EMQs With Ross Harding

EMQs With Ross Harding

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with South African Singer/Songwriter, Ross Harding. Huge thanks to him for taking part.

For those yet unfamiliar with you, please share with more about you, what you play, the bands you play in, and overall, more about your history?

I’m a Rock / Blues Rock singer-songwriter from Johannesburg, South Africa. In my own band, the Ross Harding Band, I’m responsible for lead vocals and guitar, and am the lead singer and rhythm guitarist in Fear Of Falling. 

I became obsessed with Rock music at a young age, and that obsession (plus a bit of a rebelliousness) inevitably lead me to the electric guitar, which has been the most important part of my life ever since. I started singing later on, after listening to bands like Seether, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, and then onto blues and blues rock artists like Led Zeppelin, Howlin’ Wolf and BB King, where my passion for vocals, blues guitar and performing live was born.

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

Johannesburg, South Africa. In my opinion the Rock and Metal scenes operate independently. The general Rock music industry in SA is quite small, but it does have loyal followers. Great venues in the country are spread out quite far, so it takes bigger events to bring people together. As a touring musician I’ve seen a lot of the country and feel that it’s important to preach my music as widely as possible. Being in front of audiences has been my best way to build my fanbase, but it’s work that needs to be done consistently. There are fans of commercial Rock, all the way through to Death and Black Metal, so the task is finding those fans and inviting them to join our family.

Tell us about your latest release, and upcoming releases.

Earlier in 2021 I released my debut EP, “Rest & Resurrection”, although I’ve been a professional in the music industry for almost 10 years, having played in various Rock and Blues Rock bands throughout my career. The “Rest & Resurrection” EP was my first time creating and releasing music as a “solo” artist (although I perform live with my insanely talented bandmates – Merrick Kyle, our bassist and Matt Rennie, our drummer). The next EP is called “Chapter II” and I feel it’s a more mature sound, even though it was recorded less than a year after the first EP. There’s definitely growth in its sound, and artistically I’m really proud to be releasing it. I think Rock fans, Blues Rock fans, even fans of heavier music will be into it. The first single ‘Love & Time’ is out on the 16th of September, and the full EP will be available on the 4th of November.

Who has been your greatest influences?

Soundgarden & Chris Cornell, Alice In Chains, Seether, Metallica, BB King, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Mastodon, Gary Clark Jr, Kings Of Leon, Blues Music (and Blues Guitar in general), just to name a few. These artists and musical styles have all added a lot of value to how I play and think about music.

What first got you into music?

I can’t exactly remember the moment, but I remember hearing bands like Metallica when I was young, around 9 or 10 years old, especially the earlier albums like “Master Of Puppets”, and just becoming absolutely obsessed. I also remember Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” album when I was about 4 or 5, and that having a profound effect on me.

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

Oh man, there are so many. Probably one of my heroes like Gary Clark Jr, Seether / Shaun Morgan. It depends on what I want to create. I’m into so many styles and love so many bands that I’d love to work with, from Kings Of Leon to The Neighbourhood, to Jerry Cantrell – I’d love to perform vocals on a Jerry Cantrell track, write some insane Rock music for a series or movie with one of these artists. I will endeavour to do that in the future!

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

Man, tough question, but it’s definitely a festival in the USA. It’s my dream to break into the US industry and play some of the biggest fests in the world.

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

So far nothing weird, to be honest. I’ve had birthday cakes, books for lyrics, bottles of whiskey (although I’ve been sober for 3 years now, ha-ha) so I’ve been lucky and blessed by my fans 😊

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

I’m just really grateful to be able to share my music and my art with them 😊

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

No one! I think bringing someone back from the dead might be really selfish 😊 (who knows what the afterlife is like, right?). To humour this question, however, I would have loved to watch Soundgarden with Chris Cornell.

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

I love everything about it. That started with me just loving the guitar. I still play guitar for hours every day. I love recording, writing, performing. I even love long full day rehearsals and press and interviews – it’s all part of the industry. I wouldn’t say I hate anything really. Maybe admin like social media and constantly trying to get my music heard, but it’s just part of the challenge I suppose.

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

More empathy and respect for one another.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Superunknown” by Soundgarden. Absolute masterpiece.

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

I grew up with CDs, so for me that was what I knew. I loved my CDs so much. I think it really depends on what you want out of the listening experience.

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

They’ve all got moments. I think that’s why I keep doing this. 

I’ve had amazing shows on big stages, but also tiny venues packed with fans can be incredible. All depends on the vibe of the audience and the band.

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

I might have gone into psychology. Probably criminal psychology. Extremely fascinating.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Beethoven, Russell Brand, Keith Richards, Jordan Peterson, Christian Bale.

What’s next for you?

Studio, tour, write, record, repeat. I wanna create and release the absolute best possible art and music that I can and share that with the world.

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

All Links –  www.linktr.ee/rossharding 
Website www.rosshardingmusic.com 
Facebook @rosshardingofficial 
Instagram @rosshardingofficial

Time for a very British question. As an alternative to the humble sandwich, is the correct name for a round piece of bread common in the UK either a Bap, a Barm (or Barm Cake), a Batch, a Bun a Cob, a Muffin, a Roll or a Tea Cake?

I have no idea! I’m gonna have to phone a friend.

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

Thank you so much for this platform! I really am grateful to be able to share this with people, I hope the readers out there get in touch. Thanks to you all for the support. 😊

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

Fourth Son South – Machine EP

Machine Ep Cover Art

Fourth Son South – Machine EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 21/01/22
Running Time: 16:55
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Fourth Son South is the brainchild of Dutch singer/guitarist Peter Toussaint, although the band themselves hail from Pretoria in South Africa. Musically this is firmly coming from a solid Rock with a hint of the old Blues tradition, but with plenty of mood and attitude, plus a subtle but effective tinge of heaviness. All of the players are experienced older hands though, despite this project being relatively nascent and this really shows in the song writing quality, highlighting an intuitive fluidity in their interplay. That’s really important, as this feels like a really down, dirty and honest rocking band, not a project for an established front man. 

‘Hold On’ is the only song on here that’s had a previous outing, having been released as a single mid-2021, and getting a remix and deep polish for this package. The remix is notably different in sound and tone than the newer material, sounding much more studio burnished in contrast to the much rougher and ready newer songs. Both production styles work well, but to be honest I’m much preferring the slightly looser and rougher round the edges sound of the later songs than the honed and polished single remix, as they work much better with Toussaint’s gruff vocal style. 

Nothing throws this more into contrast than when he’s dueting with Melissa Osbourne on the closer ‘Tomorrow’s Better’. In terms of song-writing this is one of the best phrased pieces on here, but when they are harmonising it doesn’t quite pull it off because the contrast in their ranges and styles is so vast, but at the same time the slightly dangerous edginess that this brings also makes the song stand out for sheer authenticity. It’s this kind of contradiction that flows throughout the EP, making it feel fresh and real, so I’m all for them sticking to the warts and all approach, rather than try and add inauthentic gloss through over production. 

It’s raw, it’s edgy and it’s a very promising start.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Not A Machine
02. Power To The People
03. Hold On
04. Sea of Life
05. Tomorrows Better

LINE-UP:
Franco Jamneck – Bass Guitar & Backing Vocals
Dale McHardy – Rhythm Guitar
Peter Toussaint – Lead Vocals & Lead Guitar
Carel Viljoen – Drums & Backing Vocals

LINKS:

Fourth Son South Promo Photo by Alouise Jamneck
Fourth Son South Promo Photo by Alouise Jamneck

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Matt Long And The Revenant Ones – The Other Side

The Other Side Album Cover Art

Matt Long And The Revenant Ones – The Other Side
Self-Released
Release Date: 16/07/2021
Running Time: 50:30
Review by Simon Black
9/10

This is a new project from Catfish frontman Matt Long. It has been held back from release since last summer, because let’s face it you don’t ideally want to launch a new side project when you can’t get out on the road to support it. For a three piece, they pack a lot of punch too, with Long (on vocals and guitar) being joined by fellow Catfish bassist Adam Pyke and Kev Hickman (Raven Eye) on the drum stool. Long’s vocals are gutsy, soulful and powerfully loud in the mix, with his sole guitar providing a wall of growl against which the rhythm section pounds with slab-like efficiency.

This album has a coiled, tensed up energy, just waiting to explode – like one assumes, the band themselves under the circumstances. It’s a debut, but one delivered by highly experienced musos, which means you get nine well-crafted fat and meaty songs, with a darn fine song-writing sensibility behind them, delivered on a platter of piquant musicianship with a rich fat production sauce. It’s also one of those albums that’s a definite grower.

Opening with huge, hard and heavy wave of discordance, this album kicks the door firmly between the planks with the positively Stoner weight of ‘So’. The album stays that down and dirty throughout, with more of a Black Stone Cherry style of riffage appearing and balancing with the Stoner groove fairly from early on, but peppered with a healthy portion of Blues vibe and a whole lot of soulfulness in Long’s charismatic vocal delivery. This is definitely a heavier, more down-tuned and riffier sound than the more Bluesy sound Catfish fans might be expecting, but the variety of styles here makes for a far more interesting sound. It’s also Metal enough for the more traditional rivet heads like me to get off on it too, with a few dollops of an almost Power Metal tempo for good measure in places.

To be fair that’s the consistent tone and feel throughout, although the pace and sound vary enormously, making for a highly rich listening experience. ‘Have My Say’ is a much pacier piece and a great up-tempo Blues infused rocker that would not sound amiss on a Joe Bonamassa album. When the pace does slow down, as with ‘Dark And Lonely Room’ we see an acoustic and soulful side to Long, who leads the song alone with a clean semi-acoustic guitar for the first half before he rips everyone a new one with a full on power ballad close out. It’s positively Neolithic in its heaviness, and one of the unexpected highlights of the record, but not the only track to take this approach. The album is not afraid to take it’s time either, with both ‘With My Own Eyes’ and the absolute highlight, album closer ‘Across The Borderline’ – again semi-acoustic at the outset but each taking over seven minutes to take the listener on a well-crafted journey of heaviness. And check out Long’s superb Bluesy solo at the end of ‘Borderline’, which is worth waiting for as the album crashes out as heavily as it opened. Spot on chaps.

‘Feel Like A Saint’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. So
02. Have My Say
03. Stone Bones
04. Dark And Lonely Room
05. Take It All
06. Wild Animal
07. With My Own Eyes
08. Feel Like A Saint
09. Across The Borderline

LINE-UP:
Matt Long – Guitars & Vocals
Adam Pyke – Bass
Kev Hickman – Drums

LINKS:

Matt Long And The Revenant Ones Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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 – Resist

Resist Album Cover Art

Cry For Mercy – Resist
Self-Released
Release Date: 02/04/2021
Running Time: 48:15
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Let’s talk about bucket lists, shall we? Mine’s long and plentiful, and full of all sorts of things, from the mundane to the ridiculous. But one item on there has been firmly planted near the top for a very long time. Driving route 66. It would be in a little red sportscar, top down, sun on my face, and the wind in my hair. I’d probably have aviators on and be dressed like I was on the way to Woodstock. Not a care in the world, just the open road in front of me. I’m a sucker for a cliché… Anyway, that road trip would have to be accompanied by some smooth Southern Rock. And that brings me to our subject here today. “Resist,” the debut album from the North West’s very own Southern Rockers, Cry For Mercy.

These guys have been on our radar for a good while now, and we’ve seen them smashing it out live many times, so this has been a hotly anticipated album in camp Ever Metal. These 3 guys set the bar high for themselves, and aim to encapsulate that Southern Bluesy Rock sound, here in the lush green and rugged grey landscapes that couldn’t be further from the dusty deep south if it tried! So, does this debut live up to that high bar? Well, in short, yes.

Opening with the upbeat and punchy track, ‘Brother’ the Cry For Mercy sound is instantly recognisable. Crunchy guitar riffs, driving bass, and a rock-steady beat from Steven Taylor, topped off with clean but edgy vocals. If a bottle of Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels, and Budweiser started a band, this would be what they sounded like. (I’ll skip over the fade out, with a slightly raised eyebrow. Tut tut boys.)

And this is the way that this album continues throughout. Catchy melodies, riffs a plenty, gritty vocals. What’s not to like! There are even a few lush little guitar solos chucked in for good measure, but nothing’s overstated. It’s just laid back, and full of sunshine and desert dust.

There are a few standout tracks on this album too, which is always great to see on a debut. One of these is ‘Cold Hearted Woman’. This is more acoustic driven, and has a real ‘jaded with a guitar, sitting in the old, beat up rocking chair on the back porch, drowning your sorrows in a Jack, and strumming away’ feel. I love it.

And that’s followed immediately by ‘Born To Fly,’ a melancholy anthem, where Kev’s vocals take a turn for the tortured, really making an impressive use of the gruff and gravelly tones he possesses.

All in all, this is a really good debut in terms of musical content, and it’s been produced and mixed in a pleasing way, too. Can’t wait to see these guys live again, and we’re hoping to get that chance in early July (crossing everything that this happens) when they compete in the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses North Wales final!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Brother
02. Roll The Dice
03. Resist
04. Chasing Me Down
05. Down To The River
06. Healing
07. Hear You Coming
08. Cold Hearted Woman
09. Born To Fly
10. Yesterday’s Man
11. Into Overdrive
12. On And On

LINE-UP:
Kevin Plant – Bass/Lead Vocals
Andy Cutty – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Steven Taylor – Drums

LINKS:

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

EMQ’s with ORDER 69

EMQ’s with ORDER 69

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Münster, Germany based Rock/Blues trio, Order 69. Huge thanks to them for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

We are ‘Order 69’ from Münster, Germany. We are a Rock & Roll trio, doing what we love. Ramin Safarabadi is our lead singer, guitar player and commander in chief. Levent Özdemir, on the drums and Kenan Özdemir, on the bass are handling the heartbeat. We met at a local blues jam and it was love at first feel.

How did you come up with your band name?

It was a drunk Star Wars-joke. We started the band for fun…turned out we don’t suck, started a career and now the name has stuck…

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

The music scene in Münster is (or used to be pre-pandemic) in a pretty good shape. Jam sessions and a lively club-scene for all genres and audiences make this a great place to live, work and visit!

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

Our album “Order 69” came out about a year ago. This October we published our music video for the song ‘Fire & Fuel’ featuring the amazing Sina Brunner doing acrobatics. Do yourself a favour and check it out on YouTube!

‘Fire & Fuel’ (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

The Beatles! Mix in some punk, some Rock & Roll and Blues!

What first got you into music?

There is no way around it, where we live.

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

A jam with Doyle Bramhall II sounds like a blessing!

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

If we had a time machine? Monsters Of Rock in Moscow! Just looks sick.

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

Love and compassion…in other words: 50 bucks.

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

Dont fuck Mother Earth, kids!

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

Keith Moon!

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

The community and the friendships that come with it. It’s a magical thing that brings people together… we don’t like backstabbers, though! Also, the social media work kinda sucks…

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

Labels and artists should have more of a democratic relationship. Thanks to the internet and the opening possibilities of self-publishing we’re on a good way there.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” – AC/DC.

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

Vinyl – with a download code 😊

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

B-Side Festival in our beloved Münster. We had a wild night with 800 friends and fans.

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

Maybe graphic designers…or night porters…or pizza delivery boys…It’s funny, because its true!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Our parents and Ricky Gervais.

What’s next for the band?

Our next album is in the making. All songs are done, we’re just waiting for a lift on travel restrictions to head to Copenhagen and record them at Heyman Studios!

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

www.order69.com/
www.facebook.com/order69official/
www.instagram.com/order.69/

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

We don’t have those in Germany… ☹ Send us a pack, we’ll figure it out!

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

Thank you too! If you’re an old-school kinda person, order our physical album (CD or Vinyl) and enjoy the artwork!

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

Mike West – The Next Life

Mike West – The Next Life
Self-Released
Release Date: 07/08/2020
Running Time: 33:27
Review by Beth Jones
7/10

We first came across Mike West at our favourite haunt, Mcleans Pentre, and he instantly became a hit with me. His southern style acoustic jams conjure images of chilling round a campfire as the sun sets. And now we can all enjoy the sultry tones of his gravelly pipes from the comfort of our own homes, with “The Next Life” – his debut full length album! You can’t beat a bit of country folk/blues, can you? The tormented, Jack Daniels fuelled ramblings of the jaded, set to music, has long been a favourite of many a music fan, and I’m no exception! When listening to Mike, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he was a pure deep south cowboy, come across the pond to serenade us with ramblings penned on his back porch. But he’s not, he’s actually from Rock Ferry up on the Wirral!

“The Next Life” is packed full of all the bluesy goodness that I would expect from Mike, and has a few tracks that were my favourites live, too! It starts with the title track, which is a lilting, folk inspired tune. The addition of slide and violin here really enhances the sound, and the track travels through tempo changes which keep it interesting. And, of course, on top of it all sits Mike’s unmistakable vocals. They’re reminiscent of Tom Waits, and this pleases me greatly!

The album continues in a similar lamenting style, with Mike’s lyrical poetry featuring strongly throughout. This is one of his strongest points – his word smithery creates a wonderful storytelling element, which is both heartfelt and thought provoking. This is displayed perfectly in track 3, ‘What If?’.

With most tracks recorded in a minor key, the melancholy air of this album is tangible, but not in a bad way. It takes me back to my days playing in a folk band, where the best songs were always in a minor key! That said, I think my favourite track on the album is ‘For Them’, which is actually in a major key! However, it doesn’t lose any of it’s storytelling ability, and is full of reflection upon life, which is Mike’s forte.

The production of this album is also very well done. Recorded at Kingwood Studios in Liverpool, it has the effect of a live performance, which somehow adds to the impact of the music. And more importantly, while the addition of other instruments does fill out the sound, nothing overpowers Mike’s guitar and vocals, which are the stars of the show.

Because of Mike’s unique vocal style, “The Next Life” might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s a very well created debut full-length, of which he should be extremely proud. There’s nowhere to hide when playing acoustically and creating a set of songs that are musically sound, deep and thoughtful, but also able to captivate an audience, is a difficult thing to master. With this album, Mike West has done them all for me, and I look forward to seeing where he takes things to next, as I think he has really found himself, and now has a lot more to give.

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Next Life
02. Work On
03. What If?
04. Company I Keep
05. Away I Go
06. Father to Son
07. Rock Ferry
08. For Them
09. No Grave

LINE-UP:
Mike West – Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica and Bass
Paul Miceli-Fagrell – Harmonica, Recording and Mixing
Amy Chalmers – Violin
Travis Egnor – Pedal Steel, Slide Guitar

LINKS:
www.mike333west.com/
www.mikewest333.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/mikewest333/
www.instagram.com/mike333west/
www.twitter.com/Mike333West
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4Pd2PAm9bznnxQLxQdQQ5W
www.youtube.com/channel/UCgNLsH3duyQg_VH_qlK9kpQ

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.

EMQ’s With DÄTCHA MANDALA

EMQ’s With DÄTCHA MANDALA

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Bordeaux, France based Psychedelic Heavy Blues Rock band Dätcha Mandala. Huge thanks to them for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

We are Dätcha Mandala, a rock power trio.

We met at high school 12 years ago when we were teenagers. We all love Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and The Beatles, so naturally rock music came out from our first rehearsals, and that brought us to play more than 600 shows all around Europe, and also New York and Montreal.

We have two records, “ROKH”, an album recorded full analog with producer Clive Martin (Queen, The Stereophonics, Reef…), and “HARA”, which was just released on the 5th of June 2020, also recorded with Clive.

How did you come up with your band name?

“Dätcha” is a Russian house, it represents materialism, and “Mandala” is a drawing made by Tibetan monks, referring to spirituality. “Dätcha Mandala” means the balance between the material and spiritual sides of humanity, a kind pf Yin and Yang.

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

We come from Bordeaux, in the South West of France, and there are a lot of great bands here, like Gojira, Mars Red Sky, Gorod, The Great Old Ones, Salamander Jiver, The Inspector Cluzo, Overcharger, Francis Cabrel etc.

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

Our latest release is a video clip of “Stick It Out”, the first single of our upcoming album “HARA”. You can find it on Youtube, also on Spotify, iTunes, stuff like that.

Who have been your greatest influences?

The musical/rock scene in the late 60’s, 70’s from the UK and USA of course!

What first got you into music?

The influence of our families and close friends, who played music before us.

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

If we have to choose someone famous, we would probably say Robert Plant, but if we are more realistic, we would like to collaborate with Mars Red Sky.

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

We would love to play at Hellfest, because we would love to play at Hellfest!

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

A fan gave us a painting of her own creation, which was supposed to represent flowers, but it looks like a dozen vaginas…

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

We think our fans are wise enough to take the good decisions in life, so they don’t need any advice from us!

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

Nico: Jeff Buckley

Jeremy: Kurt Cobain

Jb: Janis Joplin.

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

What we enjoy the most is to play concerts, sharing energy and music with the crowd, and meeting everyday new people.

What we “hate” is that most time is on the road and waiting backstage, which is so much longer than the show itself.

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

We would prefer the label directors choose an artist because of his quality rather than is popularity on social media.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Nico: “Grace”, by Jeff Buckley

Jeremy: “LA Woman”, by The Doors

Jb: “Back In Black”, by AC/DC

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

Live performance!

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

Don’t know if it’s the best, but one of the craziest experiences was at the Stadium of France.

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

Jeremy: A drug dealer

Nico: A shepherd or a monk

Jb: A Paleontologist

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

We would gather Louis de Funès, Frank Zappa, James Maynard Keenan, Jane Goodall and Divine.

What’s next for the band?

What’s next is the release of our new record “HARA”, which came out on the 5th of June on Mrs Red Sound label.

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

We use Youtube, Deezer, Spotify, iTunes, Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp etc.
www.facebook.com/datchamandala/
www.instagram.com/datchamandala/
www.datchamandala.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCBEE5mqy7ol-FrctE4hZ8yQ

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

We don’t know and as we don’t want to google it, we’ll go on the biscuit!

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

Thank you!!

Photo by Julien Dupeyron

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

Thirteen Stars – Finest Ramshackle Jam

Thirteen Stars – Finest Ramshackle Jam
RPM Music
Release Date: 19/06/2020
Running Time: 55:12
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

When you think of Southern Rock and Blues, you probably picture a beat up back porch in the dusty southern states of America in the warmth of the evening sun, upon which there sits a craggy gentleman, supping a Southern Comfort or a nice bourbon, whilst singing about life and strumming a guitar. Or driving across an orange dessert in an open top Cadillac on the way to Woodstock, the sun beating down and the dust sticking hard to your brill-creamed handlebar tash, swigging from a bottle of moonshine and toking on a Marlboro.  And you would be forgiven for thinking that the members of Thirteen Stars had all indeed been living that life in order to create the Southern Rock sound that we all know and love. But you’d be wrong. They are, in fact, from the West Coast… of Cumbria, UK. Being a dweller of the UK myself, I can confirm that Cumbria is neither dusty, nor sunny for a good 95% of the year, so getting that Southern sound the way Thirteen Stars do is pretty impressive!

Their latest release, and fifth studio album, “Finest Ramshackle Jam”, is due to drop in mid-June 2020. The album was recorded at Doncaster’s Axis Studios, which has played host to a variety of names, including Terrorvision, Massive Wagons, and Black Spiders, and engineered and produced by Matt Elliss, with co-production by Thirteen Stars’ frontman, Hoss Thompson. The album was mastered by Geoff Pesche (Page & Plant, Therapy, The Divine Comedy) at Abbey Road Studios no less (if you don’t know the significance of that place, are you even a music fan?)!

The album as a whole has been inspired by, and pays homage to many sub-genres of Rock and musical icons from ages past, with nods to Rockabilly and classic Rock ‘n’ Roll, and hints of greats such as Queen, Tom Petty, and Elvis Presley, amongst others. The use of instantly recognisable instruments – Hammond organ, a brass section, and Bass Clav – provide a classic 50s, 60s and 70s feel, but it’s in no way ‘dated’. The sweeping backing vocal harmonies and guitar harmonies throughout, the fuzzed-out guitar solos, and the extremely good, multi-layered mixing, give “Finest Ramshackle Jam” a very ‘full’ feel, which is really pleasing to listen to. I particularly like the use of panning on many of the songs, which creates a brilliant sense of depth, and almost makes it feel like you are watching a live show (remember them?… they were fun… ☹).

The album starts at apace, with ‘I’m Ready’, a track that frontman Hoss Thompson describes as a composition in which the idea of music is personified, and is asking ‘are you ready to dedicate your life to me, whatever hardship that may bring?’ to which the answer, for these guys, is ‘yes’!

There is a good variety of pace and feeling across the record, with upbeat tracks like ‘Be There In The Morning’ (which to me has quite a Buddy Holly feel about it), and ‘Mint Jelly’, proper full on groove in tracks like ‘Break It Down Slowly’, and even a little walk into Motown in ‘Rebel’. The whole 55 minutes of this album is crammed full of excellent musicianship from all members – one of my favourite moments being the mighty guitar work in the final track, ‘Only A Soldier’. It’s like a big hug in its richness and has plenty of wah!

I simply can’t pick a favourite track off this album, as they are all so different from each other, and explore the full depths of genres around their sound. In the press release front man, Hoss, said that this album was a reaction to their previous album, “The White Raven”, which, although liked it, they “felt that it lacked some variety, and we wanted to create a more esoteric album. One that encapsulated all the different inspirations we have and that shows the variety of songwriting that we create.” Well, congratulations guys, as you have done just that in this album. It’s not ground-breaking, but it doesn’t need to be. Its beauty is in the bands understanding of the musical roots which they emulate. These guys are really solid players in their field, and deserve much acclaim for their work, and this damn fine album. If you like Southern Rock, in any form, you’re going to love this album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. I’m Ready
02. Running So Long
03. Sweet Lies
04. Give It Good
05. Sleeping
06. Sorcery
07. Be There In The Morning
08. I’d Do Anything
09. Mint Jelly
10. Rebel
11. Steel Horse
12. Keep Calm and Carry On
13. Razor’s Edge
14. Break It Down Slowly
15. Only A Soldier

LINE-UP:
Hoss Thompson – Vocals/Guitar
Jax Sedgwick – Guitar
Mike Reid – Bass
Andy Bates – Drums

LINKS:
www.thirteenstarsuk.com/
www.facebook.com/ThirteenStars
www.twitter.com/13_Stars1
www.instagram.com/13_starsuk
www.youtube.com/channel/UCt3pEsMdP6CYVtwbLKBx0xw

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
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/03/2020
Running Time: 15:36
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

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!

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

LINE-UP:
Kevin Plant – Bass/Lead Vocals
Andy Cutty – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Steven Taylor – Drums

LINKS:
www.cryformercy.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/cryformercyofficial/
www.twitter.com/cryformercy3
www.instagram.com/cryformercyofficial/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/78fR4BEnRQLJqky32oZM4D

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.

Rebecca Downes – More Sinner Than Saint

More Sinner Than Saint Cover

Rebecca Downes – More Sinner Than Saint
Mad Hat Records
Release Date: 24/05/2019
Running time: 59:33
Review by Paul Monkhouse
10/10

The Midlands has always been a hotbed for musical talent. When you consider that the area saw the birth of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Magnum amongst world beating others, you can now add another name to that prestigious list: Wolverhampton based Rebecca Downes. Whilst she has been solidly touring with the likes of The Quireboys and (the aforementioned) Magnum and putting out great albums, this latest should see her most definitely promoted to the big league. “More Sinner Than Saint” mixes her blues rock styling with a hefty dose of AOR and this potent brew of balls and soul is so well written and produced that it stands head and shoulders above most of the releases this year.
‘Take Me Higher’ opens the album and immediately impresses with its huge sound and epic scope. The insistent guitar gives way to Downes rich vocals and swirling keys, leading to an absolutely hook filled chorus that will have you singing it for days. This is all covered in the sort of gloss that the very best of the classic 80’s rock songs boasted and is equally memorable. It should be pointed out though that this is not just an exercise in nostalgia but very much a modern album that will appeal to a wide audience due to the quality of the whole package, not just the echoes of the past. ‘Chains Fall Down’ impresses with its aching vocals, great playing by the assembled musicians and its superb, slowly building structure and ‘Screaming Your Name’ is incredibly passionate, a world-beating track dripping with real soul but eschewing any overwrought guitar soloing that so often plagues other big rock ballads.
Rocker ‘Hurts’ lets loose and is full of ballsy grit, revealing the more primeval rock ‘n’ roll side of Downes and co-writer and guitarist Steve Birkett whilst Magnum main man Tony Clarkin returns the favour of Downes appearing on their recent live album to play some beautifully fluid guest guitar on ‘Breathe Out’. Already a fan favourite live, ‘Wave Them Goodbye’ sees multi-instrumentalist Birkett not only play some great slide guitar but unleash his impressive vocal chops in this, the albums only duet. Whilst it is Downes name on the cover, her musical partnership with him is the key to their success as they complement each other in the same way that Jagger and Richards and Plant and Page mastered, the perfect combination of singer and guitarist and this chemistry is perfectly highlighted on the album.
The titular ‘More Sinner Than Saint’ is all you could want it to be, starting with a church organ this is upbeat song laced with dark lyrics captures something halfway between Fleetwood Mac and Heart in its big sound and delivery. King King’s Alan Nimmo guests on ‘If I Go to Sleep’ and it’s another, harder rocking tune that stomps its size 11’s all over you and mixes sweet female vocals with rougher male ones. Nimmo’s solo sounds huge and the fact that Downes and Birkett can call upon him and Clarkin to guest on this release speaks volumes and new Magnum keys player Rick Benton plays throughout, all adding their own magic to the recordings whilst not putting anyone in the shade. Here, the music is the thing and egos are left at the door.
‘Stand on My Feet’ transports you to the Deep South, swaying in the summer heat whilst the landscape shimmers and chrome glistens under a beating sun. For anyone who fell in love with Alannah Myles first album, there is so much to enjoy here and this track brings to mind that magnificent debut, all southern sensuality, road trips to New Orleans and long, cold beers. ‘Big Sky’ ups the tempo again from the languid pacing of the previous track and has a real bite and groove and the sort of production that Mutt Lange gave Def Leppard, Shania Twain et al. The album continues in such a strong vein and finishes with ‘In Reverse’ which features an absolutely sky-scraping vocal from Downes and the hugely powerful ‘With Me’. This closing track is probably the most affecting one of the album and ends it on an emotional high, a song of promise, hope and protection that is so intensely emotional that you may well find yourself with a tear in your eye at the end of it. All the very best music should move us is one way or another and in ‘With Me’ you have a classic love song that never falls into clichéd moments but genuinely touches the soul and shows that you don’t have to be loud to be powerful, eschewing bluster for genuine heart. In “More Sinner Than Saint” Rebecca Downes has made not just the album of her career so far but one that will stand the test of time as a genuine classic. Without any doubt, one of the finest releases this year.
TRACKLISTING:
01. Take Me Higher
02. Chains Fall Down
03. Screaming Your Name
04. Hurts
05. Breathe Out
06. Wave Them Goodbye
07. More Sinner Than Saint
08. If I Go To Sleep
09. Stand On My Feet
10. Big Sky
11. In Reverse
12. With Me
LINKS:
https://www.rebeccadownes.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaDownes/

https://www.instagram.com/rebeccadownesuk/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5lTgFnkkf5YMEy9v2p_WFQ
 
Rebecca Downes Pic
 
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.