Archive for Ravenage

Warhorns 2014 announced

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 23rd June 2014 by Nico Davidson

The third edition of the annual Warhorns Festival has been announced. Unlike the previous two years, Warhorns 2014 will take place in Selby, near York, at The Riverside on Saturday 20th September. Announced so far for the festival are York’s mercenary metallers Sellsword as well as Nottingham pirate metallers Red Rum and Hullian black metal outfit Aloeswood. Other bands are to be announced including the headliner and ticket information will be available in the near future.

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Ravenage release lyric video plus announced for Bloodstock 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd June 2013 by Nico Davidson

Heathen metal band Ravenage have recently released the lyric video for their song The Road To Retribution (Northbound Part II) that will be featured on their upcoming album which is currently untitled. The song is inspired by Bernard Cornwell‘s Saxon Stories series which follows the tale of Uhtred Bebbanberg. The video can be viewed below.

In related Ravenage news the band have been confirmed to play on the Jagermeister Acoustic Stage at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air. This will be the band’s first Bloodstock appearance in five years. Ravenage will also headline the first night of Valkyrian Festival in November.

Ravenage online:

http://www.officialravenage.com
https://www.facebook.com/officialravenage/

 

Warhorns: Day Two @ The Duchess, York

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , on 7th October 2012 by vmteam

Skyforger, Wolfchant and more
The Duchess, York
22nd September 2012

Much to my regret, I didn’t make the first day of Warhorns Festival. However, on Saturday I was in York bright and early, determined to make up for lost time. Since the gig wound up starting around half an hour late anyway, I managed to get an excellent barrier vantage point for what turned out to be a unique opening performance, courtesy of two one-man bands that had joined forces and found some session musicians just for the occasion. England’s Aloeswood, the project of Ravenage‘s Danny “Dagstyrr” Downing, had teamed with North Carolina’s Desiderium (whose mastermind Michael Rumple had flown himself in at frightening expense to be here) for a one-off joint show that I felt privileged to witness, since apparently Aloeswood at least never intend to play live again.

Which is a great shame, because their half of the set was stunning. Aloeswood‘s sound is on the more reflective, moody side of the pagan metal style, defined by unhurried rhythms and flowing, lyrical guitars, filled with texture and interleaved melodies. While it’s always difficult to sing someone else’s material, Michael threw himself into the vocal parts with a will and his voice fitted well, leaving Danny free to give all his attention to his guitar – indeed, one highlight of the ensuing performance may well pass into metal myth. When during new track Winter Michael handed Danny a small metal spanner, we were all a bit confused. When Danny promptly applied the spanner to his strings, producing an absolutely amazing eBow-esque lead break that went on for several minutes, our jaws dropped in awe.

And then, after three tracks, Michael threw off his shirt, swapped places with Danny and announced “We’re now a completely different band!” Enter Desiderium, purveyors of an ambient-tinged, atmospheric black metal sound that followed surprisingly smoothly from Aloeswood‘s songs. Sadly it was obvious at once that this material had been less rehearsed (unsurprisingly, given the problem of the North Atlantic being in the way of any prior gatherings) but even so, the songs still came through and the passion that Michael threw into his performance was inspiring to see. I also had the pleasure of briefly meeting him and shaking his hand at the end of the set, and for my pains was gifted a copy of Desiderium‘s first album An Image of Solitude on limited edition cassette(!) Thank you Michael, if you read this, I was genuinely thrilled by that.

The challenge of following this demented double-bill went to Scotland’s Morlich, who are an alarmingly young-looking collective peddling a melodic folk/black metal sound that promises a great deal of potential just waiting to be fulfilled. While they’re a little short on stage presence that’s a skill that tends to come with experience, and their guitarist Corvus possesses a real gift for conveying emotion in his solos. Definitely ones to watch – and a source of more free music, as they were giving away demo CDs for their new album at the end. Thanks lads, can’t wait to hear the final version!

Third up were Shallow Intentions; whose set I got completely caught up in and really enjoyed, as they play an accessible brand of fast, rattling, danceable viking metal – complete with costumes and warpaint – that’s tailor-made for enthusiastic headbanging and horn-throwing. Their technical excellence wasn’t the best, unfortunately, but their charisma and energy carried them across a few minor missteps without too much trouble and they got a warm response from a cheerful crowd. A fine, entertaining performance with no pretensions.

Following this were Ireland’s Celtachor, who were the only band of the day who really didn’t work for me. Part of this was because their already aggressive sound was being mangled by the PA into a nigh-impenetrable wall of noise and I was having trouble actually hearing the songs, but given that, their frontman’s Celtic berserker routine proved more of a hindrance than a help. His glaring and exhortations were so vigorous that he really seemed at times like he hated every single one of us, and the intimidation factor that resulted wasn’t helping my attempts to focus on the music and pick out what was going on. Eventually, half deaf and not much the wiser, I admitted defeat and retreated to the back to catch my breath.

However, next after Celtachor were one of the main reasons I was here in the first place: Ravenage, the band of Warhorns organiser Glyn “The Heralder”. And truly, they did not disappoint me. With a newly energised lineup, having recently replaced their bassist and got keyboardist Windrider back after a lengthy hiatus while he toured with Alestorm, they opened up with all dials set to eleven and never slowed down for a second. Thankfully the PA issues that had afflicted Celtachor seemed to have disappeared, and they blasted unhindered through such anthems as Viking Dream, Northbound Part I, and the inevitable More Beer, and also finally gave us Northbound Part II which we’ve all been waiting for ever since Part I came out. The best thing about the set for me, though, was finally seeing them with Windrider, as he’s been absent at both previous Ravenage shows I’ve seen (no disrespect of course to the legendary Articus, who’s been filling in!); watching him play his heart out, eyes closed and hair flying, was beautiful to see, and it was immediately clear how much his presence adds to their performance. A truly triumphant return to form for one of the best rising bands in English metal.

Indeed, Ravenage effectively headlined the British Isles section of the night, since the top tier of the bill had been reserved for those bands who’d come a good deal further to play. First came Belgium’s Angeli di Pietra – defining themselves as “powerfolk” and with no fewer than seven members including both male and female dedicated vocalists, they won the crowd over in the space of about five seconds flat with their charm and energy. While their chosen genre tag is certainly apt, they never let the power metal side of their sound get over the top and the results were gloriously melodic while still heavy enough to keep the Warhorns crowd entertained. Despite the number of people they were squeezing onto the Duchess’s crowded stage they even managed to move around and make some use of the space, which also impressed me. And I’ve seldom seen a band so visibly overwhelmed by a crowd’s welcome for them – summed up when vocalist Guy was teaching us the words to the singalong for Onwards to Asgard, and after a single round of “Onwards-” “-TO ASGARD!” shook his head in amazement and declared “That was perfect, let’s go!” An equally unanimous and correct response greeted the demand “Whom among you is the one they call Spartacus?”, leading into a track called, of course, “I Am Spartacus”, and occasioning plenty of laughter and cheering in the process. Fun, heartwarming and a welcome breath of fresh air, I’d be delighted to see this band again if they return to our shores.

Equally excellent, though requiring a swift change of mental gears, were Germany’s Wolfchant. I wondered what was up when the entire front section of the stage was cleared of all but a single micstand, but when Wolfchant came crashing on, all became clear. Their thunderous, no-frills, pagan Metal-with-a-capital-M sound is huge and so are they, even the smallest and slightest of the band having a physique that wouldn’t disgrace a pro wrestler. Like Angeli Di Pietra they have two dedicated vocalists, in this case both male; I’d consider that excessive in most bands, but Lokhi and Nortwin are an amazing team, throwing the vocal lines to each other with split-second synchronisation and performing as a seamless double act to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Even a cover of Grave Digger’s Rebellion didn’t slow things down, overclocked until it sounded perfectly in place. Definitely the wildest it got all night, the air dripping with testosterone, fury and pagan pride, the front rows going berserk (including me) and the whole thing culminating in a near riot both onstage and off when what seemed like half the performing presence at Warhorns were invited onstage for a storming performance of Never Too Drunk. If you ever get the chance to see this band live, don’t miss it; the experience is a treat.

Physically demanding as Wolfchant‘s set was, I’d hardly got my breath back by the time Skyforger came on. Foolishly I’d abandoned my barrier spot between bands and discovered I couldn’t get it back, as every Latvian fan present (of whom there were an impressive number) had charged down to the front while I was gone. So I saw Skyforger from three rows back, which was fine. What might have been less fine was the fact that they’ve recently lost their folk instrumentalist, meaning that the Skyforger you get onstage nowadays is doing with guitars everything that used to be done with traditional instruments; but as it worked out, I was delighted to realise that with the folk gloss partially lifted from their powerful, epic sound, lurking underneath is a huge helping of classic eighties metal influences ranging from Slayer to Iron Maiden. They sounded flawless, and you would never have known they hadn’t been playing that way for their whole career. Their stage presentation is inspirational, too – richly dressed in medieval-style costume, frontman Pēteris resplendent in his black and scarlet, they dominated the stage with the confidence and presence of veterans, needing no theatrics to support them.

And apparently, there’s crowds, there’s partisan crowds, and then there’s Skyforger fans. The front rows were lapping it up with an obsessive devotion, and there was even a large Latvian flag making the rounds a row or two back. The acclaim that greeted tracks like the beautiful Migla Migla, Rasa Rasa was deafening, and to hear a crowd singing along in flawless Latvian in an English venue made me proud to call myself a fan of this amazing, borderless music that we call heavy metal. Skyforger and their fans truly exemplified the spirit of the Warhorns Festival, and I can’t praise them enough. A perfect end to a perfect night.

So in closing, I’d just like to extend all thanks and honour to Glyn and Marc who organised this amazing event, and I can’t wait for the next gig under the Warhorns banner.

Kit Rathenar [Destructive Music]

Band of the Month: Ravenage [09/2012]

Posted in Band Of The Month with tags , , , , , , , on 8th September 2012 by Nico Davidson

Following an epic battle of votes, none other than Hull-based Viking warband Ravenage came out as the victor.

Formed back in the cold winter nights of 2007, the band have gone on to forge together a unique, powerful and epic sound, along with three releases under their sword belts. Ravenage have also shared the stage with the likes of Skyclad and Hecate Enthroned, as well as Viking metal heavyweights Tyr. Later this month, Ravenage will also be partaking in the first ever Warhorns festival, where they will be playing with the likes of Skyforger, Nothgard and Wolfchant, as well as Cryptic Age, Old Corpse Road and Norderobring.

So, if you like your metal loud, heavy, melodic, vicious and more epic than Lord of the Rings, Ravenage are well worth checking out.

http://facebook.com/officialravenage

“Sounds Of Infinity” Album Launch @ Fibbers, York

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , on 17th June 2012 by Nico Davidson

Cryptic Age, Ravenage
Fibers, York
26th May 2012

Having been fans of Cryptic Age since seeing them play the Bloodstock Metal 2 the Masses heat in Selby last year, my friends and I were anticipating the ‘Sounds of Infinity’ launch with excitement. The line-up on the bill did not disappoint. In fact, the evening was so enjoyable that we christened the evening ‘Yorkstock’. Unfortunately, I was not able to see the first or third bands of the evening – due to arriving shortly before Ravenage began their set and human needs for food and alcohol.

Ravenage’s unique blend of medieval-inspired folk metal was catchy and infused the crowd with excitement. Taking to the stage, the band created instant impact with plain medieval tunics. This could be gimmicky for a band who lacked the talent to back it up – however, Ravenage’s members possess talent in spades. They also don’t become too hyperbolic with the image so it adds to the overall effect of their music – rather than detracting – and is fun, rather than cheesy.

When watching Ravenage, their prolific stage experience is clear. They are tighter than medieval churches’ thumbscrews and their stage presence is second to none – even including bands signed to major labels. Their solidity as a unit is driven by the talented drummer ‘Eldgrim’, who engineers the machine steadily forward throughout the set. (More on ‘Eldgrim’ later, in his set as Cryptic Age’s drummer). Bassist ‘Ragnar’ expertly provides the glue that adheres the lead section to the drums. Ragnar does more as a bassist than simply provide root notes, adding a unique dimension to the music.

Guitarists ‘Dagstyrr’ and ‘Einar’ proficiently make their guitars sing, cry, laugh and tell a thousand stories of times long forgotten. Their melodies are catchy, which is necessary for a band that is so close to black metal in genre. It is keyboardist ‘Windrider’ who cements the band’s identifiable sound as so unique. Though rarely used as a lead instrument, the atmosphere generated through well-chosen effects and distinctive harmonies furthers the archaic image of the band. Windrider also skilfully adds deep, growling backing vocals to highlight and counterplay key phrases.

Vocalist ‘Glyn the Heralder’ is a gifted frontman and works the crowd like silly putty, vigorously moving across the stage. Glyn’s powerful, aggressive, growled vocals are melodic and his lyrics are always clear. He adeptly manipulates his voice, both on longer, extended phrases and on faster lyrics that fire, with machine-gun intensity, at the crowd.

Overall, Ravenage were a thoroughly enjoyable experience, like getting out of a bath of mead and wrapping yourself in a blanket of homespun cotton. They certainly left the crowd enthusiastic both for ‘More Beer’ – and for more metal!

The Germans are well known for creating long words that encompass ideas (e.g. schadenfreude). To adapt this phenomenon to English – and to describe Cryptic Age – the best word would be ‘MysteriousepicmelodicfolkCelticdifferentprogressivemetal’.

Adorning the stage were large banners of the album’s cover art, advertising the CD, further adding to the festival atmosphere. Despite somewhat cramping the stage, they definitely looked impressive and professional. There isn’t another band quite like Cryptic Age but their performance on the 26th definitely put them in the league with bands such as Nightwish and Within Temptation.

Drummer Alex Bransden (recovered from his set with Ravenage) was a metronome, ably managing numerous tempo and time signature changes, driving the band’s performance forward. He skilfully shifts between tribal-like drumming, steady, driving beats and faster, almost thrash-like double kick.

The bass guitar is an often overlooked instrument. When bands have only a single guitar (as Cryptic Age does), the bassist’s normal duties double. Tom Keeley provided a solid, driving engine, an almost thrumming, pulsing beat, while still providing some countermelody and harmony. He also seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself, grinning from ear to ear and headbanging his way through the set.

Hallam Smith’s guitar work was spectacular – he pulled double duty both as a rhythm player beneath keyboard solos and as a lead instrument. His rhythm work was solid and driving and he clearly enjoys an intuitive relationship with Keeley. His lead work ranged from intricate and technical to passionate and emotive – while technically an extremely skilled player, Smith is able to express, through six strings, a gauntlet of emotions, adding to the dramatic effect of the music.

As with Ravenage, it is the keyboards (and folky melodies) that really set Cryptic Age apart from other metal bands. Frontwoman and keyboardist Jenny Green utilises well-chosen effects and has skilfully chosen melodies that conjure up a variety of images – from a wind-swept plain to an Irish pub to a fairy realm to a classical concert hall.  Green’s keyboard expertise was clearly prevalent on the 26th – they sounded the same live as they do on the recording. The band makes use of Green’s skills effectively, including long, instrumental sections that still have a lot of variety, holding the audience’s interests.

Of course, Green’s main function is to serve as a vocalist and frontwoman. She has a wonderfully effortless coloratura soprano voice, easily climbing up to top Bs and Cs without sounding like she is straining. The image her voice conjures up is of someone reclining on a cloud – high, relaxed and floating. Her voice easily sits on top of the music, pitch-perfect – and it really is its own instrument, telling its own stories. Fortunately as well, due to clever orchestration (and talent) Green is able to perform both keyboard and vocalist duties to a high standard, so that the one does not detract from the other.

Overall, Cryptic Age’s ‘Sounds of Infinity’ album launch was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, further solidifying their place as a talented, unique band ready to take the world by storm.

“Take me away / let me be free / show me the way / to infinity.” That you did, Cryptic Age. That you certainly did.

Melissa ‘Aonia’ Adams

Warhorns Festival Update

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 15th March 2012 by Nico Davidson

We just received news that tickets for Warhorns Festival in York, later this year, should be available on sale soon, well, tomorrow by the earliest. In addition to this, Aloeswood, the solo project of Ravenage guitarist and Windrider drummer Danny Downing, will be making their live debut on the first night of the festival, Friday 21st September.

The line-up now, so far, includes Wolfchant, Nothgard, Ravenage, Old Corpse Road, Annwn, Windrider, Aloeswood and last but not least Cryptic Age.

Warhorns Festival will take place at The Duchess in York on 21st and 22nd September. For more details and news updates, visit the Warhorns Facebook page or just click here.

Týr w/Support @ Fibbers, York

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 21st February 2012 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Týr, Ravenage and Maelstrom
Location: Fibbers, York
Date: 18th February 2012

The Jorvik Viking Festival has been a proud tradition and mighty festival in the City of York for many, many years now, so what could be a more epic way to end this year’s festival with none other than Faroese Viking metallers Týr? The show, which sold out, was organised by the nice folk over at Asgard Online (who sponsored Valkyrian Festival last year). After my interview with Týr’s frontman Heri, I waited outside with the rest of the horde that virtually filled the street. By the time I got inside, the venue must have been reaching its capacity as more and more people trooped in along with several people dressed in Viking apparel which included shirts of chainmail. The buzz of excitement could be felt in every corner of the room as the horde eagerly awaited the first wave of a metal assault.

Opening the proceedings with a brutalising onslaught  were the Glaswegian black metal warriors Maelstrom. They opened up with a little song known as At Dawn They Die, a song that featured a truly terrifyingly good use of powerful screams and clean vocals. The guitar and keyboard riffs were executed perfectly like a dagger slitting a throat with precision. The shirt-and-tie wearing quintet then blasted their way through With War We Wander, a quite Turisas sounding track, especially where the keyboards are concerned. The third song they performed, currently unnamed, was quite aggressive sounding though This Dreaded Symphony sounded to have more bite while their final song of the night, Arctica, seemed to the most tragic and cold sounding part of Maelstrom’s set though the keyboards injected a subtle hint of a sagaic sound. One band in and the night was already proving to be an epic event worthy of the Aesir themselves, especially considering Maelstrom’s overwhelming and unique sound. I certainy hope to see these guys again in the near future!

The second invasion of metal came from Hull’s very own Ravenage, who over the years have become one of East Yorkshire’s finest exports and one hell of a live act! This was the fourth time that I had seen them perform and I was sorely disappointed at the length of their set. Their keyboardist, Windrider, was absent as he was touring with Alestorm, so he had been replaced for the night by his mentor whose is known simply as Art. Ravenage made way to the stage in their trademark outfits and opened up with Viking Dream which was sounding more brutal than a mace to the face. The guitars felt like they had a bit of extra crunch as well. Following soon after was the catchy Bernard Cornwell-inspired anthem known as Northbound, which Art pulled off brilliantly and would have made Windrider proud. Ragnar recited a poem that led into the eerie introduction of Shieldwalls Collide. Ravenage finished off with a heavy rendition of Drunken Sailor which led into the final song More Beer! While the performance was grand and epic – as is to be expected with Ravenage – their set seemed lacking. I’m not sure if this was due to the shortness of their set compared to previous shows or the size of the stage that made it hard for them to be active as they have been at other shows. Either way, they were the perfect choice of main support for Týr. Sadly for the York folk, it won’t be until September for the Warhorns Festival when Ravenage return. 

And then came the fury of the Northmen in the form of Týr. I literally had to fight through the hordes of fans, including several blokes in chainmail, to get near the front. A fierce roar of cheers erupted through the venue as they tore through The Lay of Thrym followed by Shadow of the Swastika. During the performance of those two songs, the energy burst from Týr like an explosion. Straight, away, it was easy that the performance was going to be epic as Heri’s vocals were on top form and each note and drum section were played masterfully. They took a quick break to engage in banter with the crowd before playing the catchy song that is Flames of the Free. By the Light of the Northern Star and Wings of Time were certainly two of the most exciting parts of Týr’s set, along with one of my favourite song’s which was the slower-paced, more progressive sounding Hail to the Hammer. The performance of Tróndur Í Gøtu brought a very folkish sound to the set that seemed to go down very well with the sold-out venue. A few songs later came a powerful and overwhelming performance of Take Your Tyrant which almost everyone in the crowd sang along to, making it much more entertaining while others began dancing around and starting a mosh pit, including some of the blokes in Viking-styled chainmail. Sinklars Visa was introduced by Heri having a bit of banter about the Scots, which enticed a group of Scots at the front to hold up the Scottish flag in true patriotic fashion. The cover of The Wild Rover was introduced in a similar fashion, only with banter and jokes about the Irish as opposed to the Scots. Týr ended their set with Northern Gate and Hall of Freedom… Or so it seemed. Every single person in the crowd began demanding more and more. The encore began with a smashing rendition of Ramund Hin Hunge followed by Hold The Heathen Hammer High and By The Sword In My Hand, both of which just made the night complete.

I think I can safely say that Týr are the best live act I’ve seen and I don’t think their studio albums will ever compare to their performance on Saturday night. Týr are definitely a band worth seeing, hell, they’re more than worth seeing. I don’t think I’d be wrong when I say their show on Saturday night could easily compare to an Iron Maiden performance.

The support acts, Ravenage and Maelstrom, are definitely two bands worth checking out as well and they certainly helped make the end of this year’s Jorvik Viking Festival very special indeed. Also, kudos to Asgard Online for a successful first gig.

Nico Davidson

Photography by David Taylor.

Photos of the gig can be found here.

The Northmen Return

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 13th January 2012 by Nico Davidson

It’s more than a month away until the Faroese titans of Viking metal known as “Tyr” hit the historic city of Jorvik (York for those who don’t speak Old Norse) for their first ever headline show in the UK. Joining their warband for the night of pillaging, drunkenness and face-melting metal will be none other than Hull-based epic Viking metal outfit Ravenage and the Scottish black metal lords “Maelstrom”.

The event is brought to you by Asgard Online (who sponsored Valkyrian Festival 2011) and will be held at Fibbers in York on 18th February. Tickets are available from Asgard Online’s official website: www.asgardonline.co.uk/asgard_events.html for only £16.00!

In celebration of the show, the team got together to bring you our favourite Tyr songs, in no precise order:

”The Wild Rover” – Picked by Hannah.

“Hold The Heather Hammer High” – Picked by Demolithia

“Ride” – Picked by Alasdair.

“Hail To The Hammer”- Picked by Iza.

“By The Sword In My Hand” – Picked by Nico.

Ravenage – Fresh From Fields Of Victory [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 20th December 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Ravenage
Album: Fresh From Fields Of Victory
Release year: 2011
Genre: Viking Metal/Folk Metal/Melodic Death Metal/Yorkshire Metal

cd_cover_small

If were to see Ravenage at a show, you’d think that they’d just walked into the venue from ye olde dark ages but it would be a mistake to think that they’re just another run-of-the-mill costumed band with mediocre talent. Since forming in ‘07 out of the ashes of Heathen Foray, Ravenage have gone to to accomplish great feats such as supporting Skyclad and Hecate Enthroned, as well as touring Portugal, Ireland and the UK along with playing the unsigned stage at Bloodstock as well. It’s been three years since the release of their EP “Hardrada’s Fall” but this year has seen the latest chapter in the Ravenage saga written, recorded and released. I am of course talking about the band’s debut full-length release “Fresh From Fields Of Victory”.

The album starts with the majestic orchestrated track “Invictus Arminius”. While at the first I was confused to as why a band labelled as “viking metal” would write a song with an apparent Latin name, it soon became clear that it’s a reference to Arminius, the Roman-raised Germanic general who led the Germanic tribes into victory at the Battle of Teutoborg Forest. Enough of the history though, one thing that truly sticks out about this track is the amount of emotion it stirs. At first instils a strong feeling of grandeur and heroicness before creating a solemn sense of loss. But that grand sense of heroicness makes a truly great return before the track finishes.

”Triumph In The Trees” takes the album down a more metal dominated route. The vocal work provided by “Windrider” and Glyn is definitely one of the finer points of the song. The keyboards are another strong point throughout the track, though I do feel that they don’t do the first vocal section any justice. Beginning with the sound of horses and conversation, comes the epic track “Northbound”, based on Bernard Cornwell’s books. Musically, there’s a slight hint of a Windrider sound though the sound is mostly Ravenage-dominated. The guitar work offered up by Dagstyrr and Einar progresses extremely well throughout the entire song, mixing it up well with the rest of the music and the vocals. The lyrics show a very strong influence of Cornwell’s “Alfred The Great” series, particularly from the third book “Lords of the North”.

The title track, “Fresh From Fields Of Victory” runs through a similar vein to “Triumph In The Trees”. The keyboard sections add in that orchestrated sound that has become an important piece in Ravenage’s music and the guitars keep that aggressive fire flowing through the music. The acoustic section with the flutes adds a more cam yet folky feel to the music. “Shieldwalls Collide” adds a certain eerie grandeur to the album with its organ introduction, an odd reminder of Manowar’s “Army Of The Dead” though I’m not sure if that was the intention. The bass work from Ragnar sticks out the most, keeping the guitars sounding more powerful while the vocals are most fierce. I think this is the best track of the album.

“Winterternia” is a song I became acquainted with earlier this month when Ravenage performed it at their show at Hollywood & Vine and in all honesty, I enjoy it from beginning to end. The guitar work and the keyboard melodies meld well together like tin and copper being smelted together in the process of creating bronze. One thing that did take me by surprise was the genius use of female vocals – Obviously, I hadn’t heard any female vocals when I heard this song live so it was certainly a nice surprise. “Let Vengeance Quell My Agony” brings back that slight hint of a Windrider sound – Noticeable in the keyboard riffs. The vocals lead the music like a metallic Caesar leading his army against the Gauls. Okay, maybe that’s not quite the correct metaphor to use but I hope you get the picture. The guitar solo is one of the stronger points of the song without a doubt and the cleaner vocals add a certain folky feel that echoes the Windrider sound again.

Nearing the end comes a blast from the past. “The Corpse Hall” was featured on the first Ravenage release “The Ravenage”. The introduction is haunting in a weird sort of way, mixing a certain almost-Gothic sound with a barbaric Viking Meta sound which I find to be a massive improvement from the older version. One other thing I did notice in this newer version is the improvement of the sound quality, so for those who like a clean sound quality, the newer version will be much easier on those delicate ears.

What folk metal band would be complete without a good ol’ drinking song? Certainly not Ravenage with their sing-along drinking anthem “More Beer!”. It starts out with a typical sounding pub conversation between Glyn and Windrider. The two words “More beer” signal in the folky jig of guitars. I found the vocal and piano combination to be disappointing as the vocals seemed to be weak sounding. The chorus is far too catchy and I can imagine it being sung in my head for weeks to come now, especially in the pub. The keyboard sections sound slightly Turisas-meet-Korpiklaani while the guitars have that get up and go crazy feel to them.

Without a doubt, Ravenage’s sound has evolved since Hardrada’s Fall. The composition values are much stronger in my opinion and the songs certainly are Vikingtastic but the one issue I have with the album is the Windrider sound in some of the songs. “Fresh From Fields Of Victory” is truly fine piece of musical craftsmanship and is a must have for fans of Tyr, Turisas and Ensiferum.

4.7/5

Nico Davidson

Don’t forget that Ravenage are supporting Faronese Viking Metallers TYR in February 2012. To order your tickets, proceed to: http://asgardonline.co.uk/asgard_events.html

Ravenage w/Support @ Hollywood & Vine, Hull [Live Review]

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 12th December 2011 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Ravenage, Infernal Creation, Windrider
Location: Hollywood & Vine, Kingston Upon Hull
Date: 10th December

All things come in threes as the saying goes and that was certainly true on the cold Saturday night as three of Hull’ finest metal bands were ready blow the proverbial roof off of Hollywood & Vine. It was also the third time that I would be seeing Infernal Creation, Windrider and Ravenage so the buzz of excitement that was in the air certainly added to my excitement as well.

Windrider opened the proceedings though frontman Elliot was absent from the stage at the beginning of the first songIMG_0007 but he did make himself known when he took to the stage in time for the first vocal section. The bassist Hallam was also absent but a replacement bassist called Greig had took his place for the night – Or at least that’s what I’m assuming anyway. As usual, Windrider performed a tight and mighty sounding set though one parts the fierce roar of the guitars and the keyboard samples did sound to be quite drowned out by the vocals but fortunately it wasn’t the case for the full set. The drum and bass work definitely deserve praise as well. “The Hall Of The Slain” was definitely one of the stronger sounding songs in Windrider’s set. Windrider are definitely a band to see if you’re a fan of the likes of Amon Amarth, Ensiferum and Turisas.

Windrider – The Hall Of The Slain

in  (21)Infernal Creation soon took to the stage after Windrider, bringing their fierce and violent brand of British black metal with them. The tempestuous roar of guitars blasted through the amps like a hurricane as the vocal work of Neiph did much to savagely entertain the crowd. The vehement performance of “The Angel Of Endless Hunger” was definitely a treat to listen to as well, along with the feral sounds of “The Insidious Gospel”. Infernal Creation definitely proved themselves to be one of the finest black metal bands in the abyss that is the British metal underground.

IMG_0151And so then it came to the headlining act for the night, none other than Hull’s very own Ravenage, who earlier this year toured with Nothgard, Celtachor and Infernal Creation as part of the Warhorns Over Aengland tour. Taking to the stage in their Viking outfits, they performed a mighty sounding set, most of which was dominated by majestic IMG_0224sounding songs such as “Winter Ternia”, “Let Vengeance Quell My Agony” and “More Beer” from the new album “Fresh From Fields Of Victory” all of which were simply fantastic. The frontman Glyn did much to show what a great showman he is, including bringing out the old sword – Something which I’d only witnessed once before at a show Ravenage played a few years back in Bridlington. Of course the fun didn’t end there as Ravenage performed a fine rendition of “Viking Dream” from their EP “Hardrada’s Fall” and a fun, folk metal version of “Drunken Sailor” that had everyone dancing. Much to my surprise, they finished the show off with a performance of my favourite Ravenage track “Ravenser”, which sounds better live than the recorded version – The recorded version is still epic though.

The crowd certainly seemed to enjoy the show and so did I. If Ravenage, Infernal Creation or Windrider ever come to your town (or city or village or house or farm), you better make sure you see them because all three put on a damn good show and when they’re all on the same bill, “epic” would be an understatement.

Nico Davidson

Ravenage will be supporting Tyr at Fibbers in York on 18th February. To order your tickets, go to: http://asgardonline.co.uk/asgard_events.html

Interview: Neiph [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 4th November 2011 by Nico Davidson

Infernal Creation have been a part of Hull’s metal scene for a few years, supporting acts such as NWOBHM legends Blitzkreig, the mighty Hecate Enthroned and several other acts. They also took part in the Warhorns Over Aengland tour in October, playing with bands such as Ravenage, Celtachor, Nothgard and Windrider. Nico sits down with the “Voice of Misanthropy”, Neiph, who is the frontman for Hull’s very own Infernal Creation.

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Nico: What did the idea for Infernal Creation come about?

Lewis: The ideas and beliefs behind Infernal Creation started to take form long before the band as it is today came into existence. Sin and I started to discuss the formation of a band that could aid in the exploration of the darker, negative and chaotic aspects of being. When we found a drummer skilled enough and with the same vision as ourselves we began work in earnest to create the band that exists now. With Bastard on board it wasn’t long before we could create such an intense and nihilistic beast and, despite various problematic times throughout the years, we have never faltered from our path.

N: Does Infernal Creation differ from other black metal bands? If so, how?

L: The essence of Black Metal is felt differently by all artists, it manifests itself in various different ways so in that sense I would say all Black Metal bands differ. After all there can be no set structure or pattern placed over chaos.

N: Infernal Creation recently toured with Ravenage, Celtachor, Windrider and Nothgard as part of the Warhorns Over Aengland tour, how was that experience for you?

L: The shows we’re quite difficult for me as I was suffering from a throat infection at the time however, the tour itself was a tremendous experience for us we gathered quite a few new fans and contacts from the event. The energies flowing from each band on the bill were unbelievable. It was an event we were truly proud to be involved with.

N: The new album “The Serpent Seed Doctrine” is now available, how would you describe it to someone and what would you say are the album’s highlights?

L: “The Serpent Seed Doctrine” is our first full length CD and as such it is almost a beacon for us to illuminate our future paths.  I feel that the music within is an intense and aggressive piece of black metal art and although it has just been released it is already being well received in the underground community. Songs such as ‘War Is Worship’ and ‘Cataclysm’ are already becoming live favourites.

From a personal point of view it has been interesting to work with different sounds and elements in tracks like ‘The Faceless Prophet’ and ‘Cruciatus Vobiscum’.

The album has taken a year to complete and feels to us as though a piece of our lives and experiences have been removed from us like flesh from bone and transformed into a sonic representation of our trials and tribulations up to this moment for all to hear. We are extremely happy with the fruits of this labour.

N: What has been the best show you’ve played so far? And why?

L: It depends, we have performed at some amazing venues and showcased our art alongside many different bands. I’d say a stand out gig for me would be 2 years ago when Rune Erikson came to a Hull show, we spent some time with him after the event and his advice really hit home and helped us to shape the next paths of the Infernal.

N: Does the band have any plans for 2012?

L: Yeah, we have a lot planned for 2012, we will be starting the year by performing at the Sermon of Underground Brutality festival featuring artists such as Abgott, Hecate Enthroned and Primitive Graven Image. We have a few big events in the works but for this moment in time we’re keeping them within our circle until further details come to light.

N: Infernal Creation will be playing the first ever Valkyrian Festival later this month, how do you feel about this?

L: It will be a great experience. You guys have been very helpful and supportive of the underground music scene for a while now so it will be great to perform under the VM banner.

N: Where do you find the inspiration for the music and lyrics from?

L: I personally find inspiration in many different places, throughout life there is always scope to ask further questions, to explore the hidden paths and truly begin to understand the movements of your soul. It is these actions that create the energies I take inspiration from.

The same applies musically, Sin has a lot of similar influences to me and allows his creativity to almost possess him throughout the writing process.

N: What’s the metal scene like in your area?

L: The Yorkshire scene is quite healthy at the moment, I always think it’s easy enough to simply see the activities of the more mainstream bands in anyone’s area and despair at its current state. But in reality there are a hell of a lot of bands who are carving their own path and if I have to put up with 10 mainstream fools to witness one band who fully follow their hearts then at least I know the true stream of negative art is alive and well in this area.

In terms of the UK underground, we have received a lot of support from the British legions of black metal ever since our inception, which we can be nothing but thankful for.

N: What advice would you give to someone looking to form a band?

L: To follow their own path no matter where it may lead them, to always question, always evolve, to never back down and to expect a lot of hard work.

N: Are there any bands you’d recommend to our readers?

L: Unfortunately there are far too many to mention in full but I would urge people to seek out bands such as Nothgard, Celtachor, Ravenage, Cryptic Age and Baalberith as these bands are devoted to their art forms and give their lives to their music, go see them live and you will understand exactly what I mean. Other than that I would say people should seriously hunt down and listen to Chaos Invocation and Ascension from Germany who are creating some amazing music right now.

For more information on the band, check out their official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/infernalcreationofficial
Infernal Creation’s new CD is also available for purchase at live shows or through the band’s official website: http://infernalcreation.com

Sea Of Giants – To The Deepest Depths [2011]

Posted in 'Core with tags , , , , , , , on 31st October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Sea Of Giants
Album: To The Deepest Depths EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Metalcore/Deathcore

Sea Of Giants are fairly new to the British metalcore scene but have already proven their worth by supporting Shadows Chasing Ghosts at Home From Home Fest back in August as well as playing a number of other gig as well. “To The Deepest Depths” is their first release which was recorded and produced by Lee Rule [Windrider, Ravenage, Obsolete Tomorrow] who also produced the recent release by Collisions.

”See You In Court” starts off with a surprisingly catchy and melodic riff. The track progresses into a more in-your-face brutal styled piece. The vocals show quite the range, going from death metal grunts to hardcore screams and everything in between. The drums fit their part pretty well, adding to the energy of the music. “This Is To Death” takes no prisoners as it ravages its way on next like a bull that’s just seen red. The vocals are on top form though its the guitars that are the most entertaining aspect of the song.

Coming into the second half of the EP is “Filthy Animal”. The intro is a sound sample which sounds to be taken from a movie. The section that follows after feels weak in comparison to the previous two songs though the vocals keep the track going enough to keep the attention of the listener. The break down is an interesting part of the song as well as it leads into a more powerful part. The one thing that is truly a shock is the melodic guitar section about half way through which probably would sound more solid with a second guitar. Fortunately the drums and vocals save it.

The EP finishes with “Bloodshot Eyes” – Otherwise known as the most violent and aggressive part of the EP. The vocals literally border on the line of being black metal styled screams and the guitars are like the bloodthirsty howls of the damned. The drums are barbaric and savage but intelligently played at the same time. The section towards the end that features no guitars, leaving only the drums, vocals and bass is definitely one of the highlights of the EP.

For a debut release, “To The Deepest Depths” is good. There’s clear signs of hardcore, metalcore and deathcore influences in the music but the band keep their own sound. The EP has a strong start and a strong finish. The sound is clean and polished without ruining the raw aggression of the music or the vocals. The only negative thing about the EP is the third track which is mediocre at best.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Vikings Set To Ravage York (Again!)

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 18th October 2011 by Nico Davidson

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The Vikings are invading York! Next February sees the Jorvik Viking Festival take place once again. And once the battle is over on Saturday 18th Feb, the mighty Faroese Viking Metal band Tyr will be performing their first ever U.K headline show. Could there be a more fitting culmination to this event? We think not!

The concert, in association with Asgard and the Jorvik Viking Festival will take place at Fibbers on Stonebow – a mere axe throw from the famous Viking Centre itself.

The line-up is confirmed as Tyr, with support from Yorkshire heathen metallers Ravenage and the Glasgowegian black metal band Maelstrom.

Tickets are priced at £16 and can be purchased from the venue, the usual outlets or direct from Asgard’s event page at: www.asgardonline.co.uk

Asgard Online are also sponsoring Valkyrian Festival 2011. 

Collisions – Heavy Echo [2011]

Posted in 'Core with tags , , , , , on 3rd October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Collisions
Album: Heavy Echo EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Metalcore

Collisions are a metalcore band from Hull, East Yorkshire who started playing shows in February 2011. They their EP “Heavy Echo” was produced by Lee Rule [Obsolete Tomorrow, Ravenage, Windrider, e-Divine Sinn].

”XII” is the first track of the EP, only being a breakdown-styled instrumental lasting for half a minute. “Seige” continues on where “XII” ended. The vocals seem weak and strained and the excessive use of drums doesn’t seem to blend well with the guitars in some parts – Truly disappointing as the drums are beasty. The guitars are powerful and on the verge of being real face melters in certain sections.

“Old Wounds” starts with a very drum dominated sound combined with raw vocals and some guitar riffs. The use of melodic riffs inserts an interesting sound to the track, mush more enjoyable than the overuse of drums. Energy quite literally bursts from this song, this could definitely be a mosh pit anthem at a live show – Let’s hope so. The vocals definitely give the song a brutalising edge. The halfway point of the EP comes in the form of “Don’t Pity Me”, beginning with a loud, aggressive vocal section followed by angsty guitars and drums. The big issue with this song is its length – It’s too short!

”Empty Threats” follows after, starting with an intro that has less emphasis on the drum work, which is fortunate for those who aren’t keen on drum overuse. The guitars have subtle hints of melodic stylings in their composition whilst the vocals and drums bring the powerful, destructive sound. The riffs do progress into something more openly melodic yet keeping true to a heavy touch for the song as well. “The Vigil” is a very calm instrumental for the most part, being somewhat similar to a natural high feeling in its atmosphere. There is a heavy section towards the end but nothing to heavy, keeping the mellow sound there. “IWIHMH” is the final part of the EP, sending the EP out with a loud and face breaking roar of guitars and drums, similar to the way “XII” began the EP.

Though having a somewhat distasteful start, the EP is definitely a treat for fans of metalcore and might even wow some non-metalcore fans as well. The production values are simply amazing as well, giving “Heavy Echo” that crisp, clean sound without betraying the style of the band.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Aloeswood – Forsaken Landscapes [2011]

Posted in Folk with tags , , , , , , on 1st October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Aloeswood
Album: Forsaken Landscapes EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Post-Black Metal/Folk/Yorkshire Metal

Aloeswood is the solo project of Yorkshire-based musician Danny Downing [Windrider, Ravenage]. Forsaken Landscapes was recorded at Danny’s home and produced by Danny Downing and Elliot Vernon [Windrider, Ravenage] in Muspelheim Studio, Yorkshire.

The first track of the EP is “Farewell”, which begins with a heavy and aggressive riff mixed with precise, barbaric drum work. The guitars have a slight melodic touch that echo through their composition, adding a unique sound to their black metal styling. The vocals are raw and bloodthirsty, mixing well with the riffs. The outro piano medley adds a very solemn sound to both the song and the EP. The solemn sound continues on into the title track “Forsaken Landscapes”, in the form of a clean guitar section. The hate-fuelled shredding of guitars soon takes over though, ruining the mood that had been created slightly. The bass section comes as shock, taking away some of the energy of the music though the guitars soon plough their way back into the song. The vocals are welcomed almost instantly with the melodic riffs, bringing an interesting sound with them. The acoustic sections bring about a certain enchanting folk sound to the song before being replaced by the heavier, distorted guitar riffs.

”The Lake Of Shattered Hope” is one of two instrumentals on the EP and despite the somewhat emo-like name, the track is far from being emo. The entire song is like a slow, mesmerising folk song composed entirely of an acoustic guitar with a touch of viola and cello. “Nostalgia” follows after, carrying on the use of acoustic guitars. The heavy section that follows after builds up towards the introduction of the vocals. There is a brilliant use of female vocal work on this track, provided by Shamsi Modarai. Her voice just seems perfect for the song and style of music. The keyboard sections inject a much-needed atmosphere into the song as well, keeping the track sounding fresh. The EP finishes with the second instrumental “Like Rain To The Ground”. It begins with a calm yet partially heavy guitar part, slowly building up to the introduction of the keyboard voices, adding a subtle beauty to the song.

“Forsaken Landscapes” is different to what you’d expect from a musician who plays in two folk metal bands. While there are elements of folk music, the EP is more black metal orientated with hints of progressive music as well. For the most part, this is a sweet EP and a damn good release in terms of the Yorkshire metal scene. It was everything a good EP should have: Decent tracks, good composition, excellent sound quality and a unique sound.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Forsaken Landscapes is available for free download here.

The Saxons Are Coming (Again!)

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 2nd September 2011 by Nico Davidson

In October, the UK will see the return of mighty Saxon, Viking and Celtic warriors on the Warhorns Over Aengland tour. Nothgard will be touring for three days around England with support from Hull’s own Ravenage, Windrider and Infernal Creation along with Ireland’s very own Celtic Black Metal quintet Celtachor.

Dates confirmed so far are 29th October at Rios in Bradford and Relentless Garage in London on 30th October. Tickets for the Bradford show are available here for a mere £6. Tickets for the London show will soon be available.

Cryptic Age Album Update

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 1st September 2011 by Nico Davidson

Cryptic Age have released news about their next album “Sounds Of Infinity” on their blog. Though the album isn’t a concept album, the band have stated that there will be an epic four-parter on the new album that will be a concept called “Sounds Of Infinity”, taking its name from the album’s title. According to their blog, the epic four-parter will be about a mysterious Manx spirit. Cryptic Age are hoping to release the new album sometime next year.

You can read Cryptic Age’s update about the album here.

Don’t forget Cryptic Age will be playing at Ravenage’s album release show later this month, as well as the SOPHIE Festival in Manchester in November.

Cryptic Age will also be headlining Valkyrian Festival 2011 in November.

Brid Rocks 2011 [Live Review]

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , on 8th August 2011 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Ravenage, Alice In Thunderland, Soulflame, Abbie Lammas, Leanne Burton, Blaming Eddie and many more.
Location: Bridlington Sports and Community Centre, Bridlington
Date: 6th – 7th August

Saturday

The gate opened at 6pm and few people began entering the open grounds of the Sports and Community Centre. The first band to take the stage were Remix. Their performance wasn’t impressive. They relied on sheet music, which seems like they weren’t putting much effort into the music. The vocals were louder than everything else and the female vocals were somewhat mediocre. The only redeeming thing about their set was the saxophone part in the performance of “The Love Motion”. The response from the crowd seemed half-hearted, as they seemed to be paying more attention to the cricket game that happening on the far end of the grounds.

The second band to take the stage were young pop-punk band “Blaming Eddie”. Their set was far more energetic and entertaining than the opening band. They performed a brilliant cover of Enter Shikari’s “Sorry, You’re Not A Winner” as well as some of their own stuff. The original songs they played had a very mixed sound between rock, metalcore and pop-punk – But it was a good sounding mix. Blaming Eddie are certainly a band to see if you like your music raw and energetic.

The third act of the night was none other than Bridlington’s own Leanne Burton! Her performance was simply amazing. She had a strong stage presence and a powerful voice. Her acoustic versions of “Price Tag” [Originally by Jessie J] and “Sex On Fire” [Originally by Kings Of Leon] went down well with the crowd as well. Following Leanne’s act were the mighty Cryptic Age. Their set began with a metal version of the “Game Of Thrones” theme into “Homeland”. The rest of Cryptic Age’s set consisted of songs such as “On The Cold, Bare Ground”. The crowd certainly enjoyed Cryptic Age’s set – Even the kids were dancing to the music, with some of them imitating the bassist’s every move.

Soulflame took the stage afterwards, performing a great set which included songs such as “You’re Safe”, “Last Cowboy” and “Get a Grip”. Their music certainly had a very Black Stone Cherry sound and feel to it, which certainly entertained the crowd. Epic Yorkshire Viking metallers “Ravenage” ascended to the stage afterwards. They performed a great set, which included songs from their upcoming album “Fresh From Fields Of Victory”. One of the most entertaining songs of the set was “Northbound”, a song inspired by Bernard Cornwell’s “Lords Of The North”.


The last band of the Saturday night were Led-Zep/DC, a Led Zeplin and AC/DC tribute band. They were probably the band that the crowd loved the most on the Saturday night and it’s no surprise since they performed each song, such as “The Immigrant Song” and “High Voltage” flawlessly.

Sunday

The first artist to begin the Sunday was Bridlington’s own folk-pop punk singer-guitarist Ben Parcell. He performed mostly his own material, except for one cover. The highlight of his set was “Imaginary Girl”. Ben Parcell demonstrated strong vocals and brilliant guitar playing skills, though it must have been somewhat disheartening for him due to the small size of the crowd. Loose Coverz followed after, performing songs such as “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Mama Mia”. Tom Burgundy performed soon after with Frank Sinatra styled songs.

The acoustic trio known as “Crush” took to the stage with a mixture of calm acoustic riffs and strong and raw vocals. They performed original songs such as “Slow Boat To China”. Bridlington-based cover band “Castles Made Of Sand” impressed the slowly growing crowd with their energetic performance and brilliant covers of old classics such as “Black Magic Woman”. Coz Commando joined them for a few songs on the keyboard as well. Rat pack styled material was performed by the powerful-voiced Frank Martin. East American country music was performed by the likes of Whiskey Dogs, who brought a very country and blues feel to the stage when they performed.

Stranglers tribute band “96 Tears” impressed the crowd with their impressive renditions of old Stranglers classics. After their performance, the frontman of 96 Tears performed a couple of songs with his son, including a Green Day cover. Three piece mod band “The Sonnet” brought an interesting sound to the event. They performed a very tight set and the vocals were outstanding. More covers were brought to the stage by Go Kommando who performed some brilliant versions of songs such as “Rebel Yell” [Originally performed by Billy Idol] and “Enter Sandman” [Originally performed by Metallica]. The crowd certain enjoyed their set.

Bad Panda brought a lot of interest to their set as they performed in panda-styled make up and some of the crowd were even donning the panda faces. They brought with them a very positive stage presence and a brilliant sound. They did a great cover of “White Wedding” and their original song “The Monkey Song” went down well with the crowd. Young band “First Principle” followed after, shocking the crowd musically with a mixture of soft and hard rock riffs. The frontman sang with a very distinctive voice and performed some amazing solos. The bass and drum work were very tight as well – Which is amazing, considering that the musicians are young. Songs they performed include “Not Coming Home”, “Possession” and “Astronaut”.

Classic rockers Alive In Thunderland dominated the stage with their strong, melodic vocals and thundering riffs. The solos were awesome and the drum work was great. They performed three songs from their third album which included “Into The Darkest Night” and “Hush Now” as well as two new songs which will be on their next album. Edge Of 13 were the second to last performance of the night, performing a very energetic set. The night was finished with the majestic performance from “Children Of The Mist” who performed songs such as Amazing Grace and Scotland The Brave on the bagpipes and they never did an immense cover of Queen’s “We Will Rock You”.

Brid Rocks was certainly an interesting event, though the turn out was slightly disappointing due to the weather constantly changing from cloudy and rainy to warm and sunny and vice versa. Some of the acts weren’t as impressive as expected but most of the acts were brilliant. Hopefully, Brid Rocks will be on again next year.

Nico Davidson

Obsolete Tomorrow – Beauty Through Chaos [2010]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 31st July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Obsolete Tomorrow
Album: Beauty Through Chaos
Release year: 2010
Genre: Progressive Death Metal/Yorkshire Metal

Obsolete Tomorrow is the solo project of Driffield based guitarist and producer Lee Rule [Ravenage, Windrider, ex-Divine Sinn]. The debut EP “Beauty Through Chaos” [A concept EP revolving around Rule’s life] was released through Rule’s label Xeroxed Records.

The generically named “Prelude” is the first track of the album. Even on a low volume the sheer aggression of the guitars and drums bursts through the speakers. “Battle Ready” comes shredding its way next with a violent combination of raw growls, guitars and drums. The guitars are acute in their composition and playing whilst the drums are masterfully played. The vocals are extremely impressive, almost demonic – Even the whispered growls are a great addition to the track and the EP. The guitar solo is brilliant, very melodic – Mixing well with the aggressive rhythm. Two songs in and the EP is already at a savagely awesome beginning.

The hard-bitten intro of “The Eternal Nightmare” blasts its way next with a ruthless combo of guitars and drums. The synths are a great part of the track, adding a calmness to the hurricane-like force of pure brutality. The drum work is precise but savagely brutal and the vocals are feral and beasty. The double bass pedal barrages are an ingenious addition to the track as well. “Let Chaos Rise” starts with a less rage-fuelled riff, being more akin to progressive metal than death metal, as can be heard in other sections of the track. The guitars and drums certainly show a progressive influence though the vocals keep the angst and aggression. The synths are amazing. There are some death metal elements in the guitars and drums – Good news for those whom aren’t a fan of progressive metal. The highlight of the song would definitely have to be the guitar solo.

”My Asylum” is one of the more lighter songs on the EP, featuring a masterful use of melodic guitar riffs. The track could be easily described as the calm before the storm, which is most true considering the bloodthirsty assault of metal that follows in the form of “The New Beginning” which mixes the aggression and heaviness of death metal with the interesting influences of progressive metal. The drum work is entertaining in its style and playing, blending well with the guitars and vocals. The vocals certainly add the brutal element to the song. The different tempos throughout the track add a new dynamic to the entire EP as well as the track.

”The Rise Of Beauty” is another softer song on the EP, being akin to a mixture of progressive and melodic metal. Surprisingly, there’s a use of female vocals that create the good ol’ “beauty and the beast” effect with the harsh growls. The riffs are very melodic and heavy in some sections. The choir voices from the synths add a very mystical and epic atmosphere to the track. The rough, aggression guitar work contrasts well with the soft, melodic riffs and the female vocals are just enchanting. The EP finishes with “The War Is Over”, another soft, progressive styled track that is the perfect end to a brilliant EP.

Both composition-wise and production-wise, Beauty Through Chaos is a masterpiece. If you didn’t know it was the debut release of Obsolete Tomorrow, you’d most certainly think it was a later release in Obsolete Tomorrow’s discography. Progressive death metal has never been so brilliantly composed! It’s probably the best release in the British metal scene.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Interview: Alex Brandsen [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Nico sits down with the “Dutch Drumming Machine” Alex Brandsen, talking about Cryptic Age’s tour and other things.

Nico: Good evening, Alex. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. You’re a drummer in two bands, Ravenage and Cryptic Age, how do you find it drumming for two bands? Is it something that’s naturally easy for you or have you, at times, struggled with it?

Alex: I really enjoy being in two bands, because even though Ravenage and Cryptic Age are relatively similar, I can express different styles and a different overall feeling in the two bands, with Ravenage being more straight, aggressive and fun drumming and Cryptic Age being more subtle, symphonic and ‘intelligent’ if you will. I generally don’t have any problems with drumming in two bands, although I did accidentally started drumming a Cryptic Age riff at a Ravenage rehearsal once…

N: That must have being embarrassing. Speaking of Ravenage, you’re due to tour with them [and Cryptic Age] later this year on the “Warhorns over Aengland” tour. Are you excited about it or are you feeling nervous?

A: Very excited! Really looking forward to touring with Nothgard, and doing some gigs outside of Yorkshire. Not nervous about it really, the nerves usually only kick in 10 minutes before a gig!

N: That’s usually the worse time for the nerves to kick. You recently played Metieval Requiem with both Cryptic Age and Ravenage while sharing the stage with Hecate Enthroned and Skyclad. How was it for you personally to share the stage with two big name bands in the underground metal scene like them?

A: It’s of course a great honour to play with big bands like them, especially Skyclad, as they practically invented folk metal.

N: Speaking of folk metal, Cryptic Age are unique within the folk metal scene due to having a female vocalist. Since the scene is more male-orientated, do you feel that this might be help Cryptic Age become more known?

A: Well there are a couple of folk metal bands that have female vocalists (e.g. Arkona), but the thing that makes Cryptic Age special in my opinion is that Jenny’s got a very wide vocal range, and sings entirely clean. We don’t use any harsh vocals, and that is quite unique I think. I definitely think this is something that works in our advantage, and may well get us some more fans along the road.

N: Cryptic Age recently released the “Homeland” EP. Is there any sort of concept or theme running through the entire EP?

A: Well there isn’t an overall theme or concept to the album, but most of our songs are based on either fantasy and/or mythology, especially Manx mythology and folklore.

N: Is there any reason for the influence from Manx mythology and folklore or is it just something that occurred naturally?

A: It definitely came naturally, although the main reason for the Manx influence is that Jenny is from the Isle of Man. We didn’t really have any influences or themes to go on before writing the songs on the EP. The first part of Homeland (sung in Manx Gaelic) was originally going to be a 1-min intro to the EP, and by then the lyrics of Homeland hadn’t been written yet. Then we put it at the beginning of the track and when we did that the rest of the lyrics about Jenny missing her homeland fell into place. We’ve sort of kept the mythology thing going ever since. Also, instead of writing songs about Norse mythology like most folk metal bands, Celtic mythology comes more naturally to us because it’s closer to our origins, and gives the songs a unique twist I think.

N: Well, Celtic and Manx influences certainly are refreshing for some who are bored of the whole Viking based form of folk metal. Just a few more questions now. Before joining Cryptic Age and Ravenage, did you play in any other bands?

A: I was in a mathcore band for a couple of years when I was still living in the Netherlands, but had to quit that band because I moved to York for my degree back in 2009. I didn’t play in a band for a year, but when I finished my masters in the summer of 2010 I wanted to play live again, and started looking for a band. I found Cryptic Age on gumtree, and soon joined Ravenage as well via Tom, who just joined as their new bassist.

N: You certainly don’t look like a mathcore drummer. Regarding Cryptic Age, are there any events you’re looking forward to partaking in with the band? Aside from the EP release show.

A: We’ve got the Metal 2 The Masses final coming up on the 24th, quite excited about being able to play in front of the Bloodstock judges, and really hoping to win it of course. And then there’s a gig with Old Corpse Road in September, which I’m really looking forward to, as OCR are one of the best local black metal acts out there in my opinion.

N: Sounds like it’s going to be a great year for you and the rest of Cryptic Age then. Final question, are there any bands from both the UK and Dutch underground metal scenes that you’d recommend that our readers check out? Or at least keep an eye out for? Also, thanks again for taking the time to talk with us today, Alex.

A: Except for Old Corpse Road mentioned before, I’d recommend giving Onheil a listen, a blackened metal band from the Netherlands. For a band in the local underground scene, I’d recommend Lost Effect, a melodic metal band from York, who will be supporting us on our EP release gig this Friday.

Cryptic Age will be performing at Stereo in York tomorrow night [15th July] with support from Windrider and Lost Effect. £5 OTD. Doors open at 7.30pm

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