Archive for August, 2012

Power Quest confirmed to headline revived Metieval festival

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 27th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

April last year, Hull saw the last Metieval festival, which boasted acts such as Skyclad and Hecate Enthroned, along with more local acts such as XIII, The Occupier and Pastel Jack. Though a new revived Metieval was meant to happen October of last year, it never came about.

Recently, the festival’s organisers Glyn Beasely and Stig Styles set out to bring Metieval back to life on the metal scene of Hull. Just today, Power Quest have been announced to headline the newly revived Metieval festival. The event will take place on Sunday 16th December at the Piper Club in Hull.

Further details, including ticket prices, full line-up and age limits, to be announced.

Other band son the bill include Infernal CreationAlice In Thunderland and Battalions.

Leaves’ Eyes frontwoman Liv Kristine announces two free shows in Germany

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 26th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Leaves’ Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine is ready for the release of her new solo album, Libertine, which will hit stores in Europe on September 5th and will be released via Napalm Records. She posted the following on her official Facebook page.

“Dear Fans & Friends,
I am happy to announce two acoustic release shows to celebrate my brand new album, Libertine:

7 – Stuttgart, Germany – Café Stella
8 – Marbach am Neckar, Germany – Café Provinz

Free entrance! Come by and get your signed copy of Libertine.”

Interview: Sabbath Assembly

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 26th August 2012 by mariadodarmata

Sabbath Assembly, formed in ‘09, are the modern response to a religious movement known as The Process Church of Final Judgement. The band have a unique sound, merging several different and contrasting styles of music together, from church organs to heavy guitars and choir vocals. Maria managed to have a quick chat with the band from her lemon pledge related duties.

Maria: How did Sabbath Assembly start? What inspired you to start this project?
Sabbath Assembly: I met Timothy Wyllie, an original member of the Process Church, at a book expo in NYC when he was promoting his book about the Church; Love Sex Fear Death.  Looking through his book I was struck by the plates of sheet music of hymns of the Church. Timothy explained that the songs had never before been recorded because they were thought of as liturgical rather than popular. I offered that perhaps now was the time to bring this music to the world, and thus we both hatched a plan at that moment to share the hymns on a wider scale.
M: Do you think you had some sort of “divine inspiration”?
AS: I wouldn’t be so bold as to say that, but I often question what has come over me such that I feel such an uncompromising zeal to pursue this project so relentlessly.  It doesn’t feel as if this is the story of my life, yet it is somehow slowly becoming so.
M: Who did you hope to reach with your music? How has this been received by listeners? Have you gotten any feedback?
AS: I think the question is, “who does the music hope to reach?” and I am not sure that answer.  As of now there don’t seem to be many boundaries in place.  So far we have felt overwhelmingly positive feedback from the metal scene, even though the music is not exactly metal.  Metalheads are not afraid of the dark forces, so we feel this is the reason for the kinship.  Our impression is that the message is coming into the world at the correct time.
M: What is “THE PROCESS CHURCH OF THE FINAL JUDGMENT”? Is it only a congregation or is it an organized church of its own?
AS: The Process Church of the Final Judgment was an organised church that began in the late 60s and survived into the 80s, passing through various forms.  It began as a post-Scientology group therapy and commune experiment that led to contact with the spirit world and a resulting theology that paired psychotherapeutic work with religious tenants that encouraged individuation, wholeness, and self-acceptance.
M: The lyrical the theme of your music is centralised on spiritual things, is this related to the faith you profess?
AS: Yes, the lyrics invoke the four deities Christ, Jehovah, Lucifer and Satan as aspects of ourselves that we are not to suppress but celebrate.  So our “faith” is affirming our complex and rich psychological tapestry.
M: Would you say you are trying to “evangelise” your listeners? Is it part of your goals as musicians to convert someone to a religion?
AS: Not exactly – our first draw to the music is that the words were meaningful for us personally, and then we discovered that the melodies are also quite beautiful, so why not share?  It is not an intention to convert, only for us as band members to perform music we can honestly believe in.  If this happens to be infectious on any level, we are of course pleased.
M: The album is musically varied and has many different sounds in it. How would you describe your music genre wise?
AS: Devotional.
M: You recently released a music video for “In the Time of Abaddon II”, that features various images that I assume are related to your cult or church. Do you have a specific message to be communicated by this imagery?
AS: Yes, the beginning montage contains some imagery related to the history of the Process Church, as well as issues of their concern, such as death and the problem of evil.  In the video this imagery is joined with the recitation of ritual text that prophesies the coming Apocalypse, which we feel is a relevant message for our time.  The Apocalypse can mean the end of the world; it can also mean transformation from one phase of existence to the next; it can also be understood on a personal level as our relationships, accomplishments, and ambitions come to fruition and pass away.
M: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
AS: “For every end there is a new beginning, and if we are not of the End, then we shall be of the New Beginning.  Either we shall be the ashes of the Phoenix, or his resurrection from the ashes.  And if we care about the death of the Phoenix, then we shall be his ashes, but if we are detached and see the cycle of which his death is but a part, then we shall be his resurrection.
-The Process Church of the Final Judgment, As It Is, 1968

Depraved Plague – Systemic

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 25th August 2012 by -Scorpius-

Depraved Plague
Death Metal
Released: 2012
Self Released

Depraved Plague are a four piece death metal band who formed in January of 2010 and they hail from Cambridge. Fronted by Mark Taylor on Vocals, Chris on guitar, Emma on the bass and Michael on drums. Their influences are bands such as Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Morbid Angel and Goretted and it clearly shows in their new debut album, Systemic.

The first track on the album is entitled Chokehold, which starts with a nice two chord guitar part and a military march like drum rhythm which then gives way to an incredibly brutal blast beat and ferocious vocals and ripping guitars. This track really does hit you full force in the face and in a way lets you know who’s the boss. The track then slows down a bit towards the middle but by no means does the brutality let up, straight away it is clear this track is very Cannibal Corpse inspired and Depraved Plague would fit very well as a supporting band on one of their tours.

Asphyxiate is the second track and straight away it comes in with pounding blast beats and a very meaty sounding guitar, the vocals follow shortly after with an intensely guttural feel to them. This track is very old school death metal in its feel and I see it partly as a homage to what has gone before but in an updated sense, a very clever and well put together track indeed! In the middle of the track at approximately one minute and forty seconds there a nice little break which I can imagine would get people doing a circle of death mosh or something. This track is incredibly brutal and barely lets up its unrelenting pace, if you want to get some anger out of your system then this track is ideal to do that with, perfect headbanging material.

Next up is a track called, Endless Torment, which starts off quite sedately and almost has a black metal feel to it. There are some interesting harmonies here and it really paints a picture in the mind, however this does not last for long as the brutally smashes its way onto the track, yet again this has a bit of a Cannibal Corpse feel to it but not in so much of a way where it feels like it’s trying to copy it; ideas are certainly borrowed such as the rhythm and some similar chords progressions but that’s where the similarity ends.

If the last track was inspired by Cannibal Corpse the undoubtedly this next track, Degradation, is inspired by Deicide and old school Morbid Angel. The track itself feels old school yet with a modern and exciting twist, its a short and sharp shock to the system and leaves the listener wanting more.

Your Final Execution is the fifth track and it is quite a different track to all the others and yet it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. It’s more of a momentary departure. The rhythmic patterns are completely different and a whole host of other ideas are going on, it works really well and is perfect for a nice slow head bang in places. This track really does show off the skill of the musicians in Depraved Plague, it is clear they have honed their skills and they use them like a sharpened samurai sword or a sniper riffle to assassinate all that opposes it, it is unrelenting yet in a way melodic, a very interesting mix indeed!

The sixth track is entitled Human Revulsion and unfortunately I think this is the weakest track on the album, that’s not to say it’s not a good track because it is, I just feel it is not as strong in its conviction and purpose as the other tracks. Having said that there are some interesting rhythmic progressions and some really choppy guitar riffs.

Track seven, Decayed From Birth… This track is absolutely immense and I wish there was an accurate word to use to describe it, brutal and unrelenting barely even scratches the surface in trying to convey how this track sounds, there is a really interesting meatiness to the guitars that would make many a guitarist proud to even come close to attaining a guitar tone that thick and meaty. There’s also a nice little bass break on this track that adds a little something extra without compromising the overall integrity.

Carnal Rage is the eighth track and it really is a hard one to describe, imagine if you were to get a rabid pit bull and merge it with a dragon, then you can begin to understand the mix of brutality, heaviness and an epicness that this track has. This track could easily be used for a post apocalyptic or zombie like movie to give it that added edge.

The final track is entitled Rapture in Death and yet again it is quite an epic track, I do feel this can be a starting point for Depraved Plague‘s next album. I would advise them to carry on with this idea and to keep the epic almost movie soundtrack kind of style they have going on with the riffs in this track. It is a nice mix of brutality and clarity at the same time, a very impressive track indeed!

My final thoughts on this album are very positive, there is a nice progression that goes on with this album and that can often be a hard thing to do, to go from point A all the way to point Z and giving a well defined idea and picture of what the album is all about. There are many, many brutal elements in this album as well as a creeping epicness on the last two tracks, if Depraved Plague continue this progression and sense of epic wonder in their next album then I can easily guarantee they will have a very popular record on their hands which I feel will cross over the usually musical boundaries and sense of genre. Yes it is Death Metal but it can attract fans from other genres and truly bring a united sense of being, brotherhood and downright brutality to all who listen to it!

Depraved Plague are definitely a band to watch out for!



This or the Apocalypse – Dead Years

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 25th August 2012 by -Scorpius-

This or the Apocalypse
Dead Years
Released 24th September
Melodic Hardcore
Released via Lifeforce Records

This or the Apocalypse are a 5 piece metal/melodic hardcore band from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA and it is often thought of as Amish country but it apparently has a big city feel to it and a thriving arts and music scene. Fronted by Rick Armellino, This or the Apocalypse quote themselves on their Facebook page as being, “A band that exhibits the patience and dedication to step outside the box to create something both heavy and unique. Their craft of song is intelligent, scathing, honest and even uplifting”.

Their new album, Dead Years starts with a track called Hell Praiser which begins with a lo-fi up and down scale on the guitar and a chopping bass, the lo-fi effect is then dropped and the vocals scream their way in along with the rest of the band with the same up and down scale riff on guitars.

The vocals on this first track are surprisingly gritty and in some places quite death metal sounding and to be honest are the only point of merit on this track.

Track two is entitled, Power Hawk and it instantly sounds like an Enter Shikari song, and there are a few electronic sounding elements as well as some Djent style riffage on the guitars as well as some stuttered vocal effects. The track doesn’t immediately impress but it is clear that it would be quite a mainstream and radio friendly type of track on some radio stations.

The third track on the album, In Wolves, starts off with some quite pleasant rhythm on the drums and guitar and then more Djent style riffage comes in, next up is a very clichéd piece of “clean” style singing that you will hear on 1000’s of records from across the world which is cut up with the familiar attempt at screaming vocals. There is also a standard breakdown that seems the popular thing to do these days, which I personally find very boring and predictable.

Americans, the title of the fourth track on this album, starts with a reasonably pleasant clean picking guitar riff, along with what sound like a very reverberated piano. A standard hardcore/djent vocal comes in and the track turns into a very boring and bland attempt at mixing heavy elements with the more softened melodic feel, this is a very poor and ill thought out attempt at making an “anthem” style of track in my opinion.

Track five, Hate The One’s You Love starts with dare I say it a mix of The Killers style of riffs and the increasingly boring and familiar djent stop start guitar which is then followed by some incredibly clichéd and boring ideas, the track then slowly morphs into a sort of Enter Shikari style song with a few almost death metal style vocals thrown in which then blends into a melodic dreamlike state and then back into the djent style with what a surprise! A breakdown! Bland and predictable is all I can say about this track and it warrants no further comment.

Interestingly track six, You Own No One But You, is a marked improvement on all the previous tracks and actually starts with a pretty edgy riff which sounds quite interesting, the vocals however I find are very uninspiring and predictable until about the 1 minute 20 second mark where the song gradually takes on a more death metal feel, which I like! But alas, yet another breakdown comes in and then some very clichéd clean teen pop style lyrics, it’s an interesting mix of styles and it does work to a point however I do wish there was more of the death metal style ideas in this song and then maybe it would make a half decent track.

Track seven,  A Damn Moment, is so boring it barely even needs a description! If you were to smash together a track by the Killers and Enter Shikari then this would be the result and a piss poor result at that!

Gaunt and Fierce is the eighth track on the album and it sounds reasonably pleasant as it starts, this is the kind of track that would feel very at home on Kerrang Radio and many other similar radio stations aimed at selling boring and uninspiring tripe to teenagers, needless to say this track is incredibly commercial and clichéd and no doubt many teenagers who may be getting into metal etc. will like this track, I can imagine it playing on their stereo systems night and day, however it will stay silent on mine. The track is entitled Gaunt and Fierce, the resulting musical mess is anything but.

The penultimate track is entitled, Kill Em’ With Guidance and isn’t actually that bad of a track if you like the sound of lift music while you are working, all joking aside however the track is better than the vast bulk of this album and is half listenable apart from an inevitable breakdown in the middle of the track.

The final track, Hard Branch to Snap, is by far the most clichéd track on this album and is quite obviously inspired by early Enter Shikari and the Djent style. It tries really hard to be fast, heavy and brutal in its style and unfortunately it is a great failure in that attempt. This is by far the most disappointing track on the entire album but I know for a fact there will be hordes of young teenagers who lap this up and actually think it is “Brootal” as they put it.

To summarise, I was not a fan of this album, Dead Years, and I can easily say I will not becoming a fan of This or the Apocalypse. To me this is yet another example of a band that is selling out into a trend of bland and uninspiring tripe, this type of music is ten a penny and if you turn onto any mainstream station that plays “metal” then this is the kind of thing that you will hear. The Album reeks of a poor attempt to copy Enter Shikari and I say a poor attempt as Enter Shikari are an ok band and this band have made attempted to make a carbon copy of their style, mixed in with a bit of The Killers (who I hate with a passion).

This or the Apocalypse do however have a sizeable fan base and no doubt it is made up of adoring teenage fans who absolutely love their music, however they will grow out of it and they will move on to bigger and better things, their music taste will develop and grow and they will begin finding out styles that express their attitude to life. I suppose this is the crux of my argument, this music is for the current teenage population, so if you are from the age of 12-16 and your into the hardcore and djent style of music then this band is most likely for you, if you like your music to sound like a 1000 other sell out carbon copy bands then yet again this band is for you… However, if you have a well-defined musical palette and you know your stuff then you will steer clear of this absolute tripe at all cost!

This or the Apocalypse?

In all honestly I’d prefer the Apocalypse!



My Dying Bride stream teaser taken from new album

Posted in News with tags , , , on 25th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Legendary British doom metal My Dying Bride are streaming a teaser of their upcoming album A Map of All Our Failures. The album will be the West Yorkshire band’s first full length studio album since 2009’s For Lies I Sire (which featured new bassist Lena Abe) and isscheduled for release in Europe on October 15th. It will be available in the following formats: CD, double vinyl and special edition CD/DVD.

My Dying Bride have described the forthcoming album as ‘a further voyage into the darkest depths of humanity, religion, folklore, love & death’. The new track, Kneel Till Doomsday, is now available to listen to at the band’s official website; and it can also be downloaded for free if you are signed to the mailing list.

The album will also feature Shaun “Winter” Taylor-Steels as a session drummer.

Current track listening:

Kneel till Doomsday
The Poorest Waltz
A Tapestry Scorned
Like A Perpetual Funeral
A Map of all our Failures
Hail Odysseus
Within The Presence of Absence
Abandoned As Christ

Heaven’s Basement hit the road with Seether

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 24th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Having earned the title of one of the UK’s most promising hard rock acts thanks to their relentless touring schedule Heaven’s Basement announce their appearance as main support to Seether on their Autumn European tour, including four UK dates.

The band has built their reputation of setting Britain’s underground alight with an uncompromising attitude and tireless work ethic and not wanting the fun to stop this tour follows directly on from their impending stint with Halestorm.

After much success with their independently released EP, Unbreakable, Heaven’s Basement are currently putting the finishing touches to their forthcoming debut album. Their first Red Bull Records release, produced by John Feldmann (The Used, Papa Roach, Black Veil Brides), is due out early 2013.

Catch Heaven’s Basement at the following shows supporting Seether:


15 London, Electric Ballroom
16 Manchester, Manchester Academy 2
17 Edinburgh, Liquid Room
18 Birmingham, Academy 2

Coheed and Cambria release teaser from upcoming double concept

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 24th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Following the announcement of Coheed and Cambria’s upcoming double concept album The Afterman, which will be a split release with the first instalment The Afterman: Ascension to be released on Oct 8th via V2/Everything Evil, the band today launched the teaser for the first video clip from the album.


The teaser for Domino The Destitute went live this morning on YouTube and offers a tantalizing taste of what this dark cinematic eight minute epic clip has in store for fans of the band. The full version of the video will make its debut on Tuesday August 28th. The band also previewed the stunning artwork for the album this week on their website, which can be viewed at the bottom.


Modern progressive rock band Coheed and Cambria’s upcoming sixth studio album will be released in two separate full-length volumes. The first volume, The Afterman: Ascension, will be available on both physical and digital platforms October 8, 2012 via V2 Recordings/Everything Evilandthe second volume, The Afterman: Descension is slated for release in February 2013.


The band also recently confirmed a handful of intimate U.S. club shows leading up to the release of Afterman, with a UK tour in Novemberof this year which follows Coheed and Cambria’s Main Stage performances at Reading and Leeds this weekend.





24th August – Reading Festival
25th August – Leeds Festival

07th November – London Koko – NEW SHOW ADDED
08th November – London – Koko  (SOLD OUT)
09th November – Glasgow – ABC
11th November – Birmingham – Academy
12th November – Manchester – Ritz Ballroom

Score samples released from upcoming Nightwish movie

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 24th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Just moments ago Nightwish released a clip containing samples of the soundtrack from their upcoming movie, Imaginaerum. The soundtrack will be released 9th November and can be pre-ordered here.

You can listen to the samples below.

Nightwish are also on tour around the UK in November with Pain.

Tour dates can be found on the official Nightwish website.

Heidenfest trailer available with two new Wintersun songs plus new show confirmed

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 24th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

It took mastermind Jari Mäenpää of Heidenfest headliners – mighty genre legends Wintersun from Finland – exactly one album to write epic metal history: Wintersun came out in 2004 and will be followed by a new milestone called Time I soon. The wait is almost over…

The tour will be completed by Korpiklanni, Varg, Trollfest, Krampus as well as special guests at the extended shows. HEIDENFEST 2012 – the ultimate party-program with several highlights, new albums, new music which will spice up your misty Autumn and mood!

A special fan package offer is now available: get your Heidenfest ticket, t-shirt and CD for a killer price! Order now here.

Presented by Metal Hammer, Legacy, Noizeletter, Musix, X-tra-X,, BLAST!

+ SPECIAL GUESTS at extended shows*

19.10.2012 DE – Oberhausen, Turbinenhalle *Extended Show*
20.10.2012 DE – Stuttgart, LKA Longhorn *Extended Show*
21.10.2012 NL – Tilburg, 013 *Extended Show*
22.10.2012 CH – Pratteln, Z7
23.10.2012 CH – Fribourg, Fri-Son ***NEW***
24.10.2012 IT – Bologna, Estragon
25.10.2012 AT – Wien, Gasometer
26.10.2012 DE – Leipzig, Hellraiser
27.10.2012 CZ – Prague, KD Vltavska
28.10.2012 PL – Krakow, Studio
29.10.2012 DE – Hamburg, Markthalle
30.10.2012 DE – Berlin, Postbahnhof
31.10.2012 DE – Munich, Backstage
01.11.2012 DE – Saarbrücken, Garage
02.11.2012 DE – Geiselwind, Music Hall *Extended Show*
03.11.2012 DE – Giessen, Hessenhallen *Extended Show*
04.11.2012 BE – Antwerp, Trix

Incantation announce title for new album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 24th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

After a very successful tour in Brazil and an amazing  European summer fest campaign , Incantation is back in the U.S .

John commented “I would like to thank everyone on behalf of incantation for making this festival run our most successful to date. To get the opportunity to play for so many diehard death metal fans was absolutely amazing. We are especially thankful to all our supporters for giving us a warm welcome at all the festivals, you guys were amazing and totally raging every day. Most of all we would like to thank Sam (Mortician/Funerus) for doing a phenomenal job filling in for Kyle on drums. Without you this run would probably not be able to happen.”

Chuck also said“To the hoardes of thousands that littered the fests of this past run. Old friends and new, brothers whom we shared a stage, and the  unmatched support of the staff of each fest respectively. It’s my hope that our performance reflected the metal rage that you gave us, Hails!’


The band have now revealed officially that their new album will be titled Vanquish in Vengeance . It will be a conceptual album and the release date has been scheduled for November via Listenable Records.

John’s comments “The title track is about the massacre of Saxons in the town of Verdun in 782, called on by order of King Charlemagne. As a album title it has a different meaning to me. Vanquish in Vengeance symbolizes the long history of the band. We have fought many battles over the years to keep things going. We have always stayed true to our original vision and have never caved into trends. After a long wait between albums we are back with a Vengeance with some of our darkest and heaviest material to date.”

Brid Rocks 2012: Day Two

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , on 24th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Ravenage, Edge of 13, Whiskey Dogs and More
Bridlington Sports & Community Centre
Sunday 19th August

BEN PARCELLUp bright and early, I was ready was day two of Brid Rocks which was featuring a mix of cover acts and original bands. The first act of the day was Bridlington-based acoustic pop punk act Ben Parcell and it all honesty, I was confused to as why he was on so early in the day. His strong vocals, which was amplified by the crisp, clean sound of the PA, carried out well over the small number that were in attendance at the beginning, as he performed the laid back song The Only One and a soulful version of Driftwood by Travis. The acoustic folky styled songs such as Painted By Numbers and Love Song went down well with the crowd, virtually keeping them in a trance with his unique, harmonious sound.

Remix followed after, summoning up a slight country orientated old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll sound. The vocals weren’t particular impressive, especially when they attempted to harmonise. I’m not sure if I didn’t appreciate their performance because I wasn’t brought up on that style of music or because I was expecting something different. The staunch-voiced Frank Martin brought some life to the festival once he ascended upon stage, moving almost hypnotically to the music as he performed songs by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Van Morrison.

Loose Covers also did their part to zest up Brid Rocks with raw, callous versions of songs such as Sex on Fire, Rocking All Over The World and Human. The vocals were strained at the beginning of their set but soon became more solid sounding later on in the set. Rebecca Arundel brought something new to Brid Rocks this year with a mix of covers, such as a mystifying performance of The A Team and a unique sounding rendition of ET which really exhibited her voice. However, it was Rebecca’s own song Photograph that really won me over with its creative blend of acoustic guitar, percussion and electric bass. In all honesty, I thought it was a shame that most of her set was dominated by covers.

Substitute by The Who was the opening to Pandemonium’s set. For a while, the band’s frontman showed some form of vocal talent, though it soon waned further on in the set. The sharply dressed band presented some noticeable talent though overall their set sounded dull. Generator-3 brought a punk edge to each of their covers, including an enthralling portrayal of Teenage Kicks.

No one really knew what to think when Whiskey Dogs appeared on stage with their banjo, mandolin and double bass but they soon put on a foot tapping good performance of what could easily be described as “hillbilly” songs, though the frontman Pete did tell a little history about some of the songs, talking about how they would be played in the brothels and bars of 1920s America. Voodoo Stripe proved to the real deal a combination of Hexdrixesque solos and funky riffs, as well as catchy vocal melodies. Their song I Don’t Wanna Miss You Anymore proved to be a crowd pleaser with its emotive chorus.


There was somewhat of a mishap with Dylanesque which led to them leaving the stage for whatever reason which I never found out, so to keep the gathered masses entertained, Ben Parcell took to the stage once more, performing a few select covers such as Wonderwall and Driftwood. Bridlington’s own indie-rockers Edge of 13, who have had the privilege of playing venues like The Cavern in Liverpool, paraded a blend of clean, memorable riffs and poignant vocals topped with a strong indie sound.


When Ravenage marched on stage, it seemed like it was going to be the raid on Lindisfarne all over again, only with less casualties. With a slightly different line-up, with session keyboardist Articus, who had joined them to support Tyr earlier this year, at the keys and Windrider on guitar and new bassist Ragnar II were clearly ready to send the horde at Brid Rocks to Valhalla. Opening up with the catchy yet heavy as hell Viking Dream, the Heathen warband ploughed on through to Northbound and the more archaic sounding Shieldwalls Collide. Nearing the end of an energetic, aggressive and somewhat heathenlicious set, Ravenage performed an aggressive, Viking-themed version of Drunken Sailor, which went down well with the kids, and More Beer which got the crowd singing and dancing along.


If the Valhalla-residing gods were watching Brid Rocks that night, even they would have approved of such a fitting end to a brilliant festival. With rumours flying around that it won’t be happening next year, one can only hope that they are just rumours.

Nico Davidson


Abbie Lammas w/Ben Parcell @ Shades Nightclub, Bridlington

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 23rd August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Abbie Lammas & Ben Parcell
Shades Nightclub, Bridlington
Saturday 18th August

Shortly after leaving Brid Rocks, I headed down to Shades to see Abbie Lammas with her new (currently unnamed) band as well Bridlington’s own Ben Parcell. It had been some years since I last saw Abbie performed, so I was rather excited to see her perform in Brid again.

IMG_0122A calm, friendly atmosphere hovered in Shades as Ben hypnotised the crowd with a soothing, gentle sound that softly echoed across like a whisper in the wind. Ben performed a couple of tracks from his latest EP such as the folky title track Painted By Numbers which still retained a subtle, discreetly heard pop punk vibe and the catchy number Love Song, both of which Ben performed flawlessly. Of course Ben threw in a few covers as well such as Driftwood and Remembering Sunday, the latter of which came across powerfully. Ben ended his set on with an entertaining encore of Baby One More Time.

Shortly after Ben’s set, Abbie’s band had a quick jam on stage which IIMG_0135 unfortunately missed due to fulfilling my carnal cravings for nicotine. Once I placed myself back firmly in my seat, Abbie began her set, beginning with a song entitled Twinkle, which was like her own rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star only with some new parts thrown in to make it more suited to her style of playing. The second song she performed, which I never caught the name of, really demonstrated the strength and versatility of her voice as it left people watching and listening in both awe and appreciation of her talent.

When her band began playing along with her later in her set, new musical dimensions were opened up with Abbie’s music as thunderous riffs and solemn bass work boomed throughout the venue, enhancing Abbie’s vocals grandly. Later in her set, Abbie swapped from acoustic to electric and to say it was her first time playing electric guitar live, she did superb, especially during in the performance of the mesmerizing, alt. rock sounding song Save Me.


In a vast landscape of female fronted acts, Abbie and her band have got a lot of potential and really do stick out, both musically and vocally, from the other female fronted acts.

Nico Davidson

Photography by DAVID FERRET TAYLOR –

Cradle of Filth unveil new album artwork

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 23rd August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Extreme Gothic outfit Cradle of Filth has revealed the cover art for its upcoming 10th studio album, The Manticore and Other Horrors, due out on October 29th in Europe via Peaceville Records and October 30th in North America via Nuclear Blast Records. Artwork comes courtesy of Matthew Vickerstaff of Darkwave Art.

Recorded in eight weeks at both Springvale and Grindstone studios (where it was also mixed by Scott Atkins), Suffolk, the album is a testament to the longevity of The ‘Filth, as not only does it reek of Cradle‘s (feared or revered) brand of delicious metal vamperotica, but this thoroughly modern album places the band firmly in fresh killing fields anew.

The Manticore and Other Horrors itself possesses an altogether new atmosphere for the band, incorporating a heavier, faster NWOBBM punk vibe that is both current and cruel, blended with ornate orchestration and the quirky immediateness of 2000’s Midian opus.

The album’s title can be likened to a bestiary, a collection of stories on monsters – personal demons, Chimeras, literary fiends and world-enslaving entities to blame but a few.

Commented the band’s infamous front man, Dani Filth, “This is our 10th commandment in metal. We have diversified and kept alive the spirit of this band and breathed it into something that I can proudly say, slays like an absolute motherf**ker. The Manticore is coming… Long live the filth!”

Interview: Early Seasons

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 23rd August 2012 by Nico Davidson

Rising in the French hardcore and metal scenes come Early Seasons, who have supported the likes of While She Sleeps and Funeral For A Friend. Nico catches up with the French upstarts for a quick chat.

Nico: What are your biggest influences?

Early Seasons: We all have different influences but those we have together and which could have inspired us in our sound are Memphis May Fire: for their energy and power, and For The Fallen Dreams and The Ghost Inside: for the melody and the epicness they create.

N: What’s the song writing process like for you? Do you spend time in the studio writing new material or do you write it as and when you can?

ES: The song writing process in the band usually starts on Guitar Pro, as we all use it to compose; one of us will compose a structure of a song with some guitar riffs and a basic drum and then he will share to the others who will tell what they think about it and then modify it. When the final structure and all the guitar and bass riffs are validated, Térence modifies the drums and then Marty comes with his vocal lines.

N: Which bands would you like to tour with in the future?

ES: Memphis May Fire, I See Stars and all the other bands we love!

N: Do you feel you differ from bands in the same genre as you? If so, how?

ES: Of course we feel a little different than the other bands and we hope not being only the copy of an other band, even if in this genre of music a lot of bands seems to sound the same… But we really do try to create our own sound by mixing together energy and melody, with some heavy riffs and some melodic arpeggios. And even on the vocals Marty mix some clear singing and pretty powerful screams, besides Julien adds his heavy growls.

N: Is there any sort of image you’re trying to portray with the band name: EARLY SEASONS?

ES: Yeah it deals with nature and how the world on this earth evolve and rebirth behind the seasons, and as the world is changing a lot we wanted to represent this changing through our music. Both heavy and melodic cause even if Life in this world could be harsh sometimes, for us there will be always some new seasons of rebirth and hope. It’s a pretty positive message!

N: You’ve played with a lot of the big names in the metalcore and hardcore scene such as Funeral For A Friend and While She Sleeps, which one, would you say, was your favourite to share the stage with?

ES: It was the show with While She Sleeps, we really love this band so it was a big honour to share the stage with those guys, on top that it was also the release party of our EP And The World Stops so it was a great show and a great night!

N: What are your plans for the rest of the year? Will you be playing any festivals or touring?

ES: Yeah we’ve just played on an amazing festival this summer in Luxembourg, called the Dudelange on Wheels Festival, there were skating and BMX contests, great music with DJs, bands and we had a lot of fun. We are also planning some tours in France and other countries in Europe for pretty soon. But the most important, is that we are actually hardly working on our first album and on a new music video so we hope that the fans will like all what we are preparing for them!

N: What would you say is the most challenging thing about being in a band?

ES: For us we guess that the most challenging thing about being in a band is to all manage by ourselves, especially for a French band like us cause the Metal scene out there isn’t as developed as in The States even if there are more and more French people listening to metal. But the all scene is growing up over here and that’s a very good thing.

Devilish Impressions – Simulacra

Posted in Review on 23rd August 2012 by izaforestspirit

Devilish Impressions
Due for release/Released: July 2012
Symphonic Black Metal/ Death Metal
Released via Label: Lifeforce Records


‘Simulacra’ is the third album from the Polish black/death metal band Devilish Impressions. The album features a number of quotes from the works of famous authors including Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Byron and William Blake. It also features guest performances from Behemoth’s bassist Orion, Lost Soul’s guitarist Jacek Grecki and Asgaard’s Flumen.

First up is ‘Icaros’ which treats the listener to some keyboard infused symphonic black metal with a combination harsh and clean vocals. Yet don’t be fooled into thinking that this is just another one of those melodic black metal albums where the guitars are tuned down in favor of keyboards and clean vocals. As the subsequent tracks reveal, Devilish Impressions is far too complex of a beast to bear the tag of ‘symphonic black metal’.

Sure there are a handful melodic tracks like the Agathodaimon style ballad ‘Lilith’ and the symphonic ‘The Last Farewell’ but there are also more original works like ‘Fear No Gods’. The latter sees an unusual mixture of genres including death metal drumming, symphonic keyboards, samples, melodic guitars and black metal vocals. Then there’s ‘The Scream Of The Lambs’ which lives up to its name offering a mixture of terror due to the vocals and the fast drumming, and an odd sense of innocence and tranquility due to the symphonic keyboards. The undisputed highlight of the album is blackened death metal anthem that is ‘Vi Veri Vniversum Vivus Vici’.

4/5 – a must have for fans of Agathodaimon and Vesania.

Iza Raittila

Brid Rocks 2012: Day One

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 23rd August 2012 by Nico Davidson

First Principle, Cryptic Age, Alice In Thunder and More
Bridlington Sports & Community Centre
Saturday 18th August

And once again, it was that time of year for Brid Rocks Open Air, the low-key, family-friendly and more diverse answer to bigger festivals like Download and Bloodstock. The line-up for this year boasted some of the acts from last year such as Cryptic Age, Alice in Thunderland and Ravenage along with some new, different acts such as Rebecca Arundell and Pandemonium.

Opening up the proceedings were Bridlington’s own young hard rocking upstarts First Principle. This was the first time I’d seen them with new bassist, Patrick Hogg. The young trio bombarded the crowd with an arsenal of clean sounding riffs mixed with punchy basslines and acute drum work. The trio show a lot of potential for such a young band, displaying some well written pieces such as the catchy song Astronaut and the more 50s sounding Into The Blue. Frontman Martin Secker’s vocal stylings went down a treat with the crowd, especially when First Principle paid a powerful, hard rockin’ tribute to Led Zepplin with The Immigrant Song.


Bringing a new sound to the stage were covers band Renegade, who despite being an entertaining live act, lacked in the vocal department though their performance of Bye Bye Baby (originally by The Basic Rollers) had a very raw sound that was near-beautifully performed. The frontman beamed with charisma through the entire, almost flawless set.

It was the hour of twilight by the time York’s power-folk metallers Cryptic Age descended down on the stage at Brid Rocks, which added to the haunting and ethereal atmosphere of their set as they conjured forth the dark, symphonic stylings of Perpetually Blind and Eternity Beckons. The sea of lights that illuminated the band added to the haunting feel that radiated from their set. The folk-orientated Horsemen of the Vale encouraged a few members of the crowd to dance as Cryptic Age wrought folkin’ havoc down upon the crowd with a blend of a clean sound, angelic vocals and masterful musicianship.


Night had fully fallen as Bridlington’s own classic rockers Alice In Thunderland called forth an enhanced sound. This was their second performance with new guitarist Chris I’Anson, who sounded as if he’d been in the band since they first formed. AIT blasted through tracks such as Hey Hey, which they dedicated to everyone who had bought a ticket, and a thrashy, face-melting version of Crazy Train, while new guitarist Chris incorporated some new exotic sounds in the set such as Arabic-styled solos and some new, fresher modern influence.


Sadly, I had left before Isengard (Not to be confused with Fenriz’s Isengard) had set up as I due elsewhere for another gig though I had been informed the next day that they had performed well.

Nico Davidson


Edenshade: New Video and Free Download of Rock Band 3 single

Posted in News on 23rd August 2012 by izaforestspirit

The lyric video for the new Edenshade single Things I’ll Just Pretend and the download link are available below. The song has been recorded for the Rock Band 3 video game, and will be available on the Rock Band Network in the next weeks.

“Things I’ll Just Pretend” Lyric Video

“Need” Rock Band 3 game play preview

“Things I’ll Just Pretend” Free MP3

Mongol – The Altan Urug

Posted in Review on 22nd August 2012 by izaforestspirit

The Altan Urug
Due for release/Released: August 2012
Folk Metal/ Melodic Death Metal
Released via Label: Self-Released

‘The Altan Urug’ is the debut album from the Canadian folk metallers Mongol. It is a concept album focusing on the Mongolian empire.

As if the idea of a Canadian band making an album about ancient Mongolia wasn’t odd enough, they decide to have ‘Das Ziel’ as the intro. Ancient folk dance melodies and German voice-over, anyone? Yes, I’m sure this will all make sense eventually…The weirdness doesn’t stop there either. With ‘Kriegesmarsch’ we get some actual metal; melodic death metal to be precise, with a touch of folk music which in this case equals a banjo, mandolin and an accordion accompanying the guitars.

‘Pipe Dragon’ features less of the folk elements which makes the track sound more like melodic death metal thanks to the growly vocals and powerful drumming. Comparisons to Equilibrium spring to mind though this is slower and lacks the power metal influences. There’s some symphonic elements on here too such as the keyboard parts on ‘A Light From The East’. ‘Valkyrie Cry’ sounds like a homage to the Swedish vikings Amon Amarth with some additional banjos mixed in securing Mongol’s position as one the most unique sounding melodic death metal bands ever.

Next we’re in for full-blown folk metal assault with the first Mongolia themed track ‘Eekum Bokum’ which features more banjos, mandolin and catchy vocals resembling something you might hear sung by drunken warriors at a feast. I’m guessing that’s where they got the idea for the cover art from. Then there’s tracks like ‘Changeling’ which is more or less pure melodic death metal.

3.5/5 – Great for those who like their melo-death metal with a touch of banjo/mandolin.

Iza Raittila

Bloodstock Open Air 2012 Review

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 21st August 2012 by Hannah

Bloodstock Open Air Festival 2012 [Behemoth, Machine Head, Alice Cooper & more]
Catton Hall, Derbyshire
9th-12th August, 2012

So, another year, another Bloodstock. This year was probably one of the most controversial for a good number of years; mainly based around line up. Not only was there a massive furore over the choice of Machine Head as Saturday’s headliners, there was also much discussion of the line up, in general, being poor. Swathes of apparent regulars made it clear that the line up meant they were not purchasing tickets. This didn’t affect Bloodstock in any way, mind. There were over 11,000 people in attendance- the biggest number to date- and the organisers were able to enjoy the fact that their VIP packages totally sold out, and there were not many regular passes left by the time the weekend came around. This year’s Bloodstock was also notable for another, more special reason. Over the course of the weekend, many of the live performances were streamed world wide for the first time ever, and this decision proved to be a resounding success; over 200,000 people across the globe tuned in to watch live footage of the festival throughout the duration of the weekend. In terms of ticket sales, bums on seats and world domination, Bloodstock outdid themselves this year. But what of the festival itself?

Friday started off with a ridiculous heat wave. The fields of Catton Hall overflowed with sweaty, melting metal heads, most of them sweltering in the commonly worn uniform of black band shirt and jeans or camouflage trousers. But this sudden appearance by the sun did not stop them from turning out in multitudes to check out all three stages (four, if we count the Jagermeister Truck acoustic stage). With a cold one in my hand (one of 60+ real cask ales and ciders on sale in the Serpent’s Lair; the extra £100 odd was worth it just for that selection) I trudged to the main stage to enjoy the first few bands. Reading’s Malefice started proceedings with a valiant performance, filled with power and energy and determined to make a name for themselves. These newcomers pulled in a respectable crowd for the first slot of the day, and in my opinion started the festival off well. Followers Freedom Call kept up the energy with forty minutes of pure, cheesy German power metal, and I’m not ashamed to report that it was glorious. Their set was certainly a ‘happy metal party’ and they got the crowd jumping along to most of their songs. With their upbeat melodies and cheerful yet clumsy, Olympics centred banter, almost everyone watching their set had a stupid grin on their faces by their closer. Grand Magus were predictably epic, and the freshness of their material and stage presence makes it easy to forgot how long they have been around for. The Swedish stalwarts showed how thumping heavy metal is meant to be done.

Unfortunately for myself, I was unable to see most of the second half of Moonsorrow’s set as I quickly fell ill with what I now recognise as heatstroke, but the first half I did see was fantastic. They played a good selection of their material, and managed to put on a great performance, despite the fact that much of the crowd was flagging in the somewhat unexpected heat by this point. Their set was also far too short, especially considering most of their songs hit the nine minute mark, and it can only be hoped that they don’t leave it too long til they tour the UK as headliners. I have it on good authority, thanks to my temporary co-correspondent Joe (my brother) that Iced Earth absolutely slayed it. In three words, they were pounding, soaring and epic. The screams of ‘Iced Fucking Earth’ that echoed around the arena barely needed any encouragement from the band themselves, and they left the crowds begging for more. In complete contrast, and in a somewhat controversial claim, Joe felt that Sepultura were a massive disappointment. Clumsy and clunky, they played a set that didn’t contain enough new stuff to be purely Derrick Green era-stuff, nor enough classics to be a ‘classic Sepultura’ show, even despite the inclusion of songs such as ‘Refuse/Resist’ and ‘Roots’. I was back to the arena in time for Dio’s Disciples, the special tribute set up in memory of the late, great Ronnie James Dio, metal legend and namesake of Bloodstock’s main stage. And what a tribute it was. Each and every member of the band put their heart and soul into the performance, and it showed. Nearly every member of the band was almost in tears during their set, and they gave rousing renditions of some of Dio’s best known songs, including ‘Holy Diver’, ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Rainbow in the Dark’. We still love you, Ronnie. Whilst Dio’s Disciples got all emotional on the main stage, mention must be made of Hull’s Infernal Creation, who tore up the New Blood stage in the same slot. Bastard, Neiphrobous and Sin were joined by Cryptic Age’s Tom Keeley for the performance, due to bassist Beleth’s recent ill health (swift recovery, dude!) and they laid down their black metal credentials for all to see. Neiphrobous had the disappointingly small crowd in the palm of his outstretched claw, and whilst they deserved to pull a far greater number of people, those that were in attendance were treated to a thirty minute long aural assault of the highest calibre. A fantastic performance by a brutal underground band, deserving of greater success.

The atmosphere in the main arena grew noticeably chillier during the set up for Watain, and it wasn’t just the onset of the evening. There was almost as much of a buzz for these guys as there was for Friday headliners Behemoth. When asked about who they were here to see, countless people answered ‘Fucking Watain!’. All inverted crosses, flaming sigils and fire, Watain were truly a spectacle. Frontman Erik Danielsson (E) soaked the crowd- and pre-prepared, poncho and cagoule wearing security- with blood from a silver chalice, as ominous red lights zoomed over the crowd. They delivered their special blend of hauntingly beautiful and brutal black metal to the masses assembled in the fields of Catton Hall. Their stage show was uncompromising, being the masters of the theatrical and experts in creating an atmosphere both electric and somewhat unsettling. I managed to grab E for a quick chat on Saturday evening, and he summed their performance up in a concise way:

            I think it was very beautiful, it was during the sunset, and the sun came down in a very fitting way I would say. As far as Bloodstock goes, it’s another one of those places where two-leggers gather in the same place. I have an extremely hard time dealing with that, and it’s getting to the point of nausea, but at the same time it’s a good place.

All hail the black priests of metal!

After being suitably roused into a black, unholy frenzy, headliners Behemoth materialised on the stage in a flash of blue light and fog like a furious quartet of Cenobites. It is so, SO good to be finally writing a review of a performance by Behemoth at Bloodstock, and just as good to see Nergal, victorious in his battle with leukaemia, absolutely ripping Bloodstock a new one. The truck full of pyro they commissioned to trek across Europe from Poland meant that they were fully able to flex their blackened muscles and deliver a full Behemoth show to the baying crowds. Ferocious and uncompromising, they delivered a spectacle that will stay in the minds of all those assembled for a long time to come. On the visual front, they did not disappoint. Burning crosses, hooded monks, and a brilliantly clever use of fog and lighting to create a massive, Ronnie James Dio stage sized Polish flag, they looked spectacular. They sounded spectacular, too. With a set list that included fearsome renditions of songs old and new, including my personal highlights ‘Christians to the Lions’ and ‘Slaves to Serve’, Nergal, Orion, Inferno and Seth were the masters of the hordes as Friday evening closed in an infernal frenzy of blackened death metal. Behemoth fucking ruled.

On to Saturday, then, and after catching the end of what proved to be an energetic set by Benediction, on came ZP Theart of ex-Dragonforce fame, and his new band IamI. Theart had a lot to prove today, and even though his distinctive vocals strained a little at times, their raw sort of power metal worked quite well. He obviously loved being on the stage, and whilst it has to be said that their material bordered on repetitive, they gave a commendable performance. Following the power metal was Taiwan’s ChthoniC, who were, in a word, brilliant. They brought their folk-inspired, mythologically-powered black metal to the assembled crowds and performed beautifully. Freddy Lim, erhu in hand, made firm friends with the crowd and inspired an anti-Chinese roar of ‘Taiwan! Taiwan!’ to erupt among the arena. Even though many of them may not have understood the significance of Lim’s impassioned tirade against the Chinese occupation of Taiwan, they sympathised with ‘Chinese Taipei’ and were intensely receptive to the band’s atmospheric sound. The less said about Mayhem, the better. I was intensely disappointed with their lack of performance and the overall sloppy state of their set. Even Attila was boring. They came onto the stage and seemed to leave again soon after, without much fuss. So very anti-climactic. In contrast, the newly reformed Sanctuary were a surprising success. Even though their reformation will probably be at the expense of the fantastic Nevermore, it’s good to see Sanctuary back together. They really entertained the crowd with an energetic and upbeat set, satisfying both old and new fans. One band that personally surprised me were Hatebreed. I did not expect to enjoy the Connecticut hardcore maniacs, but I really did. They gave a performance full of energy and proved themselves to be very proficient at what they do. With Hatebreed, circle pits were always guaranteed but what was good to see was that the pits, orchestrated by frontman Jamey Jasta with safety on his mind, were instructed to help anyone that fell back up to their feet. Hatebreed are a brotherhood, and no one gets left behind or forgotten, as was evident with their touching dedication to the recently fallen, including the Rev, Dimebag, Dio and Paul Gray. Due to other commitments, I wasn’t able to catch much of Testament’s set, but the view from Joe was that they were sick. They played a good selection of old and new and more than satisfied the crowds.

Saturday’s controversial headliners Machine Head came onstage will everything bared and a mentality of proving to everyone present that they deserved to be there. They were there for their fans, but also for every single person who would have rather seen someone else take their place. In my opinion, they more than deserved that headline slot, and proved so with a visceral, rib shaking performance. Clearly humbled and in awe of Bloodstock as a whole, Machine Head plunged into their set with no holds barred. They spattered their set with a good selection of tunes, including fan favourites ‘Imperium’ and ‘Darkness Within’. As had been advertised since their announcement, they also played the 5 ‘Burn My Eyes’ tracks that had been voted for by the fans, in honour of the 20th anniversary of the first live show they ever played, in Mike Scum’s house, for a ‘destroy the house’ kegger party. Fantastic. The tracks chosen- ‘Death Church’, ‘A Thousand Lies’, ‘Blood for Blood’, ‘Block’ and ‘Davidian’– were received with an almost rabid response; a personal highlight was definitely ‘Block’, a track that absolutely slayed the crowd with its chugging intensity. Robb Flynn also proved that his reputation as one of the ‘nice guys’ of metal is more than apt, with a touchingly heartfelt speech about the true, accepting spirit of metal and how stoked he was to be playing on the stage with so many of his metal brothers in attendance. He also showed how much of an expert he is at creating a rapport with the crowd, and even instigated some sort of epic battle between Wolverine and Banana-man. Machine Head’s headliner slot will go down in history as one of the most divisive but brutal sets in Bloodstock history.

There were a number of fantastic performances on both the S.O.P.H.I.E. and New Blood stages on Saturday as well. Witch Sorrow and Winterfylleth both put on fantastic performances; Witch Sorrow’s sludgey, droney doom metal shaking the bowels of all those cooped up in the sweaty, beer soaked S.O.P.H.I.E. tent, and Winterfylleth delivered a set full of competent, slick black metal. But the day has to be given to the mighty Orange Goblin. The fact that the crowd literally spilled out of the tent and created lines at least seven men deep as a huge number of people struggled to watch them can probably attest to the Goblin’s strength on Saturday night. Sludgey, sleazy and soaked in booze and weed, the Goblin were on form and should have been on the main stage. However, the underdog status of the second stage suited them well. Their performance was painfully effortless, and they delivered a strong, sublime set, filling the S.O.P.H.I.E. tent to the rafters with stoner madness. There were also strong performances over at the New Blood stage. Newcastle’s Reflection in Exile were brilliant, and better than many of the bands on the main and S.O.P.H.I.E. stages. Dare I say that they were better than Mayhem? Regardless, they gave their all in the performance and were rewarded with the total attention of a sizeable crowd, pulled into the New Blood stage and away from main stagers Hatebreed. Reflection in Exile are worth watching out for. Saturday’s New Blood headliners, Manchester’s Gone Til Winter, served up a slice of brilliant, dark power metal. Stealing a good size crowd in from Testament– though they deserved many, many more- they performed with their hearts on their sleeves. Vocalist  Talena is a fantastic front woman, with an easy and likeable demeanour and a good amount of stage presence. Their set list included a number of tasters from their upcoming debut LP, Hiding From The Sun. I wish them every success in the future; and good luck to Talena on the forthcoming birth of her baby!

The final day of Bloodstock 2012 dawned with a brilliant performance from epic Canadian metallers Kobra And The Lotus. I think it’s safe to say that Kobra Paige and her troupe of heavy metal warriors won over a new legion of fans on Sunday. And holy hell, can Kobra Paige sing! KATL were a fantastic way to start the final day of BOA, and served up a delightful portion of soaring, traditional heavy metal. Corrosion of Conformity were much better than I thought they would be. I didn’t expect their groovy, sludge metal to be as good as it was, but I was pleasantly surprised. Good set, despite the need for a bass amp half way through! All that can really be said about Nile is that they were fucking brutal. They played a good mix of their stuff, from older material to brand new tracks. My personal highlights were the brutal Sacrifice Unto Sobek, Execration Text and Lashed To The Slave Stick. Their mystical, Egyptological, brutal death metal crushed the arena, and their show was so intensely amazing that it didn’t even matter that the heavens opened part way through. It would be hard for any band to follow such a flawless set, but it could have proven disastrous for Black Dahlia Murder. So many people didn’t want them to be here, and so BDM had an awful lot to prove. But prove it they did. By the end, the crowd had grown into a respectable size and enjoyed their unapologetic brand of death metal mayhem. There were two people in the crowd who certainly enjoyed their set, as their doggy style adventures proved. I think BDM proved many of the haters wrong, and showed that they deserve their place on the line up as much as anyone else. I also dearly hope that Brian Eschbach got his cheesy chips with gravy. As was expected, Bloodstock favourites Evile played to an incredibly enthusiastic crowd and did not disappoint. Even though they seemed endearingly puzzled at the fact that this year saw their fourth year on the line up, they clearly loved being back on the main stage, as did the crowd. The Huddersfield troupe performed a really strong set, including the rabidly received ‘Cult’. Metal underdogs Anvil gave a roaringly successful, and somewhat poignant, performance. They were clearly enthused to just still be performing, and were well received. The success of their story was evident by the number of Anvil patches that could be seen on denim and leather jackets throughout the arena, standing side by side with big names such as Judas Priest, Megadeth and Iron Maiden. Well done, Anvil!

Goth/doom veterans Paradise Lost seemed to delight the crowds with a competent set that entertained whilst being slightly sloppy. Their set list spanned their whole career fairly well, so there was guaranteed to be something there for everyone. From a selection that included game changing album Draconian Times, Nick Holmes and his gloomy troupe played reasonably well, and finished with crowd pleaser Say Just Words. Paradise Lost could have been so much better, but with all said and done they were more than satisfactory. A band that did not disappoint was 2008 headliners and ‘special guests’ Dimmu Borgir. I’m not ashamed to say that Dimmu were probably one of the bands I was looking forward to the most all weekend, and they were astounding. They returned to the main stage with a triumphant performance, full of characteristic bombast and malignantly beautiful orchestrations, and oozing with dark charisma. They had the crowd lapping up every single note and ravenously devouring each morsel proffered, from ‘Gateways’ and ‘Dimmu Borgir’ to ‘Puritania’ and ‘Progenies of the Great Apocalypse’, with surprise appearances from ‘Vredesbyrd’ and closer ‘Mourning Palace’. It’s good to see that they have not lost any of the atmosphere brought by ICS Vortex’s clean vocals; in fact, the majestic choral recording created sweeping, epic atmosphere that melted with the brutal nature of the rest of the performance perfectly. A darkly beautiful, flawless set from one of the most professional and well-oiled bands in the industry.

What can I say about Sunday night headliner Alice Cooper? It’s been just over a week since I returned from BOA and I’m still getting over the spectacle of it all. Alice is 64 years old, and he wiped the floor with most of the other people who had been up on that stage before him. He has still got exactly what it is that made everyone fall in love with him back in the seventies, and I hope he never loses it, because he is fantastic. The anticipation started to build from the moment the vast, opaque banner was pulled up in front of the stage, obscuring the set up and preparations underway behind it, and the time it took to get the stage ready to be Coop’d seemed to fly by. The atmosphere in the arena, as Vincent Price boomed out from the speakers, was electrifying with excitement. Everyone was shoulder to shoulder as people squeezed in, trying to get the best view possible of what was to come. And what did come? A performance that showed everyone exactly how it is done. Starting with ‘Black Widow’, the man himself appeared atop a vast, cobwebbed lectern, resplendent in his spider suit, every single audience member dancing on his hands like puppets. A showman to the very end, Alice proceeded to entertain and beguile for an hour and a half that was stuffed with hits, favourites and rare titbits. I can honestly say that Cooper’s set was the best thing I have ever seen. Unlike the normal, pared down festival performances many bands deliver, Alice Cooper put on a full show, complete with guillotine, skewered paparazzo, pyrotechnics, dead dolls and a giant, guitarist chasing Frankenstein’s monster. I don’t think it would be possible for me to choose a favourite track, but the moment Alice donned a white lab coat and red, elbow length gloves during the opening chords of ‘Feed My Frankenstein’, I knew that Bloodstock 2012 had turned into an ‘I was there’ event. I was there to see Alice Cooper conquer, and prove that he is at the absolute pinnacle of rock showmanship. Almost every single band on the line up, from Watain and Dimmu Borgir to Machine Head and Black Dahlia Murder owe something to Cooper. Without Cooper, the rock concert as we know it would not exist. Theatricality and performance in concert would not exist. Without Cooper, the metal world would be a much less colourful place. Catton Hall turned into a cacophony of noise as every person present hoarsely shouted along with ‘Poison’, ‘Hey Stoopid’ and ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’, and whooped with delight as the unmistakable opening riff for ‘School’s Out’ rang out through the arena. Alice finished his set by striding onto the stage, Union Jack in hand, for a fittingly ferocious ‘(I wanna be) Elected’. Alice Cooper was absolutely phenomenal, and I will remember the feeling I got when I was watching him, a man I have looked up to and admired since I was seven years old and first heard ‘Poison’, for the rest of my life.

Bloodstock 2012 was an incredible achievement, crushing records and paying homage to some of the greatest names in modern metal. I’ll see you in 2013.

Hannah O’Flanagan, 2012