. It was an unbelievably nice but scary feeling. Just before the show I was crazily nervous, because Iced Earth had been one of my favourite bands for many years, and I was over the moon when they offered me the job. I knew a lot of the songs already, and when I was rehearsing and everything, I’m like ‘this is great! I’m playing some of my favourite songs, playing with my favourite band’. Then when it came to the day, maybe 10 minutes before the intro was going to start, I was just so nervous – my whole body was shaking – I was just unbelievably nervous and I remember John just coming over to me and giving me a big hug and just saying ‘you’re going to be all right. You’re going to do really well – have fun, just be natural out there’, and then I went on stage, played the first note and the fear went away and adrenaline took over. I think if I ever have grandkids, that would be one story to tell, because that was just such a monumental part of my life and experience. The way I look at it is just overcome your nervousness and your fear, and just go for it and then, ultimately, you will prevail – and something amazing has come out of that. That would be a story that I would like to tell one day.

Beth: You’ve already mentioned next year you going to have a heavier schedule again with Iced Earth in the summer. Have you got any festivals lined up that you can tell us about yet that have already been announced?

Luke: Not at the moment. We’ve not got anything concrete yet. Anything that I would be able to say has to be announced first, but we’ve got some very good plans. I’ve heard a lot of cool discussions about what we’re going to be doing next year. It’s very, very exciting, and it’s killing me that I can’t say it!

Rick: I want you at Bloodstock!

Luke: Yeah, that would be nice. I would love that!! I feel like it’s like a Game Of Thrones spoiler kind of thing! (laughing)

Beth: What about with Absolva – have you got anything with them that is already announced that you can fill us in on?

Luke: At the moment, we’re just focusing on this next tour for Absolva. We want to build a big hype for this and focus really on the shows. Stuff will happen for Absolva again next year – a particular festival in Manchester may happen as well! Everyone can read between the lines there Maybe!! But no, there’s going to be a lot of good stuff coming up and it will be announced very soon, so we’re very excited! Again, it’s going to be Iced Earth and Blaze Bayley; they’re the priorities for the first half of the year and then we’re going to dig into some more Absolva stuff.

Beth: If you were forming a super group, who would your perfect members be?

Luke: OOOh Yes! I’m going to be good at this question because my friend asked me that not too long ago! Is it anybody I can have? (Anybody! Anyone.) Anybody right? Well. Me on bass! Bit biased there, but me on bass. I’d have Tony Iommi on guitar. Glenn Hughes on vocals, ooh, drummer – not thought about that…Oh Mikkey Dee would be a good drummer, from Motorhead, I think that’s a good start for a super group! I suppose I can have another guitarist in there – I’ll have John Schaffer!

Beth: I’d pay good money to see that!

Luke: I think I’d pay good money just to be in the band!! (laughing)

Beth: What’s in your essentials bag for the tour bus?

Luke: No adventurous things. Lots of socks!! Lots of Socks – but I just take general stuff, you know, clothes and everything. I don’t go anywhere without my laptop – that’s my baby!! I always take a little interface with me as well, so I can actually plug my guitar into the interface, into my music program on my laptop, so I can just jam away in the dressing room, or if I’m in a hotel room, or something like that. So, inspiration can spark up anywhere kind of thing. The rider is much better than what I put in my bag actually! Bottles of rum and beers everywhere! That’s more like it!! (laughing)

Beth: What’s the most random thing you’ve ever had on a rider then?

Luke: Well Blaze likes to put a pair of socks on his rider!!! We don’t like doing laundry on tour, you see, so if we get a pair of socks every gig we’re all right!!! There was a funny one, one time; it was something to do with a banana! It had to be chopped in a particular way. The theory behind it was if you put this strange thing on the rider, the tour manager walks into the dressing room and sees that the promoter has done this crazy thing with the rider, he doesn’t need to check everything else because if they have done this really stupid thing, then they must have done all the normal things! That was the theory behind the M&M trick, you know, putting all the green M&Ms in a cup or something. So, yeah, that was probably the weird one with the banana!

Beth: We have seen a couple of instances recently of 80s pop icons singing with metal bands – Kim Wilde with Lawnmower Deth, then last week Rick Astley sung with The Foo Fighters. Who would you pick to sing with you?

Luke: I’m not very good with knowing who’s from which era… erm…. Was Bonnie Tyler from the eighties? Sorry – I’m a baby! Yeah, I’ll say Bonnie Tyler! We played a gig with her once actually, so it was very close to happening! It was cool because we played this festival in Sweden with Iced Earth. It was a very eclectic festival – there was all sorts of stuff going on – so it was Bonnie Tyler and then us!! I didn’t really know how it was going to go, but then all these swarms of metal heads came in after all the Bonnie Tyler fans!! It was quite a sight to see!

Rick: There’s one thing I’d like to ask – I have read about it in the magazine you did with the new Absolva album! Swapping between bass and guitar – how do you find it? I used to drum and it’s all I could do to remember the drum parts sometimes, but you’re going from one band playing bass to another band playing guitar – how do you find it? And I know you get on well with Karl (Bass player in Absolva) but how does the relationship work there?

Luke: Changing in-between the instruments I find quite fun, because it’s good to get a perspective on both sides of what you’re playing. With Absolva, I think it works very well because I do twin lead guitar solos and whatnot with Chris but I’m mainly the rhythm guitar player, so I’m all about staying with the bass and the drums. So, I’m still on the rhythm section page.

My relationship with Karl is very good, we get along really well, we have a lot in common, but we also have this little friendly rivalry going on. If we’re playing an Absolva a song that I demoed and wrote the bassline for, I’ll say, ‘Come on Karl – you need to play this properly!’ and then he will return and say, ‘you may have written the bassline but I improved it!’. So, there’s this little friendly rivalry and jokes going on but it’s all friendly you know – we never start punching each other or anything!! Not maliciously anyway!

But, the swapping between guitar and bass Is fine. I find it very fun. I love playing guitar. I find it a lot easier to write a song on a guitar than I do a bass. However, I prefer playing a bass because I feel like I have a little bit more freedom; improvising with the drums, and whatever fills the drummer does, I feel like I should follow. With a guitar, I believe that you’re a little bit more limited with what you play, because it’s all about the melodies really, and the guitar you can hear playing those melodies a lot more than a bass player would do. As long as I’m staying within the groove of the song, I like to throw in a lot of fills with what the drummer is playing whether that’s Iced Earth, Fury UK, Whatever. The best way of describing it is what John says; I believe the bassist has to be the rock of the band. It needs to be together with the drums and the glue between the drummer and guitar player. That’s the best way of describing it in my opinion because it really is the base of the band – it’s like creating a house; You’ve got your base, then your upper levels and your singer is your roof. I had a comment when I went into the studio with John and I was playing bass and he said, ‘right snap out of guitar mode get into bass mode’! So sometimes I do just have to say, ‘right, okay, I’m playing bass right now’! But I find it fun, more often than not!

Ever Metal: Well that is it Luke. Thanks so much for talking to us today and we are really looking forward to the tour, and hopefully we will get to the Manchester date to come and see you.

Luke: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and we’ll have a beer in Manchester!

The Absolva ‘Defiance’ tour 2017 kicks of next week in Germany and, from listening to the album and knowing how hard these boys work, we can pretty much tell you now with 100% confidence that it is going to be amazing. If you can make one of the dates, do, because we promise you won’t be disappointed!! We would like to thank Luke again for his time talking to us, and wish him and the rest of Absolva immense luck and success for the tour and beyond.

For more information on the Band, the tour, and of course their other bands, Iced Earth and Blaze Bayley, here are the links you need:


Iced Earth:

Blaze Bayley:

Rocksector Records:

Absolva Tour Poster

Disclaimer: This interview 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 both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

RockWich 2017 – 27th August 2017


RockWich 2017
27th August 2017
Lostock Club, Northwich
Review by Beth Jones, with notes and interjection from Rick Tilley

Here’s one for you; What do you get if you cross an old style social club, a menagerie of music hungry rockers and thirteen great bands? You get a top quality old school one-dayer, in this case RockWich. Now in its fourth year, RockWich on the face of it is a small-scale event showcasing some bands in a local setting, but look deeper and it is so much more than that. This was our first visit to the event, staged by Prometheus Promotions, and to say I was impressed is an understatement! I am not easily pleased, but right from the get go I knew I was going to have a good day.

The setting took me back again to my youth, going to gigs in the local Miner’s Institute and Memorial Hall, and the relaxed atmosphere created by the event staff instantly put me at ease. It is easy for people to be blasé when trying to achieve a relaxed atmosphere, but one thing that you could see straight away was that all the event staff were relaxed because they knew precisely what their role was, and were well rehearsed and experienced in it, which was a big plus point for me, being a stickler for organisation.

The club itself was well laid out and they had catered for all as everything was disability friendly, with nearly everything on one level, and seating available at the sides. The merch was positioned well and throughout the day each band had an area for their merch, which again was swapped over like clockwork between bands – so much so that you didn’t even notice it happening, but all of a sudden, a new set of band merch appeared! The bar was well stocked and the bar staff were very friendly, as were the kitchen staff who prepared a good selection of food for the hungry punters wanting to fill a gap, and everything was reasonably priced, which really made it feel like the good old days!

However, the thing that impressed me most was the standard of music being showcased on the day. There was not one band who I didn’t enjoy, even though I had not really heard many of them in depth previously, and one band in particular massively impressed me, but we shall come on to that later.

So – to the bands!

First up were ‘The Sourheads’. They describe themselves on their Facebook page as a fusion of ‘the swagger of The Stooges, the poetry of The Doors, the danger of Alice Cooper, and the dirt of Kyuss then make it bigger.’ This sums them up perfectly! The lead singer owned the stage, with a powerful vocal over rich, thick and creamy guitar sounds and they were a great way to start the day. Their look was very interesting, with the barefooted, dreadlocked singer looking slightly out of place in the band. It shouldn’t have worked, but somehow it did, and it was solid. Two thumbs good from me! Their new album is out in November and I will be intrigued to see if their onstage passion transposes to recorded material.

01 The Sourheads

Next – from the sublime to the cor blimey – Liverpool based ‘Black Cat Bones’. Good, punchy, riff -laden classic rock. These guys have a very distinctive look – in my opinion not dissimilar from a certain classic rock band whose name begins with Guns and ends in Roses. However, once you had put this stereotype to the back of your mind they did have a very good sound, stage presence and a performance that was tight, together and perfectly rounded! Rick got the chance to interview them later and found that their energy off stage was the same as it was on!

02 Black Cat Bones

Ryders Creed were up next and proved that the buzz word of the day was definitely going to be ‘energy’ because they were another group of guys who had bags of it. Comprising of ex-Black Rose Cadillac members: Ryan Hulme (Vocals), Richard Clark (Bass), and Myles Cooper (Guitar) and joining forces with Lee Spencer on guitar, and Lee Gilbert on drums they were superb. With obvious influences from Sabbath, they were driven by heavy bass lines and solid drum work. If I had to sub-genre them, I would say Stoner Rock. The thing that impressed me most about them was Ryan’s vocals though – superbly rich with just the right amount of husky to make it great. Well worth checking out again.

03 Ryders Creed

I had a slight break at this point to take my kids home as, much as they love live music, they aren’t quite ready to spend a whole day listening to it! So I left the reviewing in the extremely capable hands of my partner in crime, Rick Tilley!

Unfortunately, due to my interview with Black Cat Bones, I wasn’t in the venue for much of The Senton Bombs set, however we could hear them pretty clearly outside and when I did get back inside to witness their last two songs I was mightily impressed. I’ve always liked The Senton Bombs brand of dirty and lively Rock’n’Roll but this was the first time I had seen them live and their music comes across even better in a boiling hot and sweaty room. I’m really looking forward to seeing them again, I shall be wearing my new Senton Bombs t-shirt with pride and I’m shouting out to the local council of their home town Blackpool to say get their name up in lights!!

04 The Senton Bombs

Next up were Baleful Creed and they were one of the bands whose name had really stood out when I saw the line-up for the first time. Having already reviewed their debut album (and with a review of latest album ‘Seismic Shifter’ on the way) I was eager to see how the material transferred to a live setting and I wasn’t disappointed. Hailing from Northern Ireland this was Baleful Creed’s first gig on English soil and they had come with the afterburners firmly turned to the ‘on’ position. They put on a thunderous display of downtuned Stoner Rock that had the packed crowd enthralled. I count myself as very lucky to have witnessed this debut English performance and hope they return soon. Seismic indeed!

05 Baleful Creed

I have to be honest and say I felt a little sorry for next band Beckon Lane. Whether it was the ridiculous heat in the venue, the need for food, drink and a breather (we were about half way through the day at this point) or just unfamiliarity with the material but the crowd did thin a bit for their set. It was their loss though because, even though I was also unfamiliar with their music, I really enjoyed their Hard Rock, almost, Melodic Metal sounds. They were catchy, tight and professional. Vocalist Lewis Phillis is certainly a good frontman and their time onstage seemed to go by incredibly quickly which left me wanting more! I also loved the fact that instead of having a painted banner, the band name is proudly displayed in front of the drums on a specially made street sign.

06 Beckon Lane

Just as Beckon Lane were finishing their set Beth re-appeared from dropping off the kids so I’m now passing you back to her for the rest of the day’s proceedings. All I’ll add is that if the first six bands were great then what was to come was fantastic and RockWich has cemented itself in my head as one of the best one day events I’ve been to in thirty five years of going to gigs so well done to all involved for putting on such a great show!

One band I had been looking forward to, purely because they are fronted by a female power house, was ‘Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters’ and thankfully I got back in time to catch her full set. If you look up power in the dictionary, the definition should just read ‘see Beth Blade’! Holy Jeebers can this girl belt out a tune. Heavily influenced by ‘Kiss’, she confidently powered through an awesome set like a tank. She had something to say and we were all going to damn well listen! It was tight, it was punchy, it was rocky and it was mesmerising!!! It was also new guitarist, Luke’s, first show and he smashed it, perfectly capturing what Beth and her Beautiful Disasters were all about. I needed a sit down at the end of their set!

07 Beth Blade

Hell’s Addiction were up next. They had obviously brought a lot of support with them as the room filled up very suddenly. They were old school and obviously seasoned musicians, who were technically very good. They had a very full sound and the lead guitarist was very well versed in complicated solos. I am however rather gutted to say that, out of the whole day, they were the band who excited me the least – sorry guys and any fans. I just didn’t feel the same connection as I had with the previous bands and whilst I couldn’t fault them technically, I just didn’t get that same emotional excitement that I had become accustomed to that day so far. Maybe I was just emotionally drained after Beth Blade!

08 Hell's Additcion

Now doomy anything has never really been my sort of thing – I find it a bit slow and laboured and it just doesn’t float my boat. That is until I heard the next band, Regulus. Here were a bunch of guys, who describe themselves as groove-laden, riff-drenched, psychedelic heavy blues, who totally didn’t look like they were all from the same band, from the slick guitarist to the wild haired front man, who when they played made me stand up and listen and rethink some of my preferences! They were mixing doomy riffs, with 70s funk! It was down tuned and groovy and peppered with intricate solos that gave it the indulgent feel of a good chocolatey dessert and I was sold! Their defined sectioning in songs worked well and they moved between rhythms with ease. I will definitely be looking them up and listening to more even though they have messed with my brain because I shouldn’t like them, but I do!!!

09 Regulus

Now, earlier in this review I alluded to the fact that one band in particular really impressed me. This band was the next band up – Mason Hill. When I say they really impressed me, what I really mean is they totally blew my mind with how awesomely good they were. They were very fresh melodic rock which was so good, so tight, so together and so electric that I have to admit it actually made me emotional. That has only happened to me twice before in 25 years where music is concerned. The first occasion was on listening to Queen’s ‘Made In Heaven’ album for the first time, and the other was watching Doro Pesch on the main stage at Bloodstock (mainly because I worship the ground she walks on though!) For the first couple of songs, lead singer Scott battled with some microphone issues, but rather than let it knock him off his stride, he seemed to become more emotionally charged by it and the audience could feel it. The roar of approval from the audience when it was fixed was testament to this! And boy when we could hear it properly, what a voice this guy has! His vocal range is huge and his tone is exquisite, and then there is the rest of the band. Each member oozed charisma and stage presence to the point where they could all easily be front men – even the drummer, and I was falling over myself with superlatives to describe them! Their final song of the set was a ballad, ‘Where I Belong’, which was stunningly good and left the audience shouting for more. I could have listened to them all night. The band has been around for a few years, but has gone through some changes and have only really settled in the last year, with the current line-up they have now. And it is perfection. It needs no other words to describe it. Their performance is still exciting me now as I write this. Their debut album is out next year and I am advising everyone to buy it and to keep a very close eye on these guys because, even though I’m not a gambler, I would put money on them being very big very soon. Wow!.. Just… Wow! That is all!

10 Mason Hill 1

Whoever was to follow Mason Hill had a huge and daunting task on their hands, however this job fell to seasoned professionals in the form of the very lovely and very lively Knock Out Kaine, fronted by Mr Charisma, Dean Foxx!! Due to unforeseen circumstances, they were without their regular bass player, Lee, however they had one of their session musicians deputising and he was a damn fine player. Dean, as always, had the audience eating out of his hands pretty much straight away and they all looked happy and comfortable on stage. They have a very classic 80s American rock sound and are a great feel good band, who you can’t help bopping along with. We got the opportunity to speak to Dean before they went on stage and discovered that they are working on a new album, which we are certainly excitedly looking forward to in this household.

11 KOK

The penultimate band of the day were Screaming Eagles. If you like good solid classic rock and roll, in the style of ACDC and the like, then this is the band for you! Whilst we were starting to flag a bit, they kept the energy up and had the crowd really rocking out to their old school melodies and riffs, and front man Chris Fry covered every spare inch of the stage throughout their energetic and upbeat set. Grand!

12 Screaming Eagles

Now you always know you are going to get a good show with Massive Wagons, and they didn’t disappoint for the final band of the evening. Despite the stifling heat in the hall by that point, they powered on to the stage and pleased the packed out room with a feel good, catchy, crazy show as always. They are purely and simply a great rock band who should be sniffed out if you have not yet done so!

13 Massive Wagons

And that was that! What a great day. It was relaxed and fun, musically superb, and from start to finish, managed impeccably, from the stage management of the bands, to the organisation of the space and all those in it. And I can say no more than that. The only reason I have given it a 9 out of 10 is the lack of air con, but that only bothered me because I am a delicate middle class twat! Superb day! Well done to Prometheus and all those involved. Can’t wait for next year!


14 Mason Hill 2

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 both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Dark Beauty – The Dark Angel’s Journey Begins – Live Gig Cast


Dark Beauty – The Dark Angel’s Journey Begins
Live Gig Cast – 20th August 2017
Review By Beth Jones
5.5/ 10

With the ever-progressing trends of new technology comes the new way of performing live to your fans in the form of live casting “Living Room Gigs” via This was my first experience of such an event, but as it was still technically live, I thought I would review it from the comfort of my own home, drinking a cup of tea!

Rick had received the invitation to this event from the band a couple of months back, so we had noted it down to tune in. The band had picked the live cast time so fans on both sides of the pond could enjoy it – 4pm EDT or 9pm BST, which made it very accessible for all, and was great for us as we were able to settle down for the evening with it.

So, who are Dark Beauty? Hailing from New Jersey, USA, they are a four-piece Symphonic Gothic Progressive Rock band consisting of Liz Tapia – Founder and Lead Vocalist/Songwriter, Bryan Zeigler on Lead Guitarist, Warren Helms on Keys and Dan Granda on Drums/Percussion. Their first album, ‘Fall From Grace’ was released in 2014.

The performance for this event was a stripped back version of their album, with just Liz and Brian and pre – recorded backing tracks from the rest of the band.

The proceedings began with Guitarist, Brian inviting us on a journey of exploration to the dark and evil world of Markhum – the realm of the Dark Beauty – the fallen Dark Angel. The idea of the story is very good, although I am not sure that it transmitted brilliantly through this performance. The lack of lighting and clumsy backdrop meant that the mystique of the performance was somewhat lost.

That said, musically both Liz and Brian are clearly technically very accomplished and had obviously worked very hard to make sure that their live sections synched perfectly with the pre – recorded backing that provided the rest of the orchestration. Liz’s voice has a lovely warm, calming Mezzo tone and she was able to express a slight melancholy air through her delivery, and Brian’s guitar solos were not overly fussy. Each song flowed comfortably on from the last and there was still the sense of a story being told, although I feel there was a little too much down time and talking between songs.

They also took on two covers by bands who have influenced them over the years – Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and Rush’s ‘Tom Sawyer’. These influences, along with the likes of Sabbath, were easy to spot in their performance and it was good to see them acknowledge this with these covers. It was also great to see that they obviously have a lot of passion about their music and were very excited to announce that they are in the process of recording their second album.

They also treated us to a performance of a new song which is as yet un-recorded, so was performed with no backing track, just Brian’s guitar and Liz’s voice. Personally, I think the whole set would have been better done this way, as this was the best song in their set and that, due to the limitations of this kind of performance, the rest of the set felt a little uncomfortable; There were level issues and pitching issues throughout when they were using the backing tracks – the guitar was often lost below the bass and percussion of the backing, and the vocals were at times a little flat, possibly because Liz may have been struggling to hear. As the screen was only focused on the upper half of them, I couldn’t tell what monitor set up they had.

Of course, the sound quality of a gig like this is limited to the quality of the broadcast equipment, as well as the quality of equipment the viewer is viewing from at the other end, and for this reason I am not sold on this as a medium for live performance. Yes, it has its practical merits, but to the detriment of the emotional attachment to the audience. Maybe I am just old fashioned, but for me it just didn’t quite work. I think the people in the room with them will have had a much different experience to me and I think when the band watch the video back, they will see a lot of things they want to do differently next time (which they announced will be a Halloween Live Cast show in October).

So, my final thoughts. Musically, Dark Beauty are very good. Their songs are dark, mystical and interesting, and they have a good, solid sound. But that, for me, doesn’t transmit well in a live performance in this medium. Kudos to them for giving it a go, though – you never know until you try.

I will definitely be tuning in in October to see what they have done differently and am very interested to see how they grow as a band, and await the release of their next album. Hopefully one day I will get to see them actually live and be blown away by their performance.

In summary – The band; I like it a lot, The live performance casting medium; …..erm…… I like it a lot less!



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

Live Review – Amplified Festival 2017


Amplified Festival 2017
Quarry Downs, Gloucestershire
July 21st – 23rd, 2017
Review by Beth Jones
Photographs by Beth Jones & Sian Irvine

So, as this is my first review, let me give you a bit of back story here first. I was a metal head / goth back in the late 90’s at college and loved the scene, only to be swept off my feet by what I thought was my knight in shining armour at the age of 20. Fast forward 17 years, and after 10 years of living in the purgatory of Northern Soul and Motown (I have nothing against the genre I might add, and some damn fine tunes came out of it), I am back in the scene and loving it, but also trying desperately to catch up on lost time and learn about bands I had completely missed out on whilst locked in to ‘Tears Of A Clown’!

Rick and I have been together for just over two years and really wanted to do a festival this year as a family, as circumstances beyond our control have stopped us doing that until now. The obvious choice would have been Bloodstock, as this year’s line – up is the best yet, and we have so many friends both locally and from further afield who attend, however wanting to go VIP and having my two girls with us pushed it unfortunately out of our budget. I was at the point of giving up on a festival for another year and starting a savings account for BOA next year, when I stumbled across the Facebook event page for Amplified 2017, with an amazingly diverse line-up, headlined by none other than REEF!!!

I was instantly transported back to the late nineties, at the Saturday Rock Night in the Tivoli, Buckley – dressed in my ankle length black crushed velvet dress and my DM boots, with elbow length black gloves, corpse makeup and rollies made with multi coloured Rizlas on a roll, (that you could get from the hippy shop in town for a quid) dancing on tables after too many vodka jellies, knowing every word of ‘Place Your Hands’ and singing it in my best mates face as loud as I could!!!

With the family ticket priced very reasonably at a little over £230 for all four of us for the whole weekend + camping, I made the executive decisions that we were going!

As the week preceding the event progressed, the weather forecast transformed from ‘yeah it’s gonna be quite nice for the time of year’, to ‘yeah, you best give Noah a call – you may need his help!’

We arrived on the Friday at around 1pm, and entered the Ease Of Access campsite which I had secured to help Rick make it through the weekend. We ended up being able to pitch up our tent right by our car, which was a god send. Now, pitching a tent in gale force winds is an experience I hope most of you never have, but to put it in perspective, plaiting treacle would be easy in comparison! However, it was made more pleasing by the sounds of the first band on the ‘Very Metal Art’ stage drifting over whilst I wrestled with canvas. The all female band ‘Dorja’ absolutely nailed it and were a great way to open a festival! Aiym Almas, the lead singer, had a killer range and immense power and absolutely smashed a Dio fronted Black Sabbath cover as the last song, and the pumping bass of Becky Baldwin held everything together perfectly.

I thought the weather gods may have been kind to us, but sadly I was mistaken. After pitching the tent, we made it on to the main arena for one band, Bleed Again, on the Very Metal Art Stage, who were heavy and growly and dirty and damn good, especially with the tempestuous clouds building behind them. Then it rained, and everyone was sad, but hopeful that it would pass.

02 Bleed Again

After hiding from the wet stuff for a bit, we made it out to see a band that Rick had been really looking forward to seeing, Tess Of The Circle. Rick had alerted me to them a few months back. He had said they would be right up my street. A real fusion of punk, indie, grunge, folk, blues and classic rock, and fronted by singer / songwriter Tess Jones. They were indeed right up my street! I love to see music genres marry together well and that is what Tess Of The Circle achieve. We had the great pleasure of having a chat with Tess when they had finished on stage and it is clear to see that he is as passionate about the music off stage as he is when in performance mode, and this is really reflected in the music he writes.

05 Tess Of The Circle

We were just settling in to the all female ‘The Amorettes’, who were putting on a great show when sadly the heavens opened on a biblical scale again and we were forced to abandon and retreat to the tent amid much swearing and cursing and hating of the world.

By 8pm that night, everything was shit. The rain had been coming down for 6 hours solid in what could only be described as mother nature’s version of a critical error that required the sky to be restarted in order to restore the programme, I was cold and wet, in a tent with a leak, with no money left and no cash machines on site (they hadn’t turned up), wishing I was at home on my sofa. The stages had had to be closed due to safety concerns and all was looking lost. I reverted to my default setting for situations such as this – I went to bed! Had it not taken me two hours to pitch the tent, I would have been packing up there and then, and heading home, but something made me stay….

And what a difference a day made. Yes, there were organisational errors, yes there were issues, and yes the insane weather made them all very stark, however, Gary Paterson, the main organiser, and his team were determined to make the best of a bad situation. Despite probably having to deal with some of the most horrible criticism, they ran around like a deranged army on the Saturday morning to try and put on a show for the people who had been brave enough and strong enough of character to stay with them. So, from 12 noon on Saturday, bands went on and although we didn’t catch them all, here is my pick of the best:

Outright Resistance: Wow! Now I have to admit I’m not massive on death metal vocals, but for sheer performance skills Paige Lee wins! Rather than letting the monsoon season get to her, she took the biblical rain and made it part of the performance and all those who saw it had a ball. Musically, they are a great band with lots of solid chunky riffs and rhythmic bass to bang your head to and it is impossible not to toe tap even if death metal isn’t completely your thing. And they had awesome fun in the face of adversity, and the audience got that.

08 Outright Resistance

Massive Wagons: Great punchy classic rock, which really worked well on the newly formed ‘Bar Stage’. For me they are somewhere between Status Quo and The Foo Fighters in style – just good, fun classic rock and everybody was having a jolly good boogie to them in the tent. They are definitely on my list of bands to see again very soon.

Krysthla: If you like extreme metal then these guys will float your entire armada! Very loud, very growly and very heavy. I prefer my metal more melodic, however they are brilliant musicians and have already gained a huge amount of acclaim from all corners of the metal music press. They put on one hell of a show and needed a big mention on my favourites list because they know exactly who they are and they do what they do with finesse and this makes their stage presence unmissable. YES!

Evil Scarecrow: What can I say…. These guys are THE best. They take the serious side of metal and beat it to death with a robotic space crab! Audience participation is at the heart of what they do and to see the whole crowd making the Robotatron Square, scuttling from side to side, waltzing with their nearest and dearest and beating the boss with 90’s computer games moves is something very special and it spans across the generations – my girls are 10 and 15 and they worship them! Not only are these guys awesomely funny, they are amazingly talented musicians and all round nice guys. After the show, the girls were able to meet the band and they even took them back stage so they could get autographs from every member – to say they were chuffed is an understatement, and the kindness of the band and their crew nearly reduced me to a blubbering mess.

09 Evil Scarecrow

During all of this craziness, and still a fair amount of mental rain, our solace was a cosy little tent tucked away at the end of the field, belonging to The Motley Brew. For those of you who have not experienced the Motley Brew, it is like reaching Mecca at the end of a pilgrimage! They sell tea of all varieties, and a bit of coffee too, and my god was it needed! And the atmosphere in their tent was homely and warm no matter what time of day or night it was. Directly opposite them was the London Pie And Mash Company Ltd, whose pies were the dietary godsend of the weekend. Proper pies, proper mash and proper gravy, served with a smile and friendly banter from the lads, and they are even going to do some gluten free pies next year so I can eat them and not feel crappy!

On Sunday mother nature finally decided to get her shit together and make the weather a little more conducive to having fun in a field! My Highlights of Sunday were:

Instill: (from Brazil apparently ;-P ) They were riff heavy, raw and quirky, with undertones of funk and classic rock. A real mix for someone fancying something a little different with their Sunday lunch. Front man, Hodge, goes for the smart casual evening attire on stage, looking very dapper in shirt, tie, waistcoat and jacket, but he didn’t like to take to himself too seriously and could carry a tune very well which really drew in the crowd, in the way only a great frontman can. Whatever ‘it’ is, he has it and I liked it a lot. This is a band that understands rhythm and they work really well together on stage, even though each member has a very different look, and I liked it on many levels not only for the music.

10 Instill

Courtesans: A hot, all female four piece from London, Courtesans are down tuned and doomy, which doesn’t usually do much for me, but they were brilliant! I am a huge fan of females in metal and rock and this was the first time I had heard them but lead singer Sinead has a really rich, deep, silky tone to her voice which I loved. Their use of electro and synth elements makes it feel really fresh and gives it ethereal properties which work brilliantly. I was so impressed by them and look forward to seeing them again.

Bad Touch: If you love a bit of classic Rock ‘n’ Roll and awesome facial hair, these are the chaps for you. I dread to think how many bottles of lavender beard oil and moustache wax the lead singer gets through a year, but it makes for a facial adornment that is worthy of icon status!! Musically they are just great classic rock – simple as. They look like they have just arrived in a time machine fresh from Woodstock and are here to revive good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. We bought both their albums as soon as they finished and have played them many times already.

11 Bad Touch & Rick

Vega: I had never experienced Vega until now, but I will be investing in the back catalogue very soon – THEY ROCKED!! A six piece melodic Rock band from the UK, frontman Nick Workman reminds me of a cross between Bruce Dickinson and Tobias Sammet and I loved it. Backed up by some awesome guitar work and face melting solos provided by Marcus, and intricate drums and keyboards, I was completely blown away by their stage presence and all round musicianship. Seriously, if you like melodic rock and you are as behind the times as me, check these guys out – fandabidoziiiiiii!!!

12 Vega

Reef: What can I say. Dem Boyz still got it!!!! Even though at least one member does look like the Hermit from ‘Life of Brian’. I was instantly 17 again watching them, and sang along to every word. The vocal range of Gary Stringer is just formidable and his control of dynamics had the audience eating out of his hands. From the highs of ‘Summer’s In Bloom’ to the tranquil calm of ‘Consideration’, it was sheer perfection and one of the best live performances I have ever seen. My only gripe is I would have loved them to do ‘Lullaby’ as that was always my favourite song. But that is by the by. It was a great way to close the festival and I am so glad that I was there to experience it.

There were so many other great bands on over the weekend that deserved a mention, Rival Bones, Codex Alimentarius, Acid Reign, Press To Meco, Illustr8tors, Anti-Clone, Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons, Unzucht and Diamond Head (who Rick absolutely loved) to name but a few, but these were the ones that really did it for me.

So in summary, this was a weekend of low lows and awesome highs. Things that made me lose my shit: Rain. No cash machines. Rain. Not being really sure of what was happening where. Rain. Tents and anything camping related. Not seeing Torqued. Rain. Rain… Things that made me sad: The look in Gary Paterson’s eyes when I saw him running around the field on the Saturday morning, which just said ‘I’m not in a good place right now’. I felt for him big time… Things that made me regain my shit and forget why I lost my shit in the first place: Awesome music, some of the best sound quality I have heard ever (kudos to the sound guys), an amazing standard of festival toilet (always impeccably clean and stocked with toilet roll and incredibly slimy antibacterial hand cleanser!), meeting some awesome friends, old and new, seeing good British spirit prevailing in the face of adversity, tea and pies, and most of all having a damn good laugh with the people I love the most in the world.

01 Beth

Yes there were issues, as there will be at any festival in its first year, but Gary Paterson has stood up, admitted the flaws and taken it on the chin in a way that can only be described as highly commendable and humbling, and he should be saluted for that. I for one cannot wait for next year and am booking a family ticket again as soon as they are released. A huge well done to all involved and I am preparing already to get Amped in 2018.

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Sian Irvine, 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