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GhostFest @ Leeds University Union

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

The Black Dahlia Murder, Carcer City, Heart Of A Coward & More
Leeds University Union, Leeds
30th June, 1st July

Saturday

Since Ghostfest started back in 2005, it has become one of the biggest metal-hardcore festivals in the UK. The initial festival only consisted of one stage over 2 days and was held on Leeds Cockpit’s smaller stage. In the 7 years since then, Ghostfest now boasts a 2700 capacity venue with 3 stages at the Leeds University Union and has showcased upcoming bands such as Bring Me The Horizon, Architects and Your Demise as well as established acts like The Black Dahlia Murder and Suicide Silence.

This years festival kicked off on the Impericon Stage with Manchester’s kings of gore Ingested. Their lightning fast beats and guttural vocals were mediocre at best, but their fan favourite Skinned And Fucked gained much appraisal from the crowd and warmed up the pits for the rest of the days bands.

Over on the Monster Stage, Scottish five-piece Heavy Hands failed to keep the same level of energy in the crowd. I could only feel that their set would have been much better if the quality of the instruments was at a respectable level. However, the crowd was just treated to fuzzy riff after fuzzy riff. Whether this was a fault with their equipment or the technician, I don’t know. But I do know that Ghostfest could have had a better start than it did.

Following Ingested, Heart Of A Coward took to the main stage. Their melodic blend of groove metal received much earned applause from the thousands in the crowd. As well as tearing the place apart with ground shaking breakdowns and circle pit initiating riffs, they also made the sure the audience was having a good time. At one point, their vocalist asked for lines of head bangers which ascended into half of the crowd being linked together and head banging in sync with HOAC’s unique brand of metal. So far, they were the only band to truly show the weekend’s potential carnage.

My first time to the smallest stage in the venue, the Time Will Tell stage, was to see Welsh metalheads Continents who I must say were disappointing. Technical difficulties during their set didn’t help either, but I expected more from them. Many people amongst the crowd still moshed and danced, but I don’t think their energy was reflected in the band.

After seeing rising stars Silent Screams on a much smaller stage in my home town, I decided to watch them on the Main stage to see if they could emulate their performance on a much bigger stage to a far larger crowd. I was impressed to see how far this band have grown, but I still find what they offer rather droll. I found their set rather boring, but much of the crowd enjoyed breakdown after breakdown after breakdown. The crowds movement and energy drove the band to push their performance to match, but there is only so much you can do with such repetitive material.

Another band I had also seen in my home town was Scottish Hardcore quintet Grader, and they always put full effort into their set. This performance was no exception, but unfortunately the crowd never fully connected. I felt sorry for them as they gained unenthusiastic applause after each song, until their hard hitting anthem Keep Love blasted out and many of their fans (including me) stormed to the stage to sing along. However, I felt that their set could of gone much better if the crowd matched their on stage effort.

The next band I saw were post-hardcore band Heights. They had recently received a lot of controversy after their vocalist was kicked out and replaced, which caused quite a stir amongst fans who felt the band wouldn’t be the same. However, the crowd went wild for them at the Impericon stage. Songs such as Lost And Alone and Forget ripped the crowd apart with walls of death and circle pits. Their performance showed that they don’t care what people say about them and that they’re just there to give a good show. I couldn’t agree more with them!

Australian legends Comeback Kid were the next band I saw. Despite their huge fan base and roars from the crowd, I felt that their set was one long build up to nothing. Their breath taking hooks and drops just didn’t have the same appeal as they did on CD. However, a surprise appearance from Your Demise vocalist Ed McRae did add a little extra element to their set, but I don’t think they ever fully impacted as well as they were expected to.

Over on the Time Will Tell stage, Liverpool heroes Carcer City were one of the best bands of the day. They kept the crowd moving throughout their entire set with their enchanting riffs and stomping breakdowns. Despite some of their set being a bit repetitive and predictable, this clearly didn’t matter to either sides of the barrier. Both the crowd and the band worked in harmony to deliver a mind blowing set.

The headliners on the Monster Stage were welsh hardcore crew Brutality Will Prevail, and I must confess myself as a huge fan. I also noticed on my travels around the venue that many people were wearing their merch or ‘Purgatory’ (their record label) merch. It further became clear that Purgatory is more of a family than a label. BWP played a rather sloppy set. Their rhythm guitarist had to keep checking what the other guitarist was playing, which is very unprofessional in my eyes. It wasn’t brought to our attention whether he was a stand in or not, so I just presumed that he hadn’t rehearsed as often as he should. However, the crowd for BWP was phenomenal. The ‘Purgatory family’ was in full effect and made sure the venue was erupting from start to finish. Whether the band deserved such a response is a different matter, but their fan base were extremely loyal and made sure they had a warm response.

Michigan giants The Black Dahlia Murder headlined the main stage, but failed to reach the same level of response. Their performance was flawless and this was reflected in the emotion of some of their dedicated fans, but many of the members of the crowd were self professed ‘hardcore kids’ and weren’t massive TBDM fans. However, the band made sure they delivered an astounding set list of huge songs and gave their full effort into their performance. This was greatly appreciated by people who were actually there to see the band.

Despite starting with a few poor bands who could have played much better, Ghostfest went to a great start with bands such as Heart Of A Coward and Carcer City showing the huge potential that could be offered on the second day.

Sunday

 

After a good nights sleep in a cheap hotel and a belly full of chicken, I was more than ready for part 2 of Ghostfest. However, just like part 1, it went of to a slightly disappointing start. The last time I saw Polar, they destroyed a local venue in my hometown. Once again, they smashed their way through a bone crushing set of huge beats and rock riffs. But it appeared that much of the crowd drank a little too much or didn’t get enough sleep the night before as there was barely any movement for their groovy set and what appeared to be a sympathetic applause between songs. This was no fault of the bands though and they looked like they were enjoying their set.

One of the reasons I had wanted to go to Ghostfest was to see Demoraliser. There was much anticipation amongst the crowd on the Impericon stage as the band appeared to have technical difficulties while setting up and had to delay their set. However when they finally did start their set, the technical difficulties continued. They were so bad that guest vocalist Scott Kennedy’s (Bleed From Within) appearance was ruined due to his microphone not being turned up on the sound desk. This was clearly no fault of the bands and they still went on to infect the crowd with their spine tingling riffs and heart pounding breakdowns. They received one of the best crowd responses of the weekend, at the expense of a few fans. For example, one over enthusiastic fan ran past me after having a piercing ripped out of his nose in the pit, and I heard that someone at the front of the crowd lost a few teeth.

Next on the main stage were TRC and they were easily one of the most entertaining bands of the weekend. As well as blasting out classics such as ‘Define Cocky’ and ‘H.A.T.E.R.S.’, they also treated the audience to small bouts of humour between songs and also expressed their feelings on the current state of the music scene. TRC’s set was inspiring to say the least, and the crowd went wild for them. They couldn’t have asked for a better response.

Over on the Monster Stage, Breaking Point, another member of the Purgatory Family, followed in Brutality Will Prevail’s foot steps. The only difference was that Breaking Point’s set was less sloppy. Their hardcore grooves had the crowd going mad and for those who weren’t in the pit, the band played with immense energy and put on a good stage show.

When I saw the Ghostfest line up, I was very confused to see Dubstep-metal band Astroid Boys as they differ far from any other band on the festival. However, they turned out to be one of the best. Their amazing blend of dancey dubstep and breakdowns were a breath of fresh air from the constant metal and hardcore that Ghostfest had to offer. And the pits were far from normal too. Seeing fans hardcore dancing to dubstep is one of the strangest things I have ever witnessed. Overall, seeing Astroid Boys is an experience I will never forget.

All Shall Perish were a band that I wasn’t too excited to catch, but I’m glad I did. Their set was absolutely flawless. The solos sent shivers down my spine due to the sheer perfection of them. However, the constant riffs seemed repetitive and became boring after a while but the die hard fans of the band had the time of their lives.

After seeing them twice before ripping up 2 separate venues, I was curious as to how the lads in Odessa from Birmingham would react to playing their first set at Ghostfest. Despite playing on the smallest stage, they were quite easily main stage material and I would happily place a bet on that they will be on the main stage within the next few years. Their set did become quite tiresome after a few songs, but that didn’t bother anyone as what they played was top quality. Their riffs complimented the vocals so well and the breakdowns made the room move like an ocean. They are definitely one of the bands that Ghostfest will be proud to say it showcased in years to come.

Another band that I had seen (and enjoyed) before was Bury Tomorrow and they were even better and heavier than ever before. Their breakdowns and bass drops were surreal and Daniel Bates’ vocals sounded refined and perfected. As well as cheering on the crowd, the moved around the stage and put on a great show. Bates also spoke to the crowd about how they shouldn’t care what other people think about them, which was very inspirational and added an extra dimension to their set.

Martyr Defiled were also a main reason as to why I looked forward to Ghostfest. On CD, they are one of the most brutal upcoming bands out there. Their live experience doesn’t differ either. Before the band had even begun playing, a pit had opened up without them asking and it didn’t cease until the end of the set. Crushing anthems such as ‘The Act Of Sedition’ are proof of why this band are going places and how their live process shows no signs of calming down.

One of the most anticipated bands of the weekend were Your Demise, and they didn’t disappoint. After their recent album tore fans apart because of the pop-punk vibe, there was speculation amongst fans as to whether they would actually be any good live. Apart from Ed McRae’s ‘on and off’ vocals, the band played a belter of a set. By mixing in both classic songs such as ‘Burnt Tongues’ with new songs like ‘These Lights’, their performance was surprisingly refreshing. However, it was evident that McRae’s singing voice is his best attribute.

Emmure are a band that a much like marmite; you either fall in love with their style, or you hate the band entirely. This was clear amongst Ghostfest’s inhabitants. I tried to keep an unbiased view on the band and I must admit they did perform well. Despite a bit of sloppiness here and there, they were by far one of the heaviest bands of the weekend. Like a lot of bands this weekend though, they were very repetitive. Drop tuned breakdown after drop tuned breakdown became tedious, but their fans seemed to love it and they had some of the biggest pits of the weekend.

The headliner on the Monster stage was Defeater, and there could not have been a better way to end the festival. A huge and loyal crowd formed to watch the band, and their singing for Defeater’s set was deafening. Their emotional brand of hardcore was inspirational to say the least. Defining songs such as ‘Dear Father’ and ‘Cemetery Walls’ had me, and the rest of the crowd I’m sure, in awe. Half way through their set, they stopped for a play through of tearful acoustic song ‘I Don’t Mind’. Vocalist Derek Archambault’s voice was inaudible for much of the song due to the crowd singing along. This was something that he generously thanked, as it is an artists dream to see hundreds of fans singing the songs you wrote back at you. If that wasn’t a good enough reaction for the band, after their set the room echoed with the sound of “one more song”. And even after an unexpected encore, they were still asked to play another. Unfortunately, they didn’t return to the stage for a third time.

After experiencing Ghostfest 2012, I began to understand the effect of it and what it stands for. As pointed out by Bury Tomorrow’s vocalist Daniel, it is festivals like this that inspire fans to support local music and even start bands of their own. Ghostfest also made me realise that over the last 7 years, the metal-hardcore scene has only become bigger and bigger, and currently shows no sign of simmering down. Bring on Ghostfest 2013!

Sam Axup

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Interview: Demoraliser

Posted in Interview with tags , , , on 7th July 2012 by vmteam

After watching Demoraliser destroy people during their set on the main stage, Sam Axup and Alex McGougan decided to interview them and find out how they felt their set went and to see what they have planned for the future!

How do you think your set went?

Sam Jarvis (guitar): The crowd enjoyed it but some of us felt that we were a bit off and it wasn’t the best we could do.

Mat Ombler (drums): We had a few technical difficulties from the start because we didn’t use our own gear. It’s not the best excuse but things like Jarv’s (Sam Jarvis) guitar cut out and it took us ages to get Nath’s (Nathan Smith) guitar working at the start and then something else went tits up. The first half was riddled with technical difficulties but I think the second half was decent. The crowd reaction was fucking ace.

Are you looking forward to seeing any other bands tonight?

Sam: I’m looking forward to seeing Defeater, I haven’t seen them yet. I’ve listened to them for ages and I’m glad I’ve got the chance to see them here. Emmure, purely because they’re heavy as fuck.

Mat: All Shall Perish, and maybe a bit of Emmure.

What can you tell us about the new album?

Sam: It’s heavy. Full of riffs. It’s different to our old stuff that was more two step parts but now we’re more melodic.

Mat: Compared to Conveyance and Reform Repent Revenge, it’s got a hell of a lot more melody and harmonizing compared to just two step bits and beatdowns. It’s probably the best thing we’ve written so far. We can’t wait for everyone else to hear it.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Sam: We’re touring with Deez Nuts in August, that should be good. We’re hopefully going to tour Europe as well in August as well after the Deez Nuts tour. And then we might have something panned in September involving UK and Europe.

Mat: We’ve got a couple of one-offs just scattered around as well.

What made you want to start a band?

Sam: We were all in bands ages a go and it was all the same band apart from Mat. Then Nathan went off to Uni and started writing loads of stuff and we thought ‘lets do this as a summer band’. Then we did a few gigs over the summer and it picked up really well from there so we wanted to carry on doing it. Then Ombler joined half way through the year after our old drummer left. He puts on gigs so we played gigs for him, barely getting money for the bridge toll.

Mat: I found out about these guys and put them on a show and we got talking through that and when their drummer left, they rang me up and asked me if wanted to fill in for the Post Mortem Promises tour. Then after that I stayed on for full.

What advice would you give to other upcoming bands?

Sam: Just give your stuff away for free. If you record a small EP, make loads of copies and hand them out for free at gigs or put them up for free download.

Mat: Have as much stuff up as you can for free. There’s no point starting a band page with nothing on it. The first and most important thing you need to prioritise is getting tracks up there for free.

Sam: Yeah, the worst thing to do is make a band page and be like ‘hey guys, check us out, we’re in this band. We haven’t got any tracks up’. Don’t do that. Get tracks up and dish them out.

Mat: At the end of the day, if someone checks out your band page and you’ve got no tracks on it, they’re not going to check it out again. What you want them to do is check out your page, they hear a track: ‘cool, this is fucking ace’. Then they’ll check it out again. Just give everything out for free, people don’t pay for things. They either can’t afford to or they don’t want to so give everything out for free and give away free CDs and downloads and try and get your name out as much as possible.

Did you party last night?

Sam: Erm, yeah, a bit, a bit too much. I had to go to bed quite early because I was pretty fucked.

Mat: There were a lot of miscellaneous pharmaceuticals going around so we were in a pretty reasonable state by about one in the morning. Then it got to the point where we thought ‘right, kinda needed to chill out a bit’. Dex (James Dexter, vocals) stayed up till six and woke up at about eleven so it was a pretty fucking rough night last night, it was a laugh.

Are there any other upcoming bands you want people to look out for?

Sam: The Departed, they’re from Grimsby too and they’re really good.

Mat: Malevolence, they’re heavy as fuck. Never Cry Wolf likewise. Desolated, The Colour Line, all our mates really. People really do need to check our more bands from the UK just come down to more shows. If you see that there’s a show on in your town, go to it instead of just sitting at home on Facebook. At the end of the day, the more people that come, it’s better for everyone. People have more fun if there’s a load of other people there and the bands have more fun and it gives. It also gives confidence in local promoters if theres a big turnout. I’ve seen people bitch on Facebook saying ‘oh, no big bands come to my city’ blah blah blah. If they want big bands to come to their cities, they need to support the smaller bands because that in return gives confidence to local promoters who become willing to put their balls on the line for bigger bands. I could rant on for ages but I won’t!

Lazarus Syndrome – Flatline

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , on 29th June 2012 by vmteam

Lazarus Syndrome
Flatline
Released March 2011
Melodic Metal
Self-Released

Lazarus Syndrome are a five piece melo-metal outfit from Liverpool, whose influences include Queen, Slipknot and Metallica. The band recently played Download Festival.

Forsaken initially starts off sounding very much like it could evolve into a death metal track with heavy, down tuned guitars and bass, growly vocals and good solid drumming with some handy double bass footwork from Matt Gregson. Instead, after the first verse and into the chorus, we are greeted with very melodic guitars and some great ‘clean’ vocals by Peter Ford. My initial listen to this did take me by surprise but, in a good way, really quite original I thought. Then after the chorus it’s back to the deathly style vocals for another verse, closely followed by a slightly extended chorus and afterwards, moves into a cool lead guitar section that’s executed very well. After this, it then moves into a rather delightful section which has some great guitar licks, shortly followed by the chorus. Overall, I thought of this track to be a very memorable one and really quite catchy.

The next track, Devoured By Conflict, is introduced by some clever guitar work and cymbal stabs – kinda reminding me of early At The Gates – then, with the vocals, progresses into an anthem of total and utter rage, with Peter screaming ‘need to get this poison outa my head’; this guy sounds angry. We are then introduced by some clever guitar work by Jamie and Mike along with some great vocal work by Peter, switching from ‘clean’ vocals to growls. At this point the track reverts back to the intro at the beginning, tearing down and destroying anything that may happen to unfortunately cross its path. With another heartfelt repetition of the chorus we may get the impression that these guys are upset about something, very upset, and they are not scared to shout about it… And so ends track number two.

A Path Less Travelled without a doubt is certainly the most melodic track on this EP, guitar wise and vocal wise too. Peter Ford is a great vocalist and this track contains some excellent vocal melodies and harmonies. Also some very good tom work by Matt Gregson in unison with Tom Parkers bass work, really quite impressive. After a repetition of verse and chorus we are then pinned up against a wall with more of Peter’s ferocious, deathly style vocals; the only time to make an appearance in this track but, don’t despair, this is a great song and in my opinion, stands well above the previous two tracks.

Last but not least, Blameless Creator a song that is much faster than any other on the EP, and after a short guitar intro, the ensemble come blazing in with guitars on fire, snare on double-time and vocals that Cannibal Corpse would certainly be proud of. The guitar riffs on this partially remind me somewhat of early Kreator, and I like that very much. There’s great vocal and guitar harmonies again during the chorus along with some great drum work by Matt. After another verse, chorus and bridge, we have the privilege of an alternative chorus which signifies the end of track 4. This track is another favourite of mine.

Overall, I find this a great EP. I can see a promising future for these guys.

5/5

Shaun “Winter” Taylor-Steels (My Dying Bride/Ex-Anathema)

3 Inches Of Blood & Goatwhore w/Support @ The Moho, Manchester

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , on 25th May 2012 by vmteam

Goatwhore, 3 Inches of Blood, Angelus Arpartriad & Havok
Moho, Manchester, United Kingdom
9th May 2012

Moho Live in Manchester is a venue which gets mixed results and after finding out that this gig would be here I was apprehensive. They can be very hit and miss with sound and the room itself is awkwardly shaped meaning short people such as myself can often miss out. However, tonight the crowd is a small and friendly affair in which I can navigate myself to a good vantage point easily.

The evening starts with the energetic Havok, looking like they’ve just rolled out of the Bay area of San Francisco circa 1985. And despite the giant gothic entrance music (which is rather jarring after listening to what comes next), they are pure and utter thrash. There are plenty of elements that sound like other trash bands, for example, you can’t help but think of Tom Araya when vocalist David Sanchez screams and there is a good measure of Testement thrown in there. But these are certainly not bad things. Havok are strong and entertaining, just watching the passion from the small audience is proof of that.

What stands out strongly with Spain’s Angelus Arpartriad is the fantastic drumming. Victor Valera’s choice of rhythm and style elevates their standard clean thrash to another level. Once again, the enthusiastic crowd are enjoying every minute of this set and the first circle pits of the evening begin. Angelus Apartriad and highly enjoyable and compliment Havok’s dirtier thrash with their own melodic and well written style.

Now Goatwhore is the band I was looking forward to. “Blood for the Master”, their most recent album was simply excellent and bridged the black and death elements of their music even further. Vocalist Ben Falgoust prowls the stage as if looking for someone to tear to shreds. And the music itself does just that. It is blistering and brutal and everything you could possible want in Blackened Death metal. The set doesn’t let up either, with very few gaps between songs, the sounds crash through even more powerfully. The new songs work well with older tracks and all of the executed tightly and efficiently by a band getting stronger and stronger.

Canada’s 3 Inches of Blood are a fun band, their cocktail of power and thrash is somewhat akin to Manowar and are enjoyable to watch. 3 Inches of Blood are very different from the previous three bands but they pull out a strong set even if the songs occasionally blend into one another. The audience that is left are as energetic as they were for previous bands, if not more so. The warrior imagery and calling to arms of the metal brotherhood are a lot of fun and are played very well this evening. Having admittedly not known much of 3 Inches of Blood tonight I find that I am impressed and am looking forward to seeking out more material from these guys.

The sound tonight has been much better than expected and the bands even more so. The metal community is known for its tight-knit camaraderie and this was definitely seen tonight. The atmosphere was warm and friendly and the bands were all extremely strong and enjoyable. If only all gigs were as enjoyable.

Jade Hunter

***Photography by Jade Hunter & Taylor Seraph***

Interview: Ben Falgoust [9th May 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , on 25th May 2012 by vmteam

Before their gig at Moho in Manchester, we met up with Ben Falgoust, frontman of Goatwhore for a bit of chat about all things metal.

Jade: How is the tour going so far, are you enjoying it?

Ben: Yeah, the tours going really good so far, a lot of good feedback with all the bands in general. They all offer something different to the tour, a different kind of impact

Jade: It’s good to have diversity

Ben: It’s not too diverse, just within extreme music. Each band offers a different element of that. From 3 Inches of Blood to us to Angelus Apartriad and Havok, everyone has an extreme element from their different kind of genre within the extreme metal scene.

Jade: How are you enjoying Britain? Are the fans treating you well?

Ben: Yeah, so far so good. Two shows in and we still have about five to go and then we head back to mainland Europe and finish off over there. So yeah, everything is going pretty damn good so far.

Jade: How do you find the European crowds? Do they have a different atmosphere to the US? Do you notice any big changes?

Ben: Well yeah, I think that out here the people are more, nothing against America, but they are more dedicated. If they’re into it they have been into it a while, follow close-knit to it and keep it pretty much as close to them as possible.
Whereas in America there are a lot of trends and fads and things go and people come in and out of things. But out here and in Europe if you’re into metal you’ve always been into it and have it set for the rest of your life .Where in other places it’s more of a fad and people are in and out of it

Jade: Where do you like playing the most? Have you found somewhere you like playing more than others?

Ben: As far as that goes every place offers something different, as far as the interaction with the crowd and how we’re perceived as a band and everything, I don’t necessarily have a favourite, I have certain places that I had a really good time playing but that depends on how the crowd comes out and reacts, you can’t really set aside a city as being the greatest city to play or anything because we can easily go back to that same city and it not be as impacting as the last time.

Jade: Different groups of fans

Ben: Yeah, exactly, also it depends on the tour you do. Personally I’m out here to enjoy what I do be there two people of two hundred I’m still going to perform to the same amount as I would, no matter what. You can’t upset even the small amount of people that show up rather than making sure that you always have a huge number of people out each time.

Jade: Growing up, which bands inspired you to start a band?

Ben: There were a lot of different things, it varies in different styles from like Judas Priest to a band like Cro-Mags to Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death, Cannibal Corpse, I was into a lot of things when I was growing up.
All these little things within these bands have a role in what you want to do, what you want to evolve to do as far as bands go. And just certain aspects about them you want to pull off, like what they’ve done in a live setting or what they’ve done on certain records or what they’ve done as individual artists. It plays such a big role on how it influences you and everything.

Internally we have a lot of members that are into a lot of different things and we don’t like to pigeon-hole ourselves into one bracket, we like to be open because we are so open as far as metal goes. So when people ask us to explain what we are, we are like, we’re a metal band.
Of course people have their genres that people like to put things into and have labels to recognise things and sometime it pigeon-holes you into a spot and you have to work your magic to get out of that spot on a tour that’s a little bit different and get in front of that person that wouldn’t take the chance or the risk with you, you know, and try and work them over. You see these elements of these other bands in the past and those things help influence your music, the way you look at things and the way you do things.

Jade: Besides music, what do you like to do in your free time?

Ben: I don’t really have to much free time, I have a job at home when I’m not touring. I work in a frame shop, we do pictures, mirrors, work for hotels and stuff like that. When I go back home I go back into a regular job and do that and in the evenings we jam, work on new material. And I guess if there is any off time I probably catch up on sleep!

Jade: What is your song writing process when you come to write a new album?

Ben: It’s kind of mixed up sometimes, our drummer is from Phoenix, our bassist is from Pensecola, Florida, our drummer (Zak) will come in and he’ll get together with Sammy and they go over ideas and every now and then James will come over from Pensecola and he sits with those three. I’ll sit in every now and then to give an outsiders input and we’ll work things out like that, going back and fourth. Once things are solid in structure I’ll start putting vocals and vocal ideas on top of that.

But we’ll go to points where we’ve written a full song and you’re just like, this doesn’t quite feel like what we want so we’ll either toss the whole thing out or tear it apart and take elements from it that we really like and then we just move from there. I think a lot of bands do the same thing, I think it’s just the end result is different on how they approach it. We’ve never really started building a song around the lyrics; that would be something unique to do.

Sammy has a bunch of tapes with riffs on and we’d sit through and pick different ones out and start to structure them and everything. And now since we’re in the 21st century he’s been dropping them on to a computer so it’s been a little bit easier. Sometimes we can put together a song one day and it’s just that right thing, sometimes it takes two, three weeks to put a whole song together. Other times you’re just at that wall where you can’t go any further and you either need to step back and start something new or start at a different point.
Sometimes we’ve taken songs where we haven’t started at the beginning but started at the middle and then expanded the end, creating it from that point. Or we’ve found a riff that’s like a good ending riff so now let’s go backwards in a structure. You just fall into different ways.

Jade: How do you choose your set list when you come out on tour? Do you go through the back catalogue and go, ‘I’d like to play this one’?

Ben: Yeah, we kind of throw our ideas around and rehearse through it to see if it feels right. Some songs don’t come across live like other ones do and when you play it you can feel it, you can feel the impact and the energy behind it. So we kind of go in and pick things, we bracket packs of songs, no space in between.

We have three songs packed in a group or two songs and just do that and have minimal breaks to have more of an attacking live show rather than ‘here’s a song and here’s a break and here’s a song etc’. So we go through that process and all come together to agree which songs fit where and the whole set list.
We change the set list pretty often as we tour a lot, we don’t want to go out there and offer the exact same live setting as before. When you tour so much and people see you four times in one year, so it’s like okay, the saw the same set four times instead of having four different sets.

Jade: Do you tailor your sets to specific towns, cities or countries?

Ben: Not really, we maybe will do, like depending on the tour we’re on and the ands we’re with. Our music has variance in what we do so we can vary it to the tour we’re on. If we’re on an extremer tour then we will pull out more of the extremer songs and if we’re on more of a tour like the one we did with Devildriver we will try to get more adaptable songs for that kind of audience. Even though they are a metal band too they have different audience. We can’t change ourselves too much, we just adapt to whatever kind of songs we have so we will try to switch up of songs in accordance to that.

Jade: If you had a song that went well in a certain city, would you be more inclined to play it there again?

Ben: Yeah, pretty much. You know sometimes people leave notes on facebook or in our email requesting songs and we try to work that out, depending on what it is. If we’re half way on a tour and we can’t rehearse something we can’t. But we always take that stuff into consideration. There have been points where we’ve played a show and we did know a song but didn’t play it where people were asking and we had a little time left so we played it.

Jade: Thank you for your time.

***Photography by Jade Hunter & Taylor Seraph***

We Are The Others [Delain Tour Review]

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 17th May 2012 by vmteam

This year I was able to follow Delain around the country on their We Are The Other Tour (I swear, I’m not a stalker!), celebrating the individuality of people known as the ‘others’. The album concept was inspired by the tragic case of Sophie Lancaster, where she was brutally murder because of stereotyping. This tour saw Delain’s fourth tour around the United Kingdom, joining Delain on the road were American metallers Halcyon Way, a band that seemed almost wasted on this tour and would probably of benefitted more from touring with the likes of Dragonforce or Arch Enemy. Also, on the tour were Amada Somerville’s own solo band Trillium. The UK tour in the started at the HMV Institute in Birmingham, situated just 5 minutes from the Bull Ring Shopping Centre. The city saw Delain’s first ever UK show at the Femme Metal Festival in 2009 and like Charlotte said ,and I agree, it was like coming home.

Starting up the shows were Halcyon Way, their name being said differently to how it’s spelt, a band like I said before I felt were a bit wasted on the tour and should of really toured with the likes of Dragonforce and would appeal to fans perhaps more to fans of Bullet For My Valentine or Malefice or other acts along those lines. Their music saw a heavier and more violent approach to music, hinting towards the metalcore and post-hardcore styles. Their performances were heavier than that of Trillium and Delain. With their performance totalled in a full six songs on their set list, although I could not seem to find where the songs ended and started during the first two shows and they seemed to be doing a never ending amount of songs. The Birmingham show saw that the band came straight from Paris to Birmingham to perform. Halcyon did have a strong reaction from the crowd but the performance felt to be lacking something. The last song, On Black Wings (taken from their album Inctrination), which for me, was the best. This was the same for the Sheffield show as well. The third night I saw them, in Manchester, was in a small and more intimate venue which saw them bloom and do a far more powerful performance than the previous nights with more input from the crowd. I think they are a band to watch for future reference but I feel that they weren’t anything too special, but as I said they’re a band to look out for. I would be surprised if we see these in the UK anytime soon. However, it is safe to say that the Delain Nation (a name for Delain fans), got a massive shock when it came down to it.

Like most people in the Delain crowd they had probably heard the most notable song for Trillium which is their promotional single Coward. The first time hearing this, it felt as if it was something that just didn’t click with me but it had grown on me over time. This tour saw lead singer Amanda quite sick with a doctor having to come and see Amanda just before the Sheffield show, which did mean a slight decrease from her performance over the next two shows: Sheffield and Manchester but at least she was able to carry on. Like Halcyon Way, it saw the same set list through out the tour, however with just one album to play tracks from, and the unlikely hood of hearing an Epica song, there wasn’t a vast selection of songs for them to perform. The HMV Institute was Amanda’s first show in the UK, even after touring all over the world with other acts like with Epica and Kamelot. I was surprised by how much I actually liked Trillium live during the first night we were able to see the curvy Amanda jump up and down on the stage and become in her element with the music, something that unfortunately was not seen at the Manchester show. I, however, would recommended checking out Trillium.

During this tour I have been able to encounter Delain’s performance at all different angles from being right at the front to far at the back and of course, slap bang in the middle. Delain have been one of my favourite bands to go and see live since I experienced of their live shows at Rio’s in Leeds back in 2010. Unlike other bands, after seeing them, they start to lose their touch, such as when I saw Lacuna Coil in Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester after seeing them in Liverpool, however this certainly was not the case with Delain. I was surprised as to how much I actually enjoyed all of the concerts on this tour, despite having the same set list throughout the tour. Being at the back for the first show I was able to see everything that they show had to offer as well as the very vibrant audience. The show saw new songs from Delain’s third album We Are The Others, scheduled for release June 4th here in the UK. Delain kicked off the set with a song from the new album, which I failed to remember the name of.

From here the band performed a mixture of songs which surprised me when I heard a lot of tracks from their first album Lucidity and as many new songs from We Are the Others. One of the first songs that were played during any of the shows was the title of the new album and the tour, We Are the Others, a song that celebrates indifference and uniqueness. A lot of songs made it is obvious that Delain have taken a sort of turn from what would be considered their typical sound, as the new songs tended to have more meaning surrounding life.

The Sheffield show celebrated Charlotte’s 25th Birthday. Unlike I had originally expected no one came out with a lit up cake on the stage for the audience to sing like with other bands, but I suppose they have their traditions and other bands have theirs. The same structure was given to the show and had the same songs involved as the first night with the same jokes but good.

As a rule, I don’t usually like shows in Manchester but unlike the others, the Manchester show seemed to have shined through with the crowd. Unlike previous nights, it seemed that See Me in Shadows was performed better, as in Birmingham is seemed that given the emotion of the song it was not that well delivered. The Manchester show also saw better lighting than the previous nights and had more energy throughout this show.

The Gathering was the best song of the night and the last, it saw the audience jumping up and down, more so than at the Sheffield show, although the best song of the Sheffield show was The Gathering, along with April Rain. The Manchester show, also saw people involved with the Sophie Lancaster charity premier the new songs from the album that were inspired by the tragedy of her death.

In total the best show out of the three was the Manchester show, despite the band slightly putting their foot in it with the remarks about Manchester City winning the title and losing to Manchester United, with the Birmingham show not even close, it really was the best show that I have seen in a while. Anyone who missed out, should definitely keep an eye out for the next time Delain tour in the UK.

Danielle Eley


Cannibal Corpse – Torture

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 10th March 2012 by vmteam

Band: Cannibal Corpse
Album: Torture
Release Date: 13th March
Genre: Death Metal
Label: Metal Blade Records

With Cannibal Corpse you always know what you are going to get, though that’s not to say that this is a bad thing. Cannibal Corpse are brutal and technically very skilled, and this new album is definitely both of those things, though they are tighter now than ever before.
“Torture” sees a welcome return to their notorious gory front covers (though not exactly to the extremes of previous albums), this one featuring an interesting flap to pass the censors.
Recorded once again at Sonic Ranch studios in Texas, this is the twelfth Cannibal Corpse album and the third album with the line up of Webster, Mazurkiewicz, Barrett, Corpsegrinder and O’Brien. They are still sounding strong with this collection of twelve brutal tracks.

The riffs are fantastic, especially on opener ‘Demented Aggression’ and ‘As Deep as the Knife Will Go” which are classic Cannibal Corpse songs. They are aggressive and certain to get you head banging.
The guitars sound thunderous and angry, just as they should be. And Bassist Alex Webster proves his chops as a one of the best death metal bass player with blistering speed, particularly clear on ‘The Strangulation Chair’ and ‘Rabid’.
‘Scourge of Iron’ adds a different flavour to the album. It starts quickly but slows down to a doom-y, groove laden riff that is both hypnotic and addictive to listen to.
‘Followed Home Then Killed’ is very tight, proving that all five men work exceptionally well together.
Closing track ‘Torn Through’ mirrors the opening track with a great first riff and continues just as strongly as the rest of the album.

There is nothing ground breaking or new here, but that doesn’t really matter. Cannibal Corpse are brutal, technically very skilled and are still sounding very together, this album is definitely proof of this. Overall it is groovier that previous outings but I think this definitely adds to the albums appeal making it slightly catchier and a great listen.
Violent and precise, Cannibal Corpse refuse to slow down and this album is certainly evidence of that.

4/5

Jade Hunter