Voidgazer – Dance Of The Undesirables EP Self-Released Release Date: 27/08/2021 Running Time: 30:04 Review by Dark Juan 9/10
Salutations, dear comrades of the army of metal! It is I, Dark Juan, who is fucking wired on hyper strength coffee and having trouble typing this as the words are moving in my head too fast to get them through the appallingly slow method of my inept two fingered typing to the keyboard. This is compounded by the fact that I have spent TWO FUCKING DAYS trying to get money into my French bank account to pay my taxe fonciere (yeah, French speakers will note that there should be accents over at least one of the e’s, but a) I am too cross to care and b) I don’t have a fucking clue how to do it anyway with my lovely QWERTY keyboard, instead of the strange AZERTY setup the French use) and my bank will not recognize my SWIFT number even after lots of threats to burn down a church…sorry, to burn down their headquarters and kick the arses of every single one of their IT department personally, whilst wearing hobnailed German paratrooper boots. That are on fire.
Fantasies of hoofing computer nerds up the jacksey with the flaming military footwear of vengeance aside, the Mighty Gothikpanzer still has no wipers that are functional and the Leichtes Gothikpanzer I have borrowed is that fucking awful to drive I’d rather walk. Still at least the Smellhounds are pleased because Mrs. Dark Juan has returned unscathed from her sojourn looking after her grandkids. Hodgson Biological-Warfare has glued himself to her side and has refused to move for the past three hours… In the meantime, I have escaped the attentions of the hairy bastards and run off downstairs to write about Voidgazer, being a (it sez ‘ere) a biker prog band from St. Louis, Missouri. In case you’re hopeless at geography, that’s in the United States of America. I’m not being a twat, I promise. I once asked one of my young gentlemen to point out where China was on a map. He pointed at Australia. I mocked him and beat him soundly for his ignorance.
DISCLAIMER: I didn’t beat him. That would be illegal and WRONG. We try to leave no obvious bruising.
This is a very strange record indeed. Vocals that would not be out of place on a Black Dahlia Murder album plumb sepulchral, guttural depths where you’d only expect to find lesser demons and stratospheric, banshee howling, overlay music that is scuzzy biker rock and roll, heavy fucking metal and extreme levels of proggy fretboard wankery. Even more surprisingly, it works and works very well indeed. Omar Olivares II (I expect the II is important, to Omar anyway) has a superb voice for metal, and it sounds like his range is effortless. I am jealous. The production job is top notch too, with more bottom end than a dry-docked aircraft carrier, and meaty as fuck guitars. Even the drums are heavy and punchy. The song arrangements are actually pretty fucking splendid too. You wouldn’t expect pretty straight-ahead metal parts to segue quite so seamlessly into the blues and prog, but there we go. Voidgazer do it with ease, and it is actually the prog parts that lift the record from merely enjoyable into something a bit special. ‘Blast Equalizer’ shows this with considerable aplomb – A song that changes into several gears, but never sounds disjointed, even when using nonstandard time signatures and experimental chord progressions. EP opener ‘Jesus Take The Needle’ owes lots and lots to “Dimension Hatross” era Voivod, but is exciting and refreshingly different, mainly due to the harsh growls of Omar (II) and some superb instrumentation. Every member of this band is a magnificent musician and once more I am reduced to bitter tears of jealously and rage, mainly because I’m too fucking lazy to practice guitar. Although as an aside, I found a Squier Jagmaster I’d forgotten I had in the attic the other day. ‘Sexual Sadist Serial Slasher’ (is this just copied from the curriculum vitae I had to send Field-Marshal Sir Richard “Alright, I’ll Take You On, But Woe Betide Your Lily-White Ass If You So Much As Put One Foot Wrong This Time, You Absolute Wankpuffin” Tilley when I asked whether I could write for him?) is rather less prog and all about speed and power. It’s a hell of a closer, breakneck and violent and absolutely fucking brilliant.
Which pretty much sums up the whole EP, really. It’s pretty unique, what with the combination of oily, dirty-fingernailed rock, leather and denim clad metal, lager-fuelled thrash, smoky blues and silk suited, strangely attired prog. With added roaring. What a fucking combination. I’m a big fan!
Voidgazer describe themselves as “Scary music to fuck to”. Yeah, I’d be scared that the fuck I would be having would be over in about thirteen seconds if I was having to keep to the tempos this bunch of American miscreants do. I will leave the last word to the hairy arsed bastards themselves:
“A hearty riff stew chock full of razors and carburettor parts, everything a growing biker needs to go out and sow terror within the hearts of the unhip.
Warning: listening to this record increases your chances of exposure to biker violence, demonic automobile possession, and goblin infestation.”
Pretty much sums it up for me, man. Even if I am tragically unhip because I ride trikes.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Voidgazer a full-throated, V-twin powered 9/10 for a record that manages to flit between genres effortlessly, yet still retains the kind of heaviness that is only found in the centre of black holes. Excellent work, colonial (and traitorous) cousins. Excellent work indeed.
Before any of you start, I’m joking about the traitorous bit. I’m British, after all, and there was some unpleasantness in the past as the US rid itself of the colonial yoke. I have to put this in here because someone, somewhere will be getting their panties all up in a big knot and thinking I’m a horrible racist, as it appears satire and humour are dying arts nowadays. I’m even wearing a Sisters Of Mercy t-shirt depicting a swastika being smashed by a fist and bearing the legend “Gegen Nazis”. Which is German for “Against Nazis”. Now that we have cleared that up…
‘Jesus Take The Needle’ (Official Video)
TRACKLISTING: 01. Jesus Take The Needle 02. Expectations Management 03. Dance Of The Undesirables (Surely the Ever-Metal.com theme tune…) 04. Blast Equalizer (The urge to spell this correctly is driving me insane but Rick has told me to leave the spelling alone, heh) 05. Sexual Sadist Serial Slasher (The new official theme tune of Dark Juan)
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ 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.
Wine Guardian – Timescape Logic IL Logic, Burning Minds Music Group Release Date: 28/05/2021 Running Time: 56:28 Review by Simon Black 7/10
True Progressive bands never cease to amaze me. The level of musicianship required to even entertain such a project is normally a fair few stops above many out there and the genre’s musicians also tend to have the kind of technical disposition that translates into the world of music production as well. I recently watched an old Pink Floyd live gig from the 80’s and was struck by how far from their roots they drifted in this rudderless post-Waters period, with an army of session guys doubling up on guitars, keys and indeed drums in order to attempt to reproduce the complexity laid down in the studio live. Obviously, technology has changed this somewhat, but it still does not hold a candle to what we have here – three chaps doing all of that complexity on their own.
Wine Guardian don’t sound like most Prog Rock / Metal albums that cross my desk. For a start, the heavily layered production that would have forced an old school producer to reach for the bottle in terror at the thought of quite how much overdubbing he was likely to have to try and get away with on analogue kit is simply not visible here. Wine Guardian have opted for a really clean and stripped back sound, that puts the instruments and the playing simply and cleanly into the front of your attention, coming across mix-wise like a hybrid of Dream Theater’s ‘Distance Over Time’ snorting Helmet’s ‘Meantime’. This is doubly surprising as most Italian outfits tend to favour the orchestral, epic ‘death by reverb’ approach, so it makes a really refreshing change to these ears. The fact that this stripped back feel probably took a really long time to actually engineer is once again testament to the skill on display, as that layering is present, but oh so subtly delivered and fools the ears very well indeed.
This is technical Prog first and foremost and clearly has had a long gestation period – steering away from commercial accessibility in favour of musical sensory indulgence for those (like me) that absolutely appreciate that sort of thing. They’ve been around since 2008, with one full length album and an EP to their name to date and this is music that clearly has taken time to craft so it takes time to really appreciate. It’s also definitely not a Metal album, but one of those many layered onions of a record that works best when peeled back one wafer thin skin at a time to, err … a good bottle of wine! That said it has moments of aggression and energy – ‘Digital Dharma’, with its thinly veiled contempt for modern political behaviour has a positively extreme metal vocal style peppering it, which goes well with the staccato delivery of the opening verses. This is an album that’s about the musical journey, not the destination, so don’t expect punch radio friendly tracks. This needs time, wine and a good set of head cans to appreciate in full, as the instrumental song-crafting creates the seemingly contradictory concept of a well-constructed musical meandering. Whilst that’s an enjoyable journey, sometimes it feels like a little more formality of structure might help, as sometime it’s not clear that we’ve moved from one track to the next. Nevertheless, it’s a gift that keeps on giving if you give it the time.
‘Chemical Indulgence’ (Audio)
TRACKLISTING: 01. Chemical Indulgence 02. Little Boy 03. Magus 04. Digital Dharma 05. The Luminous Whale 06. The Astounding Journey 07. 1935
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.
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Central Illinois, USA based Prog Rock band, The Truth Council. Huge thanks to all of 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?
Mitch Bland – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar Jason McMichael – Lead Guitar Brock Massaglia – Drums John Massaglia – Vocals, Bass Guitar
John: We are The Truth Council and we play rock n roll with a dash of prog. We formed in the cold winter of 2019. The weather was interfering with gigs, so I thought “Why not write some songs?” I recruited some friends and began writing.
How did you come up with your band name?
John: I remember thinking of something that meant nothing. I googled it and nothing came up. So, I ran with it.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Mitch: Central Illinois, USA. The Metal/Rock scene in Central Illinois is incredible. We have no shortage of amazingly talented musicians/bands in our little area of the world. This is a scene I believe could rival that of any bigger city.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Jason: Our debut EP “13 Degrees” was released last year, we are currently finalizing the last two songs for our second EP entitled “The Green Planet”. Latest single released for a limited time before CD release is called ‘Wide Awake’ We also released our first video for a song off of “13 Degrees” called ‘Beyond God’ All can be found on YouTube and our Facebook page.
‘Beyond God’ (Official Video)
Who have been your greatest influences?
Brock: It’d definitely be a 3-way tie with Mike Portnoy, Neil Peart, and Matt Garstka.
What first got you into music?
Mitch: Whether it was just hanging out at home, family gatherings, or driving in the car, there was always music playing. I was drawn to it at a very young age and was constantly getting told by my parents to quit tapping my feet and hands. It was pretty clear I was going to grow up and play music.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Jason: Chris DeGarmo. Fantastic song writer and hasn’t been really heard from in many years.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
John: ProgPower Fest here in the States would be cool. Progstock would be cool also.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Brock: I haven’t been given a gift from a fan yet, someone did hand me a bottle of wine during a show. Not super weird, but sweet of them.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Mitch: First, thank you all for supporting The Truth Council. We appreciate every single one of you. Second, keep supporting local/unknown bands. I’ve found some of the best music comes from the unsigned bands not yet heard on the radio.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Brock: Easily Neil Peart, I never got to see Rush play live.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Jason: Things I enjoy the most is the satisfaction you feel the next day after completing a recording session when you listen back to the song. I also enjoy playing to a full venue. Only thing I really hate is the opposite, which is playing to an empty venue. You tend to hype yourself up for every show and when you hit the stage and look out to a near empty venue it takes all the wind out of your sail.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
John: Trying to get labels to take chances on new acts.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Mitch: “Promised Land” – Queensrÿche.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Jason: I love the sound and simplicity of vinyl, it’s nice to see the strong come back. For ease-of-use downloads are nice as long as they are obtained legally and the artist gets paid for the work.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
John: Probably an acoustic show last year at the Fulton County Resource Center – best crowd ever.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Brock: I’d be attempting to be a European gigolo.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Jason: Chris DeGarmo ( to discuss collaborating) Joe Bonamassa (to discuss guitars), Gordan Ramsey (to prepare food and for entertainment) Eddie Trunk (great story teller) Scarlett Johansson (obvious eye candy).
What’s next for the band?
Mitch: We are currently finishing up our next EP titled, “The Green Planet”. We are shooting for a May release on that. In March, we get back to once again playing live shows. Hoping we can get more on the books now that the reins of the Covid restrictions are starting to loosen up a bit. In the meantime, we’ll just keep writing new material for the 3rd EP.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Brock: We’re on every popular social media site and streaming source. Facebook, Instagram, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube.
John: Im afraid you have me at a loss, I have no idea, but I like biscuits.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Everybody Love Everybody!!!
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.
Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage Directed And Co-Written: Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen Produced by: Banger Films 2010 Review by Chris Galea 10/10
“I always like to consider us the world’s most popular cult band.”
(Geddy Lee in “Beyond The Lighted Stage.)
Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen have produced a string of documentaries related to Heavy Metal, such as “Global Metal” and “Iron Maiden: Flight 666”. The two are Canadian so it was no surprise that at one point they would make a feature on one of the biggest bands to emerge from Canada: Rush. The duo’s knowledge, passion and dedication for the band helps make “Beyond The Lighted Stage” an engrossing account of the history of this longstanding power trio.
The documentary starts by looking at the band’s roots in Toronto and Ontario. Geddy Lee (bass/keyboards/lead vocals) and Alex Lifeson (guitars) visit the school basement where they first performed live together and where they formed a friendship that would last a lifetime. At the same time, we get to hear audio clips of some very early recordings of Geddy and Alex, which I thought was all quite fascinating.
Both their mothers reminisce on their sons’ first steps into learning their respective crafts. They admit being befuddled as to why young Geddy and Alex were giving music so much attention but ultimately both were quite supportive of their sons’ endeavours. We learn from the documentary that both their families came from harsh background. For example, Geddy’s parents were WW2 holocaust survivors….perhaps that was partly why the band endeared itself to Kiss’ Gene Simmons (Gene’s own mother was a concentration camp survivor).
“Beyond The Lighted Stage” provides quite a comprehensive insight into the band. Amongst other things it discusses the tenure and dismissal of Rush’s first drummer, John Rutsey. Then it focuses on each band member individually in an attempt to learn more about their personalities, motivations and salient memories. The documentary then moves the spotlight onto Neil Peart who, on being recruited as Rutsey’s replacement, had just 2 weeks to learn Rush’s existing repertoire before that line-up’s first gig: in front of 11000 people supporting Uriah Heep and Manfred Mann. Of course, since then, Peart has become a benchmark for aspiring drummers around the world as well as a highly respected lyricist.
The documentary shares lots of amusing stories about life on the road with Rush. Of course it also sheds light on the band’s repertoire, such as “2112”, the crucial album that cemented Rush’s credibility with music industry boffins as well as asserting the band members’ reputation as musicians in the eyes of die-hard fans.
Meanwhile the band is forthright enough to acknowledge that fans don’t always react positively to their albums but this to be expected because Rush never repeated themselves, musically speaking. In fact, as one journalist puts it: “Nobody could really put a finger on what they were.” Curiously that same journalist – who used to host a 1-hour Heavy Metal radio show back in the early 1980’s – is today chief White House Correspondent for Fox News.
Numerous personalities and well-known musicians offer their take on the band and its music….fans, journalists, Rush’s manager, Mick Box, Mike Portnoy, Trent Reznor, Gene Simmons, Sebastian Bach and Billy Corgan amongst many others. Extensive trivia…whether sad, funny or tragic…is balanced with lots of live music and a good deal of insight.
Along with triumphant moments, “Beyond The Lighted Stage” also covers some dark periods in Rush’s history, chief of which was when Neil Peart lost two members of his family in a short space of time. The way the trio handled that situation contextualises the endurance of the band’s line-up. On his subject Les Claypool, Primus bassist, says, “It’s spectacular to see 3 guys tolerate each other for all these years and still make good music.”
While providing convincing arguments on the influence of Rush on contemporary music, “Beyond the Lighted Stage” is primarily about the three down to earth and open-minded musicians that lay behind the music. Neil Peart confesses that Rush was never so arrogant that the guys wouldn’t allow themselves to be influenced by other musicians and by other music. Indeed, he says: “There was no such thing as ‘that didn’t suit Rush’. Those words have never been uttered.”
Another thing that I observed is that Lee, Lifeson and Peart never expected success to fall into their laps. They all seemed to have an ingrained attitude that ambitions could only be attained through hard work and a steadfast determination. In all honesty I found it very hard to pull myself away from the screen, so intriguing is this documentary. And excellently edited too.
The ending of “Beyond The Lighted Stage” is a very endearing and befitting way to round off the documentary. Since its release, Neil Peart has passed away (in January 2020) and Rush is no more but the band’s legacy endures…a factor which might validate Geddy Lee’s description of Rush as a ‘cult band’.
Watch the trailer here:
The 40th Anniversary Edition of “Permanent Waves” by Rush is available now:
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Vermont, USA Thrash/Death/Prog Metal band Crypitus! Huge thanks to all of 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? Zach: Hi. I’m Zach. I play drums. Crypitus has been around for about 3.5 years. It all started with Doug and Pete living and playing together. At the time I was desperately searching the internet for local musicians to jam with and Pete was the first to respond with Doug in tow. The rest is history. Pete: We are Crypitus. We play thrashy groovy prog Metal. Doug and I used to play guitar together and we decided to find a drummer. Zach was available and it’s been history since. Joe: I’m Joe and I play bass. I joined after a friend introduced me. Doug: I’m Doug and I’m the guitarist / vocalist for Crypitus. We really started this group in the spring of 2016 when Zach, Pete and I got together. After cycling through a few bass players Joe stood true as a solid fit. How did you come up with your band name? Doug: The name Crypitus actually came from when I was taking wilderness first aid in high school, my teacher came up to me rather excited and exclaimed “Do you know what a sick metal band name would be? Crypitus; it’s the sound of breaking bones!” I was sold instantly. What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there? Zach: We hail from Mendon, Vermont, USA. The metal scene varies from State to state here. My favorite local metal scene is definitely in Maine, which is the north Eastern most point of the country. No matter where we go in the states though, the music scene is a very humbling experience. It’s like a tremendous underground brotherhood. Pete: We’re from the United States. The metal scene is booming here. Lot of different genres going on! The people are incredible in the scene. They just treat everyone like family. Joe: We are from Vermont, USA. The metal scene is awesome here. Doug: I love the scene we have around here, I see so many bands in the New England region hungry to make music for people and have a great time doing it! What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video) Zach: We just released our first album, “Ill World (That’s What You Get)”. The first single from the album is called ‘Out Of Line’. We are very excited to have some fresh material out for the world to hear and we are looking into getting a music video made soon. Joe: We just released our first album “Ill World (That’s What You Get)”. Doug: “Ill World (That’s What You Get)” is our first official album, it’s so great to have that released now. It’s a culmination of the last 3 years of Crypitus, and we hope that it helps people understand our sound as a whole. The lyrical content is meant to display the danger we endure in this Ill, dying world. Who have been your greatest influences? Zach: My biggest influences are Blake Richardson from Between the Buried and Me, Terry Bozzio and Mike Portnoy. Pete: Frank Zappa, Aaron Marshall, Between the Buried and Me, Exmortus, Mastodon. Joe: Metallica, Primus and SOAD. Doug: I love Megadeth, Death and Death Angel. What first got you into music? Zach: Birth. As a toddler, my father was a metal head. I had a drum set made of phone books and pots and pans. Riding in the car, I used to bang my head off the front of my car seat when the metal was blaring. It’s in my blood. Pete: I’ve been into music since I was really young. I played piano from 5-10 and switched to guitar after that. Joe: My parents listened to good music when I was growing up. Doug: Music has always been amazing, ever since I can remember I was delving into music and artists and all the stories surrounding. If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be? Zach: I’d really like to get a chance to rock out with Sithu Aye. There’s another local band that I’d really like to replace their drummer too. Pete: I’d love to jam with Plini. Joe: Primus. Doug: I’d love to jam with Voivod. If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why? Zach: Herd Flock. It’s a small one but it’s like home. Pete: Reading Festival in England seems really cool. Doug: I’d love the chance to play Heavy MTL in Montreal QC CA. What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan? Pete: I’ve gotten some free drinks once but that’s about it. Doug: We got sent home with an insane amount of homemade bread once! If you had one message for your fans, what would it be? Zach: Hakuna matata. Pete: Just play the music you want to. Don’t conform to any genres. Doug: Support your local artist! Literally anyway you can, we are working our tails off for you! If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be? Zach: Chuck from Death. He’s the only one. Pete: I’d bring Frank Zappa back. Doug: What Zach said? What do you enjoy most about being a musician? And what do you hate? Zach: I really enjoy hitting things with sticks. Also getting to play in front of a crowd is pretty amazing. What I like least would have to be some of the long ass drives we make to get to a show. Pete: I love expressing myself through the guitar. I hate breaking strings. Joe: Get to play cool music and travel around to awesome places. Dislike long car rides. Doug: I love being able to express myself, especially in front of people, it’s exhilarating. I do hate equipment issues with a passion. If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be? Zach: The fact that it’s almost impossible to make a living as a musician unless you get famous. Pete: I’d change the music industry to not rely on capitalism to thrive. Doug: I wish that music wasn’t a trap for people to sell out in. Name one of your all-time favourite albums? Zach: My all-time favourite album is “Colors” by Between the Buried and Me. Pete: “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd. Joe: “Sailing the Seas of Cheese” by Primus. Doug: “Rust In Piece” by Megadeth What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads? Zach: 8 track. Pete: I love vinyl. Joe: Downloads are cool. Doug: CD’s for sure! What’s the best gig that you have played to date? Zach: That’s a hard one. It was either our first Herd Flock or this year’s RPM fest. Both were awesome crowds. Pete: RPM fest in Massachusetts was pretty rad. Joe: RPM fest was probably one of the best we played at. If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing? Zach: Maybe fishing a bit. Pete: Nothing. I’d be a husk. Joe: Not a lot. Doug: Disappearing into the woods and never coming back. Which five people would you invite to a dinner party? Zach: Gandhi, Blake Richardson, Plini, Steve Rinella and my dog Lucy. Pete: Frank Zappa, Bill Hader, Bruce Campbell, John Mulaney, Joseph Stalin. What’s next for the band? Zach: A lot of shows and album promoting, winter hibernation, and world domination. Pete: We’re playing with Exmortus in December. Joe: World domination. Doug: Scattered shows throughout the fall and winter and expecting a heavy 2020. What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people? http://www.crypitus.com/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVH3Jy1IikiY_nwoedEzV0A https://www.musicindustrydatabase.com/artists/Crypitus https://soundcloud.com/crypitus https://www.reverbnation.com/crypitus https://crypitus.bandcamp.com/ https://www.facebook.com/crypitus Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit? Zach: Do they have frosting? Do you smother them in gravy? Idfk what a Jaffa cake is. Joe: It has cake in the name so cake. Doug: Word on the street is it is a luxurious biscuit that is like a cake. Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add? Please show us some love and pick up our latest release here! https://crypitus.bandcamp.com/album/ill-world-thats-what-you-get
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 both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Quantum Pig – Songs Of Industry And Sunshine White Star Records Release Date: 01/02/2019 Running Time: 40:36 Review by ‘Dark Juan’ 9/10
Well, this is not what I was expecting at all. I am confounded, astonished and surprised all at once. I was expecting some kind of insane industrial blaster. Instead, I have got a Prog Rock band who simultaneously claim they are not a Prog band. This immediately gets the antennae quivering.
Hello, I am Dark Juan and I have stopped the DIY hell I am suffering in my kitchen in order to give you the (drunken) benefit of my wisdom on “Songs Of Industry And Sunshine” by Quantum Pig, which is a fucking great name for a band. Don’t argue. You’re wrong because you don’t know what a quantum state is. I SAID DON’T ARGUE! YOU! YOU THERE, WAVING YOUR HANDS ABOUT AND EXSPOSTULATING! PACK IT IN! NO-ONE IS IMPRESSED AND THIS IS MY REVIEW, SO YOU CAN JUST SOD OFF, OK? Don’t make me unleash the Evil Ones… the Evil Ones being my excuses for dogs. There is Sir Zeusington Zeus KCMG, VC, MM, MC, DFC and Bar who WILL raid your food regardless of what security provisions you have in place, Sir Igor Egbert Cleavage-Hoover who will just shout at you until you submit to his will (don’t ever eat a sandwich in his presence if you are female. You will see why he is called what he is…), and finally Hodgson Fartpants (named for the author Willaim Hope-Hodgson, a criminally ignored and extremely innovative author who arguably wrote the first sf novel entitled The Night Land and once lived in Borth near Aberystwyth, as did I. Wales became too hot for me after I defiled a priest’s daughter on the altar in St. Michael’s in Aberystwyth. At Communion…) Hodgson has just recently returned from a dodgy regime somewhere in the world where he was seconded to their armed forces for his skills at anal chemical warfare… Ooops, sorry. Three hundred words in and I haven’t said a fucking word about the music. I know I’m new here, but you are going to have to get used to this. It will happen A LOT.
Quantum Pig, then. An extraordinary duo based in London, in good old Blighty. A pair of very irritatingly talented men whose music is currently entertaining me mightily. Imagine Pink Floyd seducing Soundgarden to a soundtrack of Rush. Now try to rid yourself of that mental image. Good luck and I’ll see you on the other side of the subsequent counselling you will have to endure. Anyway, this is what Quantum Pig sound like and I have to say although it’s only April, this album is a contender for record of the year. I fucking love it! Remember Sugar? Bob Mould of Husker Du’s other band? This is Sugar on prog steroids, baby! I love the melody of it. I love the fact that I can hear profound lyrics instead of, “WOOOOAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHH! Hurgh hurgh grrrrr waoooOOOOOO!” I like Ian Faragher’s voice and I like Mark Stevenson’s bass playing. I like the production on the record. It is crystal clear and sharp and entirely in keeping with the sound of the record. I like the guitar work and sound and how it doesn’t overpower the rest of the instruments. I like the bass sound’s clarity. I like the vocal harmonies the gentlemen employ. This is a fine record. It may not appeal to the metal purist, though. It could be considered somewhat lightweight for the person who has only ever listened to Chimaera, or who thinks metal starts and stops with Slipknot. This should not dissuade you from expending serious currency on Quantum Pig. Expand thy mind, metal pilgrim. Expand thy mind. There is more to metal than brutality. Sometimes it is composed of the most incredible magnificence and beauty. Sometimes it’s a fanged murder machine. Sometimes it pays to listen to something other than out and out metal. “Songs Of Industry And Sunshine” will reward repeated listens. I don’t want to quote lyrics, because I will ruin the wonderfulness of them, but the words are sublime. You can trust me on this.
The opening track ‘Statement Of Intent’ is just that, a song that sets the tone of the record in a rather remarkable fashion, all biting guitars and thought-provoking lyrics and things improve with the second track. In fact, it’s an upwardly trending curve of wonderfulness until we get to album closer ‘Dirty Old Engine’. Then Quantum Pig falter. You should know that I am not a fan of ballads. In fact, I fucking hate them with a venom akin to a genocidal maniac. They ruin albums. They are turgid, awful, personality-masturbating things that have no place in metal. I have a test for ballads – if it is not as good as Skid Row’s 18 And Life (being the only tolerable ballad I have ever heard) then it’s shite, mate. While ‘Dirty Old Engine’ is not quite a ballad, it does cost Quantum Pig a mark or two because their record ends on a damp squib, and not on the coruscating orgasm of magnificence it should have done. Bad Quantum Pig. Very bad Quantum Pig indeed.
However, drunken ranting aside, this is that rare thing. A prog metal album that is easy to listen to, challenging in parts, thought-provoking in lyrical content and rocks like an absolute motherfucker. Good Quantum Pig. We like it when you do that.
This record will be remaining on The Dark Juan Playlist Of Doom, Horror, Sexual Perversions And Obscure 70s TV Theme Tunes for quite some time. I suggest, no actually, I REQUEST AND REQUIRE YOU ALL BUY THIS RECORD AND CEASE YOUR POINTLESS PROTESTATIONS!
Thank you very much. I’ll be here until I’m fired.
The Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Quantum Pig a genocidally bloodsoaked 9/10. Good job Mrs. Dark Juan is in Blighty, really. I’d have some explaining to do about why the village is so quiet… TRACKLISTING:
02. Statement Of Intent
03.Citizen And State
04. Long Letter Home
05. The Shadows We Miss
07. Keep The Nation Warm
08. Dirty Old Engine QUANTUM PIG IS:
Ian Faragher – Vocals, guitars, keys
Mark Stevenson – Vocals, bass, keys LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/QuantumPig/ Tweets by QuantumPigBand
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan 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.
Evergrey – The Atlantic AFM Records Release Date: 25/01/2019 Running Time: 54:07 Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King 10/10
There are certain bands, that when they pop up on the “reviews to do” list, I always try to get my name against first and Evergrey are one of those bands! Having been a fan since I purchased a copy of their 2008 album “Torn” on a whim, and also having reviewed their 2016 album “The Storm Within” I thought it was only right that I reviewed their latest offering “The Atlantic.”
Evergrey are a Swedish Progressive Metal band from Gothenburg, formed in 1995, and led by frontman and songwriter, Tom S Englund, they have always been synonymous with “technically and compositionally outstanding standards, combined with lyrics and messages which go way beyond rock ‘n’ roll prose.”
Progressive Metal is not one of my preferred genres, but there are a few bands that stand out in the field, and, for me, Evergrey have always been one of the best. With this new album, the band have manifested their reputation as one of the most unusual and innovative progressive metal acts….worldwide!
This album also sees them complete their “Hymns For The Broken” trilogy, which began life with the launch of Part 1 back in 2014, and is all about the adventure of ‘life’. “As on Hymns For The Broken and it’s 2016 successor The Storm Within, the new album is about events and experiences in our lives,” explains Englund, “it’s about relationships, beauty and darkness, about fortune and grief, about love, hate, despair, joy and everything connected with it. Life is like a journey across the ocean, on the way to distant shores.”
So, it was rather apt then, to call the album “The Atlantic”, the second largest ocean on the planet, and with it, they take their listeners on a tempestuous voyage across the rough seas, something that only prog metal can really do!
The expressive cover art work was designed by Greek artist Giannis Nakos, who is renowned for his work for Oceans of Slumber and Hades Rising, among others. The album was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen and was produced by Tom, himself, along with drummer Jonas Ekdahl.
The lyrics of Everygrey songs have always been of the darker side, as has the band’s imagery, and this album is no different, with the words being delivered with deep feeling and emotion from the talented voice of Tom. I have always been a fan of Tom’s voice and he did not disappoint on this album. He just seems to get better and better.
There are ten tracks in total and, although together they make for a superb album, each one can stand alone with “amazing power, depth and exciting detail.” There are no bad songs here and I don’t think Mr Englund could write an awful track even if he tried.
The first track on the album is ‘A Silent Arc’ and is probably one of the fiercest and toughest tracks Evergrey have ever recorded. Says their publicity notes, it’s “brutal in a certain kind of Evergrey way!” But, this is not the only function of this track. While it also sets the whole lyrical and musical content of the album, it is also the first single release. Quite a cute move to place it number one in the track list!
There will also be videos to accompany the atmospherically heavy ‘Weightless’, my favourite track on the album, and the anthemic and melancholic ‘All I Have’, two highlights from the thoroughly diverse and haunting album. Also, check out track number two ‘A Secret Atlantis’. Those opening riffs are just magnificent.
The band’s Facebook page cites their influences as Kiss, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Korn and The Deftones, and to be honest I can’t hear any of those bands in Evergrey’s music. For me, these guys produce music that is totally unique to them. They have the riffs and the guitars, the drums and the vocals that bands of all genres of metal possess, but the way it is all put together just sets them miles apart from the rest. This is music you could break up and make up to. It’s music that makes you feel emotions that you might not necessarily want to feel. It’s music that gets you right in the stomach and tears at your heartstrings! And there are not many bands out there who can do that!
If you have not heard Evergrey’s music before….where the hell have you been for the past twenty years?? And, more importantly, GO and BUY this album! In fact go and buy them all. They are definitely a band you need to hear.
I hope these guys continue to make lots more of their fantastic music and next time they are in London (question for you there Tom??!) I will definitely be at the front!!
TRACKLISTING: 01. A Silent Arc 02. Weightless 03. All I Have 04. A Secret Atlantis 05. The Tidal 06. End Of Silence 07. Currents 08. Departure 09. The Beacon 10. This Ocean
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Evil Scarecrow – Chapter IV: Antartarctica Dead Box Records Release Date: 28/09/2018 Running Time: 48:45 Review by Beth Jones 10/10
Earth. 2018. The planet is in the grip of a dense stupidity, where man-size tissues attack poor offended snowflakes daily, and boys are forced to carry their school books in microwaves. Little do the poor earthlings know that their planet faces a new threat, in the shape of hot red people from outer space! The only hope lies at the feet of a crack team of renegades, known only as Evil Scarecrow, who must carry out a mission to play kick ass music to save the world, their mission, code name: Antartarctica.
Whether these intrepid minstrels are battling aliens, or fighting evil spirits they do it with style, and this new offering is no exception. In fact, for me it is the most rounded and musically mature album that they have released to date – even though their themes are still as bonkers and tongue in cheek as always, which makes them the band we have come to know and love.
The album kicks off with ‘Skulls Of Our Enemies’. A great tune to get things started, that could almost be a space age James Bond-esque theme for the impending Armageddon! It certainly has an element of impending large-scale disaster about it and is a great way to start!
One of their singles from this album, ‘Red Riding Hood’, is up next! This is such a great track – one of my favourites on the album, and it is absolutely terrifying! We saw them perform it live at Amplified this year and the 10-foot-tall grotesque Red Riding Hood stage character is the stuff of nightmares! But still tongue in cheek, with ingenious lyrical japes throughout, and musically great hooks, as well as the accustomed big chorus that is great to sing along to, that makes it very typically Evil Scarecrow.
Their songs really are huge musical numbers that accompany a theatrical extravaganza perfectly, and this theme continues throughout the whole album. It is proggy in places, it is symphonic and grand in others, with gothic and classic heavy metal thrown in alongside a healthy dose of electronica, as well as all the poise and excitement of a piece of spectacular theatre, which, combined with the lyrical craziness, could only be described as if the Goons or the Pythons had written Futurama through the medium of song then released it under the umbrella of Disney!
The album moves on, a pace and pretty soon ends up at ‘Hurricanado’, another rip-roaring tempestuous sing along, again with spectacularly catchy riffs, hooks and a big audience participation element. This track marks the half way point in the album, and is perfectly positioned at the peak, with its fast pace and the manic growls and howls of Dr Hell. By this point in an album I have usually heard one song that has made me pull a meh face, but not a chance here. Every element is perfectly placed, and not over egged. No song outstays its welcome, and each is different enough not to be boring, but has enough in common to make the story flow. It is witchcraft!
Track 7, ‘Polterghost’, is another favourite of mine, and not just for the madcap story, but for the brilliant chunkiness of the rhythm section, making it great for rocking out too, and the brilliant guitar work in the solo, which is not over stated or fussy, but fits the track perfectly.
What I think is really needed at this point in the album, is something to properly lose your shit too. Yet again the Scarecrows’ super sixth sense knew this and slotted in ‘Cosmos Goth Moth Gong’, because why not! It is by far the heaviest track on the album and brilliant to boot. I’m now wishing that one of the songs on this album was mediocre, as I am running out of ways to say, ‘this is damn brilliant’! This super track gives you the sense that the album is building to some totally explosive, all out galactic warfare, finale, that may result in certain death, or at the very least, a little bit of maiming. And then… ‘The Ballad Of Brother Pain’. Wow! This I did not expect! All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a toned down, slow ballad, with clean vocals and stripped back effects, that is melancholy and has a beautiful, almost ethereal quality about it, then a huge and brilliant guitar solo in the middle, taking it to the big lift ending! Again, a sing along, of stadium proportions, which blew my mind! I frikkin love this song! And indeed this album!
The closing, and title track, ‘Antartarctica’, combines all of the above, in a nightmarish, apocalyptic vision, of epic proportions with this piece on its own being an impressive 10 minutes in length! They have taken every element used so far and created an eclectic masterpiece, full of great guitar work, changes in tempo and dynamics, growls, clean vocals, rough and heavy rhythms, classic gothic cadences, narration, tension and suspense, a cuddly toy and probably the kitchen sink too!
Something very special happens when you listen to Evil Scarecrow. It brings out your inner child. No matter how bad your day is, a quick listen to this, or any Evil Scarecrow album, will bring you round and transport you into their crazy, warped Sci Fi world! The difference being with this album, is they have now really bedded in and are thinking bigger, and better, and creating musical masterpieces song after song after song. Their writing is now so mature, that they are approaching the point of complete perfection, hence my perfect rating.
This is probably the best album I have heard all year. I can’t really say much more than that, other than, get out there people, buy it and listen to it and love it like a brother, whilst you still have the chance! The world will be brought to an end by stupidity and people taking offence at the colour of the sky, but at least Evil Scarecrow will have made the end infinitely more enjoyable!
TRACKLISTING: 01. Skulls Of Our Enemies 02. Red Riding Hood 03. Way To Die 04. The Magician 05. Hurricanado 06. Gus, Zag And The Turnip King 07. Polterghost 08. Cosmos Goth Moth Gong 09. The Ballad Of Brother Pain 10. Antartarctica
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.
Seven Sisters – The Cauldron and The Cross Dissonance Productions Release Date: 13/04/2018 Running Time: 51:18 Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King 9/10
After having the opportunity to interview Graeme from Seven Sisters recently, I thought to myself that I really should give their new album The Cauldron and The Cross a spin, and why not give it a review at the same time.
Seven Sisters are a four-piece heavy metal band from London, who are, in their own words, forged from the same steel as the NWOBHM acts of yesteryear. Formed in 2013 by Kyle McNeil (vocals/guitars) and Graeme Farmer (guitars) in 2013, they are inspired by the likes of the Paul Di’anno era of Iron Maiden, Angel Witch and Virtue.
Says the band: “we have a mix of old school heavy metal (the NWOBHM movement in particular) and elements of power metal, thrash metal and things like that. We’re pretty progressive in places, but our songs are heavily melodic and hopefully pretty catchy too.”
The band have gained a reputation over the past few years as a stellar act in the heavy metal scene, playing shows all over the UK and Europe off the back of two independent releases, “The Warden Demo” in 2014 and “Lost in Time” 7” in 2015. They have since signed to Dissonance Productions and The Cauldron and The Cross is their second album.
With its main source of inspiration being a book written by Marion Zimmer Bradley called “The Mists of Avalon”, The Cauldron and The Cross is a concept album, a story that involves the two religions of Paganism and Christianity. With its myth and magical title tracks and a cover artwork depicting what looks like a scene from a fantasy film, this album has all the hallmarks of a typical power metal release.
But, this is power metal with a twist. Although, the power elements are unmistakably there, the thrash elements the band themselves stated were an influence can also be heard, but then so can the NWOBHM traits.
But that’s not all. On top of all this are the subtle prog influences too. I have never really been a prog rock/metal fan but the time changes throughout the individual tracks are clear to hear. Time changes are one of the aspects of prog music that turned me off the genre, but in this album, they seem to flow a lot better. And this, along with the changes in key, really does make it seem as if the music and lyrics are talking to you.
This is a band that obviously has an immense talent. Despite the relatively short time they have been together, they work so well and sound like they have been doing this for years. And that is something not found very often.
I read somewhere that the band intended on being a five piece, looking to recruit a singer to fill the fifth place and that Kyle was only a stand in singer. I can honestly say, that in my opinion, NOT getting that fifth person was the best thing for the band. Kyle is an absolutely fantastic singer with a voice that can cover a whole variety of ranges. He is ideally suited to the music the band play and I think that if they were to replace him now (please don’t) the whole dynamic of the band will change.
This album has everything from the speed metal of the opening track “Premonition” to the Maiden-influenced “Once and Future King” to the slower pace of “Blood and Fire.” There is also the ‘obligatory’ power ballad in “Oathbreaker” but this is, by no means, just a track that has been thrown in because people expect a ballad. It fits perfectly into the structure of the album and is one of the best tracks on it.
Stand out tracks for me, apart from “Oathbreaker” as mentioned above, are “Blood and Fire” and the double epic tracks “The Cauldron and The Cross Parts 1 and 2” at the end of the album, but my absolute favourite must be “The Turning of The Tide.” I could have that track on repeat for hours and not get bored with it.
So, should you go out and by this great album from this fantastic young band? Yes, you sure as hell do! This is a must for power metal fans, thrash metal fans, NWOBHM fans and traditional heavy metal fans alike.
I absolutely adored this album, and, for me, this is one of the best albums that has been released this year.
TRACKLISTING: 01. The Premonition 02. Blood And Fire 03. Once And Future King 04. Partings The Mists 05. Turning Of The Tide 06. Oathbreaker 07. A Land In Darkness 08. The Cauldron And The Cross Pt.1 09. The Cauldron And The Cross Pt.2
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Amplified Festival 2018 Quarry Downs, Gloucestershire July 8th 2018, Day Three Review by Rick Tilley with help from Beth Jones Photographs by Beth Jones 10/10
I’m not quite sure when everybody else got back to the tent Saturday Night/Sunday Morning because, as soon as my head had touched the pillow, I was away with the fairies. This is, somewhat, a double edged sword for me with my back problems. I usually don’t sleep very well but when I do, because I’ve lain in the same place for too long, I feel much more pain. Add to that the fact that camping is not very good for me, so when I woke up on the Sunday morning, I looked and felt like Quasimodo. Once I had managed to negotiate actually getting out of the tent, which certainly wasn’t as easy as it should have been, another thing hit me…it was even hotter than it had been the previous two days. My fresh T-Shirt literally crumpled and stuck to me, the sky was shimmering and the angry red orb, that was the sun, looked like it was ready to take top billing in a 1970’s apocalyptic disaster movie. Even the bullocks in the field across the road from us, who the previous day had looked like a gang of naughty teenage boys ready for a punch-up, suddenly looked like they had been let out from an old people’s home for the day and could barely stand up straight!
Welcome to Ever Metal’s review of Amplified Festival 2018 Day Three!
Once everybody was awake and ready we crawled slowly over to the arena and immediately stocked up on water. I’m not sure it’s particularly healthy but I was literally beginning to sweat salt and this was before any band had played a note! We arrived at the Very Metal Art Stage just as the first band of the day, Beth Blade & The Beautiful Disasters, were starting their set! Cardiff’s very own rock chick, Beth Blade is always a good way to pass some time and at 10.15am, on an already ludicrously hot morning, was no exception. The first thing we noticed, from the last time we had seen the band live, was that the bass player had shrunk by about 18 inches. It wasn’t the heat but new bassist Vincent Grieve! If you’ve not seen or heard Beth before then imagine a mix of Kiss, Suzi Quatro and Joan Jet, good old 70’s/80’s Rock N Roll. She has huge power on stage, a proper gravelly rock voice and massive presence plus a great band behind her. She isn’t a shy lass, certainly woke everybody up and the sizable crowd had a blast, as well as huge grins on their faces!
Heading over to the Red Stripe Main Stage it was clear that people were starting to slow down slightly, unless your name was Michael Randall that is, but I certainly didn’t want to miss the next band. Carrying on the Hard Rock theme, albeit in a Jack Daniels coated Southern style, Thirteen Stars ambled onto the stage and promptly blew any remaining tumbleweed away with a huge bang. Hailing from the sunshine state of…Cumbria these guys are so laid back they’re horizontal but WOW, they are good. If you didn’t know better you would swear they were from Kentucky, Tennessee or Louisiana. They play proper bluesy, groove laden Rock N Roll and even though, having seen them before, I know they rip it up in a club setting, they were perfect for this Sunday Morning slot, especially in the sun with a cheeky Cloven Hoof Rum! I got so lost in the moment that, in what seemed like about ten minutes, they had ambled off stage again to rapturous applause. Absolutely superb!
Just as we were starting to get all Woodstocked up and considered changing outfits to flares and one of Simon Yarwood’s shirts we arrived back at the Very Metal Art stage and I got my soul ripped out by one of the most mesmerisingly brilliant and emotionally charged performances I’ve witnessed in many years, courtesy of the utterly incredible King Leviathan. With them being one member down and not wearing their usual garb onstage there were a few mutterings from some, before they started, as to whether it would work but I can tell you now that there wasn’t one person, who watched their performance, that wasn’t absolutely astounded at the end. Vocalist/Guitarist Adam Sedgwick was an unstoppable force on that stage and I couldn’t peel my eyes away from him. Blackened Thrash Doom isn’t usually Beth’s thing but we were both gobsmacked at the ferociously beautiful music that was coming out of the speakers. To know that King Leviathan will soon be no more is a very sad thing indeed. Completely compelling and enthralling from start to finish King Leviathan, amongst an ocean of fantastic performances over the weekend, were my band of the Festival!
After the emotion of King Leviathan’s performance and also realising that, even though I had covered myself in sun tan lotion, my neck was starting to blister we found a small area of shade by the sound desk and chilled out, chatting to others, whilst the VMA stage was readied for another “do not miss” band Resin!
I’ve known some of the band for a fair few years now and having seen and interviewed them a number of times before, plus knowing violinist Emma Bennett from her other band Cadence Noir, we were really looking forward to seeing this performance as it was the first time Beth had seen them and the first time I had seen them properly live with this line-up. It was also going to be interesting to see how the, as yet unstoppable, sound team handled a six-piece band with a violin player and three guitarists. I needn’t have worried because the sound engineers nailed it and Resin were absolute class from first note to last.
Musically this is a band of ultra-talented musicians (well, cough, apart from Simon). Their songs are incredibly dark and emotional, and the performance echoed these emotions. What they do is almost installation art as well as music; with the stage being jam packed full of a motley crew of tattoos and piercings, loud shirts, and the statuesque gothic beauty of Emma. Off stage the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Dave Gandon, guitarist/vocalist Mark ‘Chez’ Roseby, bassist/vocalist Drask George and guitarist Simon Yarwood are absolutely lovely guys but on stage they are incredibly intense. This is the place where they thrive and their emotions are laid bare. Backed up by the fantastic drumming of Ryan Hextall and the beautiful violin work of Emma, Resin were nothing less than haunting, a perfect fit for the Sunday line-up and a must see if they gig near you!
Because we were covering the event and wanted to properly watch as many bands as we could we walked back to the main stage again and I thought to myself that if I hadn’t lost at least half a stone by the time I got home then I would be a bit miffed, however, it was now so stupidly hot that some people had either left the arena to find some shade amongst the trees or just stopped, wherever they were, and sat/laid down. Many had done this about midway between the two stages so that they could still hear/see the bands without moving (the beauty of no clashes working a treat). This did result in some of the Sunday afternoon bands playing to, what looked like, a thin crowd but that wasn’t actually the case, everybody was just spread out!
Next up on the Red Stripe Main Stage were Scottish Progressive metallers Ramage Inc. and, as they played, a thought went through my head and it went something like this! “Fuck Me it’s hot, how is nothing on fire?” followed pretty quickly by the realisation that something was on fire and it was Ramage Inc. Having never seen these guys before, or listened to much of their music, it was another of those ‘Why the heck have I been so stupid?’ moments! This four piece band from Edinburgh has oodles of talent and their songs are so damn catchy and dark. Equal parts melody, rhythm and power, fans of Devin Townsend will adore them, although you probably already know that as I appear to be very late to the party. On the day Ramage Inc. were absolutely superb and, since returning home, their albums “Feel The Waves” and “Earth Shaker” have been played whenever I have the spare time! They are another hugely compelling band!
While Beth nipped over to see Marc and Nici at the Corrosive Merch/Goblin Dreams Stands I ventured into the very hot and VERY crowded G’s Bar Stage to check out The SoapGirls. Now, if you don’t know about The SoapGirls they are two Sisters, Noemie and Camille, who play Raw Rock/Punk Rock tunes and they play them whilst pretty much in the nude! I got told many times over the weekend that they are both lovely girls and I’m not disputing that for one second. I’ve also got no objection to anyone, male or female, who wants to get up on stage with nothing on and play music, a prude I am not. However, I’ve heard 1,000+ bands play their style of music and play it much better. With all due respect to The Soap Girls I really don’t think they would have the huge following they’ve managed to get if they went onstage in T-shirts and Jeans. You can call me cynical if you want but it’s a promotional tool that they have used well!
By this time my body really wasn’t responding very well but, if you know me, you’ll know I don’t give in without a fight so it was back to the Very Metal Art Stage to watch a band, that we hadn’t seen live before, but were really looking forward to. I could wax lyrical about Twisted Illusion, because they were so good, but I’m going to leave this bit to Beth because her write up sums it up perfectly!
“Twisted Illusion took the bronze medal spot for performance of the weekend for me, only outdone by Evil Scarecrow and Soil. If heaven exits, this is the soundtrack that is playing! Matt Jones, Matt McDade and Mark Wagstaff are three unbelievably gifted musicians, all meeting in perfect harmony to make Prog Mecca! It reminded me of the bit in Bill and Ted, when Rufus takes them to the utopian future after Wild Stallion’s music has brought about world peace! I was absolutely blown away by the tone and range of Matt Jones’ vocals and his incredibly decadent guitar solos. It was self-indulgent and ego laden but all tongue in cheek. Twisted Illusion’s stage presence plus witty repartee and banter from Matt J made it mesmerising and they are now my new favourite band, so much so that we are going to see them for my Birthday treat this year! Twisted Illusion – So good they make you pull a sex face!”
What I’ve heard of Florence Black, up to this point, has been really good and when speaking with people, across the course of the weekend, it was a name that had come up a fair bit as a band punters wanted to watch so it was back to the Red Stripe Main Stage to see them and we were very glad we did. A trio from Merthyr Tydfil (Hey, we definitely had to support the Welsh bands) they play thumping Classic Hard Rock, with a little modern twist, and they do it very adeptly too. Vocalist/Guitarist Tristan has an awesome set of pipes and, along with their strong melodies, this made for a really enjoyable performance. Florence Black were another great booking for a Sunday slot, especially with the good weather, and a band I very much look forward to seeing live again soon!
What I had loved about the Sunday, so far, was that the bands booked, with the odd exception, had been a little more laid back and perfect for a crowd whose energy levels were probably a little on the waning side, but if anyone mistakenly thought that things were starting to wind down, then they were rudely awoken when the magnificent Shrapnel hit the Very Metal Art Stage. Another band I have been a fan of for a fair while, but had never seen live before, Shrapnel are an utterly furious juggernaut of Thrash & Speed Metal, their sound giving a huge nod to the likes of Testament and Exodus but stamping their own twist onto proceedings as well. They sounded like a squadron of advancing Challenger Tanks and had heads snapping in all directions. I love my Thrash and this felt like a starter, main course and dessert all in one go. Rather than feel completely drained by the time they left the stage I felt utterly re-invigorated!
With a renewed spring in my limp I hobbled, with Beth, back to the Red Stripe Main Stage because there was absolutely no way we were missing the next band. We first saw Mason Hill live, about a year ago, at RockWich 2017 and they absolutely blew us away, in fact it had almost brought Beth to tears so emotional was their performance. Since then we’ve met them, interviewed them, seen them live a couple more times and have championed them on Ever Metal and we were absolutely stoked they were playing on the big stage at Amplified. Unfortunately, the heat had got the better of a lot of people by this point, so sadly the crowd was a little sparse but that never stops Mason Hill and they gave every ounce of energy they had. They play Classic Melodic Rock with a Modern twist, have great material that is really catchy, they are all gifted musically and they play with excitement and passion. They even graced us with some new tracks that will be on their debut album and they are fabulous. We aren’t the only ones who think they rock, they’re now signed to Frontiers Music and they don’t sign unless they see something special! It’s a shame more people didn’t see them because they deserved to be playing to a much bigger audience but they still made some new fans at Amplified. Part of my step-daughters photography prize was to photograph them being interviewed by us later in the day and it was a joy to catch up with five of the nicest people you’ll ever meet! We love Mason Hill!
From a photography point of view Beth says that, Misfit’s guitarist, Doyle’s band was her favourite of the weekend. ‘Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein’ is an incredibly striking subject with his sculpted make-up and hair, body of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger and towering stature enhanced by some magnificent platform boots! Musically Doyle are, unsurprisingly a bit like The Misfits, churning out catchy, Horror themed, sludgy Punk/Rock n Metal. Frontman Alex ‘Wolfman’ Story is also an intriguing character. He looked like he had sunk three bottles of Jack Daniels before hitting the stage and his banter, in-between songs, was unusually humorous with each track being introduced as ‘this one is a love-song that you can dance to if you want’ in a slurred accent, before launching into another great performance. It was too hot to dance and there were a few too many love songs but Doyle are the embodiment of US Rock n Roll excess. You feel like they should have been playing this material at New York’s CBGB’s club in the 1970’s whilst throwing TV’s out of hotel windows and driving vintage cars into swimming pools. It’s hard to believe Mr Doyle is actually a vegan! Make sure you catch them on tour!
By this time my legs were completely numb, it’s very weird walking on what feel like lumps of wood, but I had said at the outset that I intended to watch as many bands as I possibly could and next up on the Very Metal Art stage were a band I hadn’t seen live for many years…Xentrix!
Alongside Onslaught, Xentrix were always one of my favourite UK Thrash bands and it’s hard to believe that it’s nearly thirty years since I trudged into London, as I used to do on a regular basis, to buy their debut album ‘Shattered Existence’. Like many bands they’ve gone through a couple of break-ups and many line-up changes but at Amplified they were utterly superb. Bull-Riff Stampede guitarist Jay Walsh is now also vocalist/guitarist in Xentrix and he did a cracking job. They were tight with razor sharp riffs and thunderous drumming fighting for supremacy and once again, any thoughts of slowing down from the Amplified crowd were banished as necks shook and legs stamped. As the sun slowly started to dip and the inferno level temperature subsided by a degree or two, it looked like everyone had been given booster pills! This was a fantastic performance from an excellent band and it certainly won’t be years until I see them again!
Back on the Main Stage it was time for Industrial/Alternative Metal heavyweights Sulpher to crank up their amps but I had to bow out due to needing medication/water and a fresh t-shirt, however, Beth went to watch them so here are her thoughts! “I really love Industrial Rock/Metal, I don’t know why; I think it’s the raw edge power of it. The low bass and harsh drums just get to me. I think that the band were on stage, although it was a little difficult to tell sometimes with the amount of dry ice that was being pumped out! Having not seen Sulpher before, I didn’t know if this was a normal occurrence or if someone back stage had broken the switch on the machine but it certainly added to the atmosphere of their music! Again, the crowd was a little thin as many were still in the process of finding shade/nursing burnt skin or were in the G’s Bar Stage watching the, much talked about, Ward XVI and unfortunately I think this got to the band a bit with the between song banter being a little harsher than was necessary. It was a shame because, musically, Sulpher were absolutely outstanding”
I will add that even though I couldn’t see the band properly, I could hear them pretty well (I hope those sound guys were well paid because they deserved every penny) and Sulpher sounded fantastic. Since returning, Beth and I have checked out a fair bit of their music and neither of us would hesitate to go and see them again!
We were now heading towards the twilight of Amplified 2018 but the Headline band on the Very Metal Art stage was one I love but didn’t think I would ever see live so, even though I felt like a rat with no legs stuck up a drainpipe, I was as close to front and centre as I could be. With a massive portable lighting rig having appeared on stage along with a drum kit the size of a military cargo plane there was very little space left to actually stand but when Belgian Thrash/Speed Metal machine Evil Invaders flicked the on switch it was like they were playing Wembley Stadium.
I’ve already told you how much I like my Thrash and that there had been some awesome Thrash bands on over the course of the weekend but Evil Invaders took it to Def-Con 4. Their energy levels could have supplied the National Grid, which was just as well considering the amount of aircraft landing lights onstage. Vocalist/Guitarist Joe looked like the bastard lovechild of Lemmy and the Tasmanian Devil, his scowl utterly monstrous, and was a whirlwind of adrenaline from start to finish. Lead guitarist Max and bassist Joeri weren’t far behind and how the three of them managed to circumnavigate the space available without crashing into one another was astounding. All you could see of drummer Senne from behind the massive framed kit was a tornado of arms and hair and the occasional maniacal grin. If you’ve never heard of, or seen, Evil Invaders before then rectify that now because a band that is made up of equal parts Kreator, Heathen, Holy Moses, Iron Angel, Metallica, Exodus, Motörhead and a pinch of Septic Death is a pretty magnificent one in my book! They were a perfect wat to bring proceedings to a close on the VMA Stage and I really hope I get to see them live again!
During the Evil Invaders set Beth and I discovered Rum Bellini’s from the Cloven Hoof stand and they were absolute nectar, just about giving me enough energy to walk, one last time, to the Red Stripe Main Stage!
“And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…” Here we were for the final performance on the Main Stage for another band from Beth’s formative years, Irish Rockers, Therapy? Now I’m going to be honest, when people, including Beth, talk to me about music in the 1990’s I nearly always do a ‘meh’ face. However, I cannot deny, that I was proved wrong yet again! Therapy? gave a fabulous performance with a mix of classic tracks and new material from the forthcoming album “Cleave”. Andy Cairns must be one of the nicest frontmen I’ve ever watched and between him, bassist Michael McKeegan and drummer Neil Cooper they make a heck of a lovely noise!
Everyone was having the time of their lives, singing along to just about every track and the atmosphere was electric, as the angry sun finally dipped below the horizon to give us some respite. It was almost as if Therapy? were battering it into submission! We had to sit down for most of their set, because we had definitely hit the proverbial wall. My back was agony and my legs were in serious danger of losing circulation plus Beth had developed elephantiasis in her ankles, but from our picnic blanket which had been very kindly supplied by the Motley Brew and with our cuppas aloft, we sang and cheered and smiled that melancholy smile you do when you know that something utterly fantastic has happened, but is coming to an end. Thank you Therapy? for an enthralling and brilliant way to end our Amplified 2018!
If you wanted still more then Welcome Back Delta were getting ready to play on the G’s Bar Stage but, like the previous two evenings, we finished with the Main Stage Headliner. We settled back down in the Motley Brew tent and chatted to anybody and everybody that arrived and we said goodbye to some who were packing up and leaving that night. There were no words to describe how we felt by this point, we were ridiculously tired, sweaty, dirty, in pain, drained, thirsty and a thousand other things but we also felt elated, thrilled, rapturous, enthralled, inspired and intoxicated, not by alcohol, but by the atmosphere and experience. It was very clear to see that we weren’t the only ones who felt like it either. After what felt like a wonderful eternity we finally dragged ourselves back to the tent for much needed sleep.
We didn’t get any sleep because a group of people, camping near us, decided that Sunday night was party night, hey they were just enjoying themselves, but with very groggy eyes we finally gave up trying to sleep at 6:00am and started to pack up. Mercifully, but also ironically, the temperature had decided to drop, somewhere in the region of 15 degrees, overnight. Had that happened a day earlier there would have been more people watching bands on the Sunday and my neck wouldn’t have looked like a bad case of Leprosy but I can say, with a clear conscience, that this was the best open air Festival weekend I have ever attended. It may not have had the largest audience, every event has to start somewhere, and it may have been hotter than everlasting purgatory in Hades but the atmosphere was the best I’ve experienced. You all know that we are family and I have never experienced that family feeling quite as much as I did at Amplified 2018. It would take me too long to name people individually so thank you from the bottom of my heart…you all know who you are!
I’m only going to mention one name because without his vision, drive and stubbornness Amplified wouldn’t have happened in the first place and, after last years debacle, it certainly wouldn’t have got to year two without his bloody mindedness. Gary Paterson take a bow and make sure you have a rest because Amplified 2019 is going to be even bigger and better, I’m not sure how but it will be!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley, Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of all parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.