Archive for Rock

Patricia Vonne – Rattle My Cage

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 26th April 2016 by izaforestspirit

Patricia Vonne
Rattle my Cage
Released 22nd April 2016
Texas “Tejano” Rock
Released via String Commander, a division of M.I.G.-Music GmbH

Rattle my Cage’ is the new album from the Texan American singer and songwriter Patricia Vonne. In addition to being a musician, Vonne is also an actress and the sister of renowned film maker Robert Rodriguez. Her style is a mixture of rock with Latino music and jazz as well as other genres popular in her native Texas.

I’m not exactly sure what Texas rock is. Texas makes me think of Westerns, ranches, cowboys, country music, Tex-mex food and so on. Based on the description offered in the press release, I knew that this wasn’t going to be country music nor was it a soundtrack to some Western movie. So, let’s see what we have here…

The title track, co-written with the blues artist Johnny Reno, is a pleasant and fairly catchy rock song which demonstrates Vonne’s skill as a singer. Her melodic and passionate vocals are a perfect match to the guitars. The Latino style, Spanish song Que Maravilla slows the pace down a little with the guitar tunes and the sound of the violin giving it a slightly sombre tone. Also Patricia Vonne’s Spanish sounds all the more profound and it’s impossible not to feel the emotions that must have gone into writing the lyrics.

This Cat’s in the Doghouse has that catchy and light-hearted rock’n’roll style which makes you want to get up and dance. Dulce Refugio sounds like that would easily be played in any club or bar specializing in Latino music be it salsa, tango or even flamenco. You can almost picture yourself at a bar by the beach, wearing a sombrero hat and drinking an ice-cold Corona beer.

In summary, listening to ‘Rattle My Cage’ this has been an interesting and educational experience for me. It’s taught me a few things about the various music styles of Texas. I happen to speak Spanish and I’m familiar with Latino music so Patricia Vonne’s Spanish songs on here struck a cord with me.

4/5

Iza Raittila

The 69 Eyes – Universal Monsters

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 14th April 2016 by Pieni

The 69 Eyes
“Universal Monsters”
Goth’n’Rock
Release: 22nd April 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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It’s funny – in an admirable way – how The 69 Eyes keep surprising us, after all these years, while releasing albums within the same parameters. Then again, I believe it’s simply called “talent”.

If “X” was the band’s “pop album” (quoting Jyrki 69 himself), “Universal Monsters” is the rock one – hand-in-hand with that ever-present gothness, of course. You can tell that yourselves already, if you’ve listened to both singles the album has produced – the upbeat rhythm of “Dolce Vita” (those catchy piano keys and that spry guitar solo) and the fetching melody of “Jet Fighter Plane”; the pulse is stronger and yet they have The 69 Eyes seal all over them.

Then things get a bit heavier with “Blackbird Pie”. And somber when, midway, some kind of Indian rain dance beats precede a beautiful semi-acoustic solo. Then watch them “gothicise” the Arabian feel of “Jerusalem”! What an exotic song that turned out! There’s also a Spanish guitar in the background of “Never”, so I dare saying that “Universal Monsters” may not use sounds from all around the universe, but it rolls quite internationally.

“Miss Pastis” is even more cheerful than “Dolce Vita”, the piano replaced by what sounds like a blow-organ, while “Blue” is the mandatory ballad, the sadness embedded in it living up to its name. I wonder if it’s just a coincidence that the most popular ballad from the previous album was also named after a color…

“Saving the best for last” would be somewhat unfair, as the whole album is stellar, but “Rock’N’Roll Junkie” has indeed everything to become a hymn – the lyrics, that intro resembling The Rolling Stones“Start Me Up” and Jyrki’s vocal posture a tribute to David Bowie… yep, that one’s going down in the rock history.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Cairo Son – Storm Clouds

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 26th February 2016 by Mickelrath

Cairo Son
Storm Clouds
Rock, Grunge, Stoner, Blues
Released: 18th March 2016
Self released

The British rockers have been growing in popularity for some time and with their new album Storm Clouds on the horizon, pun totally intended, the trio look to expand.  Cairo Son, from London, mix together the hypnotic rhythm of blues and stoner rock and the heaviness and intensity of heavy metal and grunge to create a really fascinating listen. Their riffs are precise and sharp, with heavy bass that thunders in the background of the production. With their debut “Heart Against The Feather” backing them up, the band look to capitalise on that with this upcoming album in 2016.

The album opens with that riff styling I’ve mentioned already. It captivates you and makes you want to hear more. “Lost in the Shadow” is dark and twisted and uses the bluesy tone to its advantage.  Letting the music do its job of creating a dark and twisted sound, as the vocals are entrancing over the top. The harmonies on this album are simply lovely and really invoke that early 90’s grunge/stoner sound that they’re clearly aiming for.  The strong and powerful vocals really counter the music perfectly as it’s quite subdued. The two singles from this album “Lion in a Cage” and “Devil’s Tongue” are well performed, with anthemic choruses and hard-hitting riffs.  It brings to mind the early 2000’s nu-metal scene.  At the same time though it’s not as petty or whiny as that.  There genuinely seems to be a great sense of command and power to their performance here.

Although there aren’t many tracks, it still reaches a substantial length thanks to the near 11 minute epic that is the album’s title track “Storm Clouds” which drudges along at that bluesy pace. However, the song never feels like it’s dragging you by the nose to get through it.  The run time is justified as a lot of emotion comes out in this song and it feels very grandiose, like the band were aiming for something big. It hits all of the points you’d want a song like this to hit. I love Magdy’s voice on this song, he just matches the tone to the words and to the music so well.  It really does feel epic.

As you can probably tell I’m loving this album.  I can’t really name any drawbacks, it just works for me.  Is it for everyone?  Honestly, no but I feel that there is an audience for it.  A big audience. People who like well crafted riffs and emotional melodies will love this. However if you’re not into music that takes its time with bluesy sounds and heavy riffs then you’re probably not going to have a good time with this. Overall, I loved it and I would recommend giving it a listen.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Ricky Warwick – When Patsy Cline Was Crazy…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 26th February 2016 by Pieni

Ricky Warwick
“When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues)” / “Hearts On Trees”
Hard Rock
Released: 26th February 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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I’ve been listening to this album on a daily basis for the past two weeks, trying to come up with the right words to describe it, but always ended up losing myself in the melodies and Warwick’s voice. As the album is out today, I decided I couldn’t postpone this review any longer and it was better to write it by heart – by now I definitely can do that – as pressing “play” would distract me again.

That’s what you must be prepared for when listening to this double album – to have your senses enthralled and be taken away to that place in your mind where everything will be fine. Even if you’re listening to “Psycho”, a song depicting a troubled mind reaching out to his mom.

The first CD “When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues)” comprises the electric songs, while “Hearts On Trees” offers the acoustic ones. Which doesn’t mean that the latter is less fiery than the former. Born in Northern Island, Warwick brought the high spirited Irish music in the form of the title track and “Schwaben Redoubt” (although the story here ends with death). “Disasters” is pretty upbeat too.

Living up to its title, “Presbyterian Homesick Blues” is a blues song, but not exactly sad – it’s one of those that touches your feelings. And “Way Too Cold To Snow”, despite the somewhat melancholy, is just too beautiful to stir anything but life inside of you.

In “When Patsy Cline…” you’ll find that pure, classic rock that Warwick’s gotten us used to for years. The heavy opener “The Road To Damascus Street”, the catchy “Celebrating Sinking”, the sharp “Toffee Town”, the horn section in “That’s Where The Story Ends”… Twenty songs (plus eight bonuses!) to love.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Royal Republic – Weekend Man

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 25th January 2016 by Mickelrath

Royal Republic
Weekend Man
Garage Rock, Alt. Rock
Released: 26 February 2016
via Spinefarm Records

The Swedish rockers, Royal Republic return with a new powerhouse of an album in the form of “Weekend Man”.  Such an appropriate title as I haven’t listened to an alt. rock album in quite some time that makes me want to just get up and dance as much as this one does. The energy is just contagious, the band sounds like they’re having the time of their lives while making this album and it really shows because I’m having so much fun just listening to it.  “Weekend Man” is for people who want to switch off and just have fun, with the crazy lyrics and the light production work so the music isn’t really in your face.  Also, the simple but incredibly catchy hooks will have you singing and dancing all night.

It feels like a Britpop album, in the way that the sound is very cerebral and impactful but at the same time it has that thumping beat that Euro-pop seems to favour.  All wrapped up in a rock’n’roll style sound.  So there are lots of layers here. With all that mix of styles it’s nice that the songwriting is so simple, standard verse-chorus structure with catchy hooks and a hefty amount of repetition, it all makes for an album that will stick in your head for a while.  Songs like “Walk!” and “My Way” bring that heavy garage-rock style that made them popular to start with. Yet, tunes such as “Kung Fu Lovin” and “ When I See You Dance With Another” have that pop style that makes them such a versatile band. “Kung Fu Lovin” in particular is an interesting specimen with its rock sound very much downplayed for an upbeat tone.  Come to think of it, there isn’t a somber moment in the album, it’s all very much get up and go.

My own personal favourite tracks and the songs I would recommend checking out are the title track “Weekend Man” and “Baby”.  Both of these songs are tunes that would give you a good insight into what this album, and indeed the band, is all about.  Upbeat fun tunes that you can bop and groove along to.  Thinking of these songs makes me realise how much the funk genre must have influenced their sound, as they have that mid-80’s disco funk sound to them as well. Really, I can’t sing this album praises enough.  In a time where most hard and alternative rock music is deep and brooding, Royal Republic have made a fun party album. Only a few songs really deviate from this on this album. “American Dream”, “Follow The Sun” and “On Any Given Sunday” all have a more serious tone to them.  It’s definitely not unwelcome, in fact it’s really where my Britpop comparison stems from.  These are the songs that carry that cerebral sound.  It also has a jangly college rock sound that’s pretty endearing.

This is a cracking album and something that I think may brighten up your day no matter what mood you’re in.  Superb music and something I would be comfortable recommending to anyone.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Tó Pica – Is This The Best You Can Do?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 10th December 2015 by Pieni

Tó Pica
“Is This The Best You Can Do?”
Metal/Rock
Released 30th September 2015
Via Premiere Music

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Tó Pica is such a veteran Portuguese guitar player that I’m surprised it took him so long to come up with a solo album. But then again, his involvement with other artists/bands is so extensive that the surprise may lay in how he found the time to do it…

First thing you need to know is that this isn’t a “guitarist’s album”, meaning you won’t hear intricate, overdone guitar pieces disguised as songs. Even “The Urge”, where the lack of vocals emphasizes the guitar, has a thick rhythm section and could belong to any top-notch metal band. And in the other instrumental song here, “And… Just Breathe”, the piano plays a bigger role than the guitar. So no, “Is This The Best You Can Do?” isn’t the reflection of a guitarist’s ego but a full band’s work; the solos have just the right measure of artfulness to show how skilled and talented Pica is.

Also, despite his experience dating back to I-don’t-know-how-many-ages-ago, this isn’t an old school album. Pica is a versatile and open-minded musician and so is the outcome of his work. From the more traditional “My Time Has Come” to the more alternative “The Tempest”, going though the whiff of prog in “Suspended Metamorphosis”, the inclusion of string arrangements in the acoustic “Taste My Blame” and the heartfelt emotion in the modern rock piece “Espelho” (mirror – my favorite), Pica and his friends bring you a dynamic mix of dashing songs. I can assure you the album title represents the sarcastic nature of the artist, not the traits of his work.

4,5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

The Paradigm Complex – Amygdalopolis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 8th November 2015 by Paul Macmillan

The Paradigm Complex
Amygdalopolis
Released November 1st 2015
Progressive rock
Self-released

The Paradigm Complex - Amygdalopolis

This is quite simply one of the most bizarre things I think I’ve ever had the pleasure to analyse in the process of reviewing music. Really weird. Really, really weird. The Paradigm Complex are the genuine stuff of twisted fever dreams, and have elevated themselves beyond the state of yet-another-prog-band, to actually using their instruments (including frontwoman Alexandra Pawlitka’s voice) to tell a story.

Drafted in from classic Hammer Horror films, themes from lycanthropy to extra-terrestrial abduction are used to break up the main track of almost an hour into mini-stories, each with their own, highly characterised musical backdrop, and engaging storytelling. It is powerfully tangible how much thought, effort and ingenuity has gone into the creation of what is not just a music release, but essentially a piece of art. A certain Mr Zombie would quite possibly be a little jealous (as a director) of the effectiveness of The Paradigm Complex’s cultural appropriation.

As the recording spirals through various atmospheres, it’s difficult to pin down any continuous comparison to other artists, but they are there. There is a film score flavour akin to John Carpenter colliding with Goblin, liberally splattered with classic prog and acid rock, while the vocals meld from Bjork into Lacuna Coil, into Angelspit, and back again. There is also a thread of metal sewn into the fabric, but this is not a metal album, per se; it simply encompasses some of that spirit.

The project in its entirety is held together very aptly with bleak interludes, which serve to complement the neighbouring movements, and amalgamate this as one fluid piece, an apocalyptic infection creeping up the listener’s spine. It’s one wild trip, and White Rabbit is going to have to try mighty hard to survive this audio conflict between War Of The Worlds and The Walking Dead.

4.5/5

Paul Macmillan

Mind Driller – Zirkus

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 19th September 2015 by Pieni

Mind Driller
“Zirkus”
Industrial rock
Release: 25th June 2015
Via Red Mutante

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A few months ago, Mind Driller released their sophomore album “Zirkus”. And even if they have stronger tracks here to name the album after, I find “Zirkus” a title more than appropriate – once you hear it, you’ll find yourself dealing with a circus of emotions. Three voices (two male and one female) singing in three languages (English, German and Spanish) is already an interesting feature, but the music itself is just as attractive. I know that “industrial” and “German” in the same sentence will automatically light a neon sign reading “Rammstein” in your head (and okay, I admit there are a few occasions when the sound is somewhat similar), but the general outcome of Mind Driller is more vibrant and melodic than the grinding beats of Rammstein. Like “Lüg Mich An” or “Ich Bin Anders”, with their rock-ish vibe and catchy choruses. And Mind Driller are also able to seduce you into a goth/dark wave realm, through songs such as “Deadworld” and “Memories”. Rich in details and variations, “Zirkus” is a thorough and intense industrial album, from which I highlight “M4R10N3T4”, the aforementioned “Memories”, “Escape” and “Together (Chapter II)”.

I’m not very familiar with the Spanish industrial scene, but after listening to “Zirkus”, I dare saying that Mind Driller – along with Killus – are among the top bands that country produces within this genre.

4,5 / 5

By Renata “Pieni” Lino

Eisbrecher live in Helsinki

Posted in Gig, Live with tags on 5th April 2015 by izaforestspirit

Vergeltung, Eisbrecher
Tavastia,
Helsinki, Finland
2nd April 2015

The Neue Deutsche Härte band Eisbrecher came to play one show in Finland. This time the concert was in Helsinki, a two to three hour car journey or bus ride away from where I live. It’s been a while since I’ve been there and this was my first time at that particular venue. Luckily it was easy to find and within walking distance of the bus station.

Vergeltung

The supporting act was a Russian band who played a mixture of industrial rock with elements of nu-metal. They were very energetic and well versed on how to entertain a crowd. Some of the tracks sounded decent but none were memorable enough to stay in my head. Also they were only on for half an hour which is not quite enough. 3.5/5

Eisbrecher

These guys were definitely worth the trip to Helsinki. Some people regard them as a watered-down version of Rammstein but there was nothing watered down about that performance. The lead singer Alexx was great at agitating and interacting with the crowd. It didn’t take long before everyone was dancing, waving their hands and singing along in to the German lyrics. The venue was packed and everyone including the band members seem to be enjoying themselves. Alexx explained that this was actually their first time in Finland and that they regret not having the time to learn any Finnish words before the show.

They played a lot tracks from the latest album including the title track ‘Schock’, ‘1000 Narben’, ‘Volle Karft Voraus’ along with some older material such as ‘Willkommen Im Nichts’, ‘Heilig’, ‘Leider’, ‘Ohne Dich’, This is Deutsch’, ‘Verrückt’ and my personal favourite ‘Vergissmeinnicht’. 5/5

I’m so glad that I decided to go. Danke schön Eisbrecher! I hope that we will meet again soon.

Iza Raittila

 

Six Gun Saints – Ashes [EP]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 24th January 2015 by Mickelrath

Six Gun Saints
“Ashes” (EP)
Hard Rock
Released 14 October 2011
Via Dead Island Records

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Six Gun Saints, are a hard rock quartet hailing from Concord, CA.  Their debut EP “Ashes” is influenced by so many sources, yet it comes off a just standard metal.  Described to me as follows “Their EP ‘Ashes’ was shaped by drawing from various musical influences of each band member, forming their unique sound”, yes it’s quite cliché and I feel like I’ve heard this sound somewhere before.  Don’t mistake that as bad; it’s just being advertised incorrectly.

The EP itself is a fun heavy metal romp and feels like a Bullet For My Valentine/Avenged Sevenfold-esk type sound.  The riffs are well structured and easy to listen to, this isn’t something that’s going to challenge you as a listener but it’s good all the same.  The track “Spotlight” opens with a gorgeous bit of very atmospheric music and kicks right back into the same vibe.  The reason I point this out is that, for only the second track on their first EP this is really well composed and feels really nice.  The twin guitar is pretty pretty cool too and complements the overall sound nicely with the bass and drums creating a great framework for the band to shine.

The production quality varies throughout and some points are really night and they hit just mark that’s needed, but other moments it feels really disjointed and and the timing feels weird too. The riffs are always nicely structured and when it comes to transitioning between chorus and verse it just feels like they stopped playing for a little while then started again and someone just mixed it badly.  I can imagine these songs sound a great deal better live, or hell, this might even just be their style.  I don’t know, the disadvantage of reviewing a debut is you don’t know what you can and can’t criticise, as it could just be the way I listen to music.  For some parts to sound so good and then the other parts are sloppy, it just sounds disjointed in my head.

Overall, this is a good EP.  I couldn’t say it’s any more than good.  Six Gun Saints show a lot of promise and I do genuinely look forward to more from them, they could be the next big rock band they have all the necessary skills, they just need a little tighter production and more focus and they could be set.

3/5

Mick Birchall

Through The Cracks introduce complete line-up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 29th August 2014 by Pieni

When we interviewed Jimmy Bergman last month, he mentioned how he and Tillie Grundel were thinking about turning Through The Cracks into a full band rather than a duo. And indeed, a week ago or so, three other names showed up on their Facebook page. Now we have an official photo to go along with those names:

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From left to right: Jimmy, Emmy, Tillie, Daniel, Niklas

Niklas Aggemyr, who was already helping with the production of the new songs, has now taken the bass duties as well. With Daniel Holmgren on drums and Emmy Åsblom on the keyboards and backing vocals, the line-up is complete.

 photo jbttc_zps6a58557f.jpgWith Through The Cracks growing, some fans wondered if Jimmy was leaving his other band The End Of Grace. So the guitarist issued the following statement: “Many people ask me if I’ve stopped playing in The End Of Grace just because I’m now playing with Through The Cracks. So I’m writing this just to put an end to the rumor! I’m still playing with The End Of Grace, we are currently working on our next album, and it will be awesome! I/we are working at the same time very hard on my new band Through The Cracks and will shortly release an EP, which is also awesome! So give both bands a like!! The End Of Grace & Through The Cracks.

The debut single of Through The Cracks, “Breathless”, is available on iTunes and Spotify.


Through The Cracks official Facebook

Vagos Open Air 2014 – 3rd day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 23rd August 2014 by Pieni

Gojira, Paradise Lost, Vita Imana, The Quartet Of Woah!, MURK, Opus Diabolicum
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
10th August 2014

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Third and last day of Vagos Open Air 2014. It had rained a bit in the morning, so the dust had settled down. On the other hand, the water mixed with sour beer and other spilt liquids was starting to stink…

First band was Opus Diabolicum. The die-hard Moonspell fans will recognize this name from one of their early songs (from the 20-year-old EP “Under The Moonspell”, in case you’re not familiar with it). The name isn’t a coincidence, since Opus Diabolicum did with Moonspell the same that Apocalyptica did with Metallica – instrumental covers in cellos.
The gig didn’t kick off very well. After just a couple of minutes they had to interrupt due to a problem in the cello on the right (I wish I could tell you the name of the musician, but their Facebook page doesn’t mention names). And since none of the other two addressed to the audience, the silence became a little awkward. But when the cello was back in order, they attacked those strings with “Opium” and the crowd soon forgot the incident, singing the lyrics strongly. I confess I wasn’t expecting such a great feedback and I’m happy I was wrong about it. Of course they played some Moonspell key-hits, and that might have helped – “Vampiria”, “Nocturna”, “Scorpion Flower” – and such any Moonspell gig, they wrapped it up with “Alma Mater” and “Fullmoon Madness”. Neat! (4/5)

Opus Diabolicum official Facebook

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MURK – the “alternative death metal” Portuguese band, not the black metal Italian one – were up next. Never had heard of them before, not even when they were going by the name Sattor, and that started back in 2005. Apart from the EP “Tyrants Of Decay” they’ve released early this year, it seems that they’ve only released another EP (“Seeds Of Perseverance”) as Sattor. One must wonder why a band with just two extended plays out in a less than 10-year-old career was chosen for such a big event as Vagos Open Air. It’s commendable, of course, that Prime Artists support the national underground, but we have so many bands with a bigger discography and a larger fan base (there were some MURK fans present, truth be told) that it just seems unfair the promoters chose this band. it wasn’t a bad concert – the highlight on “Footprint Of God”, apparently – but it wasn’t a spectacular one either, despite their ritualistic gear and makeup. (3/5)

MURK official Facebook

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Now The Quartet Of Woah!, despite being formed just 4 years ago, they’ve been playing non-stop recently and making their name known. Well-known, actually, as their live shows are pretty… lively! I wasn’t expecting that, since I was told they were a stoner band. But unlike most stoner rock bands, they don’t focus on the bluesy and depressive doom side of the genre but on the heavy metal and psychedelic rock instead – hence the high voltage of their shows. It’s all there, though, in a classy mix, but it’s the heaviest and fastest elements they bring to life the most. Gonçalo Kotowicz was unmistakably happy, giving a quick (the time was short) but heartfelt thank you to Vagos. Songs like “U Turn”, “Balance” and the latest “BackwardsFirstliners” brought a sixties/seventies 5-star vibe to the festival. (5/5)

The Quartet Of Woah! official Facebook

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Spanish Vita Imana was another surprise – one that so far gets my gold medal in the category “Top surprises of 2014”. Whoever told me they were a thrash metal band forgot to mention they were also tribal and ‘core, otherwise I’d be more or less warned of the adrenaline discharge I was about to witness. A big emphasis on “more or less”, as I wouldn’t have expected that anyway. Here’s a band who knows what live gigs are all about! Their sound is mosher-friendly by nature, true, but if it wasn’t for Vita Imana’s tornado-wise attitude – especially singer’s Javier Cardoso, whose jumps were quite epic – the response of the crowd wouldn’t have been so explosive. “Gondwana”, “Quizás No Sea Nadie” or “Paranoia” were just a few of the songs that made the circles go crazy. (5/5)

Vita Imana official Facebook

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I guess everybody knows by now that a Paradise Lost gig is either very good or sucks dish water, there’s no middle term. It all depends on Nick Holmes’ mood. Holmes not only was in a great mood, his voice was in the strongest shape ever – this being my 9th Paradise Lost concert in 17 years, trust me, I know what I’m saying.
With a very serious face, Holmes said Paradise Lost have been around since the fifties/forties (told you he was in a good mood) while introducing “Gothic” – the oldest track of that night’s setlist, released in 1991 and not, obviously, in the ‘40s. Don’t know if he’s going through some midlife crisis, but he would later hint on the band’s “antiquity” again by saying that the following song was a hit that had been playing for decades and he expected to continue so. If you’re a hardcore fan of Paradise Lost, you know he meant “As I Die”.
They left the stage after “True Belief” – my all-time favorite, I confess – and someone started screaming for them. Soon a massive “PARADISE LOST, PARADISE LOST!” echoed. They would return for a 3-song encore, Holmes thanking once again (I lost count on how many times he said thank you). After the very last “Say Just Words”, the band took a selfie with a delighted crowd, all horns-up, in the back. Don’t worry about your age, Mr. Holmes. At 43, you’re still able to pull off amazing performances that many 20-year-olds can only achieve in their dreams. (5/5)

Paradise Lost official Facebook

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However, this was Gojira’s night. I believe the Portuguese fans have been asking for the French band since the very first Vagos edition. As for them, they claimed they’d been expecting to play in Portugal for 18 years – meaning since they first were founded, still as Godzilla. Yeah, yeah, I know they all say nice things about the countries/cities they’re visiting for the first time, or haven’t visited in a long while, but in this case I believe, as the Duplantier brothers have Portuguese roots (grandmother) and they’ve visited the country many times before, as tourists. Now that they made it as a band and had such a thunderous reception, I’m pretty sure they’ll do their best to return soon.
The security guys had their hands full – literally – from the very first seconds (yeah, seconds) of “Explosia” to the last ones of “Where Dragons Dwell”. A high-five to all of them for the excellent job they did, not only at helping the kids on the “landing” but also in guiding them into the best path of hands and heads.
Peak moments? All of them! But I can’t stop mentioning the inflatable dolphin that bounced back and forth over the crowd on “Flying Whales”. Cute!
It was hard to accept the gig had come to an end. Joe said what must have been all the pleasantries he knew in Portuguese while everybody screamed “GOJIRA, GOJIRA!” at the top of their lungs. But it was over. And unforgettable. (5/5)

Gojira official Facebook

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Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

More pics in our Facebook page HERE.

Vagos Open Air 2014 – 1st day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19th August 2014 by Pieni

Kreator, Epica, Soilwork, Sylosis, Kandia, Gates Of Hell
Quinta do Ega, Vagos (PT)
8th August 2014

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This year’s edition of Vagos Open Air was bigger in every sense of the word – it lasted one day longer than usual, it had more people coming in, and it had also the greatest bill so far. Kudos for promoters Prime Artists!

National Gates Of Hell must feel proud, and not just for kicking the festival off: it’s not easy for an underground band to gather so many people on a hot Friday, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, but they made it! There was a sea of people like there’s never been for an opening band, in all the 6-year history of the festival! Of course they’ve been working hard for it in the last few years, especially since the release of their debut album, playing all over the country and winning fans with their ballistic live shows. But it still was a wonderful surprise to see such a crowd screaming and moshing for them. And the size of the wall of death on the last song, “Critical Obsession”! Singer Raça thanked everyone – both fans/friends and those who were watching them for the first time – but truth be told, they wouldn’t have got that response if they weren’t just as good. The credit is all yours, boys! Keep it up! (5/5)

Gates Of Hell official facebook

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Things cooled down a bit, but only in terms of “brutality” – Kandia is a modern/alternative rock band, so no mosh pits for them. But that doesn’t mean that their show was less electrifying. It was just a different kind of voltage. Especially singer Nya Cruz, who looked totally at home on stage. They’ve released two albums so far, but neglected the first one completely, focusing just on the latest “All Is Gone”. Last year, they won the international music contest Global Rockstar with one song from that album, “Scars”. “We’re not going away, we’re here to stay!” was the introduction to that song, as its first verse reads “I’m here to stay”. But more than an introduction, it’s a statement, a motto – and the grip they had on this gig is proof that they will stick to it. (4,5/5)

Kandia official facebook

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It was the first time Sylosis were playing in Portugal (after pulling out of the Epic Industrialist Tour, in 2012) and Josh Middleton admitted they weren’t expecting such a reception. The crowd was happy to finally experience live songs such as “All Is Not Well” and “The Blackest Skyline”, so the circles began spinning once again, at full force. And when Josh asked for TWO circles – one at the left, one at the right – they were eager to comply (same as the headbanging to the sound of nothing, but that’s been done before by other artists – the two circles, now that was new). At some point Josh said that this was the last gig of Rob (Callard, drummer), since he would be pursuing a career as a singer… in a Mariah Carey cover band. Such talented musicians and so humorous… no wonder no one cared about the “little” fail of asking if we were ready for Kreator while playing a riff from Slayer’s “Raining Blood”… (5/5)

Sylosis official facebook

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It had been 11 years since I’d last seen Soilwork – which was the last time they’d played in Portugal. So I don’t know if it’s usual for them to use The Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius” as intro, but for me, it was a really nice surprise. And it links so well to “This Momentary Bliss”, the first song of their set! A set that I confess was hoping to be a bit more diverse, given the years of absence from the Portuguese stages. But their latest album is a magnificent double piece, so it’s only natural they wanted to focus on the killers of “The Living Infinite”. Still they went back a couple of times – “The Average Stalker”, “Bastard Chain”… –, closing with a golden key with “Stabbing The Drama” (“I think you know the chorus to this one”, said Mr. Björn Strid). The circles weren’t as constant as in the previous band but only because Soilwork’s sound doesn’t require so – there’s a reason why it’s called “melodic” death metal. In terms of intensity, they were just as “crazy and wild” (to use Strid’s own words). (5/5)

Soilwork official facebook

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There were LOADS of Epica fans in Vagos, so whoever thought it was a mistake to invite them again (they performed at the first edition of the fest) couldn’t be more wrong. Simone Simons’ voice was better than the last time I’ve seen them, in the “Requiem For The Indifferent” tour, but still a bit “shaky” here and there. The most blatant case was “Cry For The Moon”, where her voice was smothered by the choir backtracks and not because something failed with her mic. It’s just that female voices also change with time and it’s been 10 years since Simone first recorded that song. Maybe that’s why she took the chance to introduce the band, singing the names and their instruments instead of the original lyrics. Nice trick! But no one seemed to care anyway, as the strong and positive attitude of the whole band made those flaws look like small details.
They played a few songs from the latest album, “The Quantum Enigma” – including the first three tracks plus the new hit “Unchain Utopia”, but Simone said they would be back in November, in a promotional tour for this album. The crowd was thrilled to hear that. (4,5/5)

Epica official facebook

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Okay, it’s true that a Kreator gig is always a Kreator gig, and even when they’re bad, they’re still pretty good. But sometimes they’re REALLY awesome – like this time! From “Mars Mantra / Phantom Antichrist” to “Flag Of Hate / Tormentor”, Mille Petrozza got some of the best “Portuguese circle pits” that he kept asking for – having played here so many times before, he knew what he was talking about when he specified the nationality, giving them an unique identity. But with such a performance it was hard not to raise hell – the stage wasn’t big enough for their fire show, but the human heat made up for it.
For the encore, and the aforementioned medley of “Flag Of Hate” and “Tormentor”, Petrozza got on stage holding a flag, saying that when they released that album (“Endless Pain”), back in 1985, Michael Jackson was still alive. The rest of the band played a few chords from “Billie Jean” and the crowd roared. But the roar was much louder when he talked about the album that Judas Priest released five years later, as its title was the opposite of “Endless Pain”“Painkiller”, with the main riff of its title-track echoing. The true explosion came, of course, when Petrozza stopped talking and the medley itself began. (5/5)

Kreator official facebook

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Nevel a dull moment on this first day – except for the background music between songs, which was literally the same over and over. The metal DJs that took the graveyard shift should have been hired for the day as well…

Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

More pics in our Facebook page HERE.

Through The Cracks release first single

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 20th July 2014 by Pieni

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The talented songwriter Mr. Jimmy Bergman (THE END OF GRACE) and the beautiful voice of Ms. Tillie Grundel (former KARMIC LINK) put together THROUGH THE CRACKS, a project of rock music full of feeling. The first single, “Breathless”, was released digitally last Friday, on iTunes and Spotify.

Follow them on Facebook, where you can also see the lyrics for this beautiful song (click here) .
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Skid Row to tour the UK once again

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 1st July 2014 by Pieni

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Rock legends Skid Row will tour the UK again, after the successful visit last year, co-headlining with Ugly Kid Joe (read our report on the sold-out gig in London HERE). This time they’re single-headlining, but bring along The Last Vegas and Sister. Dates and locations as follows:

Fri 17 Oct – Bristol, Bierkeller
Sat 18 Oct – Cambridge, The Junction
Sun 19 Oct – Hull, The Well
Mon 20 Oct – Edinburgh, Liquid Room
Wed 22 Oct – Bournemouth, Old Fire Station
Thu 23 Oct – Stourbridge, River Rooms
Fri 24 Oct – Wakefield, Warehouse 23
Sat 25 Oct – Buckley, Tivoli
Sun 26 Oct – Nuneaton, Queens Hall
Tue 28 Oct – London, Underworld

Skid Row

Sister

The Last Vegas

Crooked Lizard – Ink

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 29th June 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Crooked Lizard
Ink
Released 11th July 2014
Blues/Rock
Self-Released

Hull, voted to be the City of Culture 2017, is home an interesting amount of talented bands and solo acts but one band is slowly rising from the depths of Hull’s murky musical talents. Describing themselves as a rock ‘n’ roll band, come the bluesy rock trio Crooked Lizard, who are set to bring about something fresh, new and exciting to not only Hull but the rest of the UK as well.

The album is opened by the track Devils Lullaby, a song laden with hypnotic vocal melodies and riffs more infectious than the common cold. The bass workings of Mike Sheriff parades through the song like a leprachaun on a rainbow. Motormouth follows closely in a fashionable manner, focusing on the vocals on Tom Hennings‘ vocals in the beginning before displaying his slick style of guitar playing later on in the track.

Chasing Gold comes across as a more laid back song, weaving the distinct talents of all three members as well as combining their voices for the occasional awe-inspiring chorus where as Cheeky Fly paints a sound that would be described in the vein of Kate Nash and Lily Allen. The vocals of the band’s drummer Roberta Lawson can heard in parts of the song, adding a new dimension to the sound. I Wish I Knew makes a staunch use of memorable lyrics performed in a manner that will leave you singing it for weeks to come. The combination of guitar, bass and drums helps add to the catchy and poignant elements of the song, defining the track as one of the best tracks of the album.

Oh Jonny belts out in a good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll fashion, keeping a steady pace with glossed up guitar melodies and smooth rhythm sections. The artful sounds of Whispered Mistakes carry a solemn yet calming atmosphere through the embroidered musicianship and vocals.  The album closes with the touchingly passionate song Monster, which is built up from moving basslines, poignant guitar passages and rhythmic drum sections.

Ink might be the debut album of the young Crooked Lizard but it rings out like the greatest hits of a band that has been around longer than what this talented trio has. Each track has its own distinct sound, allowing for a new listening experience throughout the album. Crooked Lizard’s live sound has translated well into a studio sound, providing that the band can sound just as good in the studio as they do live.

4.5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

The Cadillac Three to play one-off headlining show in London

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 24th June 2014 by Pieni

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Nashville rockers The Cadillac Three will be playing an intimate one-off headlining show at The Lexington, London, on the 7th July – right after their appearance at Sonisphere. Quoting vocalist/guitarist Jaren Johnston: “We can’t wait to get back across the pond! The first two trips were some of the best times of our lives. We look forward to playing Planet Rockstock, as well as Sonisphere and our upcoming headline tour. Hide your women and your cold beer… The Cadillac Three are coming back to the UK!”

They have recently recorded a cover of Mötley Crüe’s “Live Wire” which will be featured in the upcoming “Nashville Outlawes”, a tribute album to the legendary rock band involving TC3’s US Big Machine label, plus The Crüe camp itself.

Also, Spinefarm Records has re-issued their debut album “Tennessee Mojo” with two bonus tracks, and a new single featuring both “White Lightning” and “Back It Up” will be released to coincide with the aforementioned Sonisphere show.

https://www.facebook.com/TheCadillacThree

Japanese Vamps confirmed for Download Festival 2014

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 13th April 2014 by Pieni

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Japanese rock duo Vamps (featuring HYDE from L’Arc-en-Ciel and K.A.Z. from Oblivion Dust) will make their third appearance in the UK this Summer, at Download Festival (Donnington Park between 13th and 15th of JuneVamps playing on the 14th). They’ve recently played a headline show at Koko (March 28th) and last October they hit British ground for the first time at a sold-out Islington Academy.

» We just finished the show at Koko, London, and already we plan to come back and play for you guys at Download Festival in June! We will do our best to come back to the UK as many times as we can this year! Come to the festival and check out our performance, if you get a chance! «, says HYDE.

“Sex Blood Rock’N’Roll” is already their third album, the first to be released in Europe through Spinefarm Records. Follow them on Facebook (link here) for more information on what they’re up to.

Blowsight to release benefit single in aid of the homeless

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 21st February 2014 by Pieni

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“Winter Show Mercy (Thank You)” is the title of Blowsight‘s upcoming single, to be released this Thursday, 25th February. This is more than just a new song, the single release has another purpose than just bring you good music – all profits generated by its sales will be donated to the homeless.

Last Christmas, singer/guitarist Nick Red bought a cup of coffee to a homeless person named Björn and “Winter Show Mercy (Thank You)” was inspired by the conversation between the two of them. Quoting Nick: » Something that most of us will never experience is the humiliation of not even being recognized, being completely ignored by people that pass you by as if you didn’t even exist. Björn lost his wife three years ago and after that, it all just went downhill for him. While he admittedly needs shelter, food, or someone’s spare change; what he wants more than anything is for people just to acknowledge him even if they can’t spare a dime. The man is still a human being! «

You can purchase the single on Amazon (http://smarturl.it/tq6qaf) or iTunes (http://smarturl.it/9ehbqd), the latter including a digital booklet with art drawn by Nick himself and the lyrics for the song.

Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BLOWSIGHT

Concerns grow larger over missing landlord of metal pub

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 5th December 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Earlier this week, in the early hours of Monday morning (2nd December 2013), the landlord of a rock and metal pub in Nottingham was reported missing. Alastair Brown, aged 24, who runs the Hole in the Wall pub, in North Sherwood Street, was last seen at around 5am on Monday morning. Alastair, also known as Al, is described as tall, with a stocky build, long brown hair, a beard and facial piercings.

His friends have described his disappearance as completely out of character and a missing person’s poster has been shared on social media sites Facebook and Twitter. The police said a man had been reported missing and they were investigating. Over the years Al has supported many of the Rock scenes pubs and events within the Nottingham area, he’s also worked hard behind the scenes at the Bloodstock Festival.

If anyone does have information relating to Alastair’s disappearance, please contact Nottingham Police immediately (Tel: 101 with REF #860 02/12/13) or message the Facebook group at this location.