Archive for York

Warhorns 2014 announced

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

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

Fallen Fate post first part of studio update, new album in the works

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 6th January 2014 by Nico Davidson

Fallen Fate have released a studio update, showing their recent time in the studio recording their next release Into The Black. The concept album will be released on 30th January. The band who recently came 4th place in Terrorizer Magazine’s top unsigned bands of 2013 spent early last year in Stymphalian Productions in York with producer James Stephenson recording a couple of studio updates along the way so we could get a feel of what to expect from the band’s second release and follow-up to 2011’s The Virus Has Spread. The studio update video can be viewed below.

Vocalist Lee Skinner had this to say about Into the Black:

Based on a horror movie theme around a young girl called Vespa the concept of Into The Black plays a big part in how the album sounds and how it is visually portrayed through the artwork and upcoming videos. It contributed to the evolving sound of the band as we introduced more keyboards and experimental sounds into the mix, giving it a different dark feel and sound.

Supported by a release show in The Forum, Darlington, the album is set for release January 30th 2014.

Fallen Fate online:

www.facebook.com/fallenfateband

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Fallen Fate announce new album, titled Into The Black

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 24th December 2013 by Nico Davidson

North eastern metal unit Fallen Fate have announced their upcoming full-length release, Into The Black. Following the release of 2011’s The Virus Has Spread, with which the band stormed the UK, Fallen Fate have regrouped and are ready to unleash another lashing of metal onto the masses.

Recorded in part in Stymphalian Productions in York with producer James Stephenson and finished in vocalist Lee Skinner’s home studio, Into the Black retains the Fallen Fate’s signature punishing heaviness but it’s also apparent that the band has moved on musically since The Virus Has Spread. Vocalist Lee Skinner comments:

Dark, Expressive and Heavy… The sound and feel of Fallen Fate has changed quite a bit since the release of The Virus Has Spread. The band has progressed and developed a more solid metal sound while maintaining a unique mix of speed and heaviness in the music.

Based on a horror movie theme around a young girl called Vespa, the concept of Into The Black plays a big part in how the album sounds and how it is visually portrayed through the artwork and upcoming videos. It contributed to the evolving sound of the band as we introduced more keyboards and experimental sounds into the mix, giving it a different dark feel and sound.

Vocalist Lee continues to say:

She [Vespa] chose a life without faith and over time became possessed by a demon. The demon slowly took over her body and ultimately lead her to kill herself and her family. The drive behind the concept is to empower the listener to decide whether she was possessed by the Devil, as she has no saviour in her life, or if she was possessed by God, punishing her for her lack of faith.

The artwork designed by both Photographer Ian Cameron and Skinner through his own Black Venom Designs compliments the album’s running theme. Supported by a release show in The Forum, Darlington, the album is set for release 30th January 2014.

Fallen Fate online:

http://facebook.com/fallenfateband

Lost Effect return to studio; confirmed to support Breed 77 at local show

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Gothic melodic metallers Lost Effect have recently returned to the studio to record their follow up to their critically acclaimed Embrace The Silence EP. The band are aiming to release the currently untitled record sometime in 2014.

Lost Effect have also announced that they will be returning to their local scene in York for a show where they bill be supporting Breed 77 at Fibbers on 25 November, later this year. Tickets are available for £10 from this location.

Lost Effect online:

http://losteffect.co.uk
http://facebook.com/losteffect

 

Svartsot and Old Corpse Road confirmed to play York

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 13th September 2013 by Nico Davidson

Once again, Asgard are another night of furious metal to the city of York at the end of the Jorvik Viking Festival. This year will see the show headlined by Danish metal titans Svartsot who have never headlined a show on British shores. This will also be the band’s first ever UK show. Joining them as main support are one of the UK’s finest black metal covens: Old Corpse Road, who hail from the dusky location of Darlington. Drawing heavily on British folklore for their influence, Old Corpse Road are the perfect addition to the bill. The opening act is to be confirmed.

The show will take place on 22nd February 2014 at Fibbers in York. Tickets will be available soon from Asgard as well as the venue and other ticket outlets.

Svartsot online:

http://svartsot.dk
http://facebook.com/svartsot

 

Warhorns Festival 2013: Six bands you must see this year!

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 17th August 2013 by Nico Davidson

It’s coming to that time of year when the second edition of the Warhorns Festival is just around the corner. Taking place in the historic Viking capital of the north, York, where the infamous Eric Bloodaxe once ruled ruled as King of Northumbria, the two day event features some of the UK’s and Europe’s best folk, Viking and black metal acts. So we composed a list of six bands you must absolutely see at this year’s Warhorns Festival.

6. Red Rum

Because pirates. That’s why. I mean, who doesn’t like pirates? Aside from victims of pirates but I’m sure they still think pirates are cool. They also have an EP coming coming out soon.

5. Maelstrom

Dark. Brooding. And addicted to haggis. Much like the vast majority of the stereotypical populace of Glasgow. The only difference is that Maelstrom actually play a decent blend of symphonic black metal. Oh and they wear suits. Trve Glaswegian Corporate Black Metal.

4. Infernal Creation

Probably the blackest black metal band to come out of Hull since… Uh… I’ll get back to you on that one. Having already supported the likes of Fleshgod ApocalypseHecate Enthroned and Nothgard, as well as playing Bloodstock last year, Infernal Creation are definitely a band to watch out for at this year’s Warhorns.

3. Old Corpse Road

If you like happy, cheery music about rainbows and kittens and fluffy clouds then I have news for you… Old Corpse Road aren’t going to be for you. However, if you enjoy the kind of music that is dark, atmospheric and heavier than a beached whale as well hauntingly good live, then OCR are a must see band at Warhorns. Oh and it’s their second appearance at the festival.

2. Mael Mordha

Gaelic Doom Metal. Not many bands can actually describe themselves as that and make it sound more epic than a drunken night out which led to sword fighting with a Viking, slaying a dragon and bedding the fair maiden but Mael Mordha do which stands as a testament to the strength of Ireland’s growing metal scene.

1. Black Messiah

One of the two headliners of the second night, Black Messiah are the number one band to see at this year’s Warhorns. With snarling guitar passages, grand symphonic elements, intelligently played drums and vocals that pack more punch that a ton of bricks falling right on top of you, Black Messiah are going to raise the bar for Warhorns.

Warhorns Festival will take place from 27th September to 28th September at The Duchess in York and tickets are available from this location.

Lost Effect added to Valk-Fest 2013 line-up

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 17th June 2013 by Nico Davidson

The first in the three announcements this week, York metal act Lost Effect have been confirmed to play the second day of Valk-Fest, who have had the privilege of playing with acts such as With One Last Breath and RSJ, as well as theFALLEN and most recently, Nya. Guitarist Steve comments on the confirmation:

So we’re bringing our unique style of Melodic Metal back to Bridlington! Having worked with Valkyrian Music for a while now we’ve gotta say we’re excited to be added to the 2013 bill alongside some amazing bands! Shades Nightclub know what we’re about and we what we do and we always enjoy giving it what we’ve got there! There’s some great talent on the bill, some familiar faces we’ve gigged with before and some we haven’t, either way we can’t wait to play alongside such a great array of bands representing metal! See you down the front!

The full line-up for Valkyrian Festival, so far, is as follows:

Friday 29th November:

Ravenage (Headliner)
Dead Man’s Conspiracy
Storm of Embers

Saturday 30th November

***Headliner TBA***
Nya
Narcotic Death (Special Guests)
Aonia
Old Corpse Road
Lost Effect
Maelstrom
XIII

Sunday 1st December

***Headliner TBA***
Alice In Thunderland
Innersylum
Severed Heaven
Dakesis
Spekulus
Powercake
Terra Omnia

This year, Valkyrian Festival is in aid of RapeCrisis. Information on RapeCrisis can be found at this location. Donations can be made direct to the charity via the Valkyrian Festival JustGiving page which can be found here. Weekend tickets can be found at this location for the low price of £5 (excluding P&P).

Valkyrian Festival 2013 is now officially sponsored by online gothic and custom-made jewellery store, The Crypt Of Curiosities.

In related Valkyrian Festival news, Aonia will be headlining a Valk-Fest fundraiser at Shades Nightclub, in Bridlington on 7th September with support from Spekulus and Penance, the latter of which [performed at last year’s Valk-Fest. Further support acts to be announced and a lot more bands are still to be announced for Valkyrian Festival 2013. Further Valkyrian Festival announcements and info can be found here.

Lost Effect online:

http://losteffect.co.uk
http://facebook.com/LostEffect

Germanic metallers Fjoergyn confirmed for Warhorns 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 16th June 2013 by Nico Davidson

With a line-up that is already boasting some the UK’s and Europe’s finest underground folk, Viking and black metal acts such Old Corpse Road, Maelstrom, Dothborgia, Kull and many more, the epic Teutonic metal band Fjoergyn have been confirmed for the second edition of the Warhorns Festival that will take place in York on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th September.

Tickets, for this month only, are priced at the same price last year:

£19 – WEEKEND
£6 – FRIDAY DAY TICKET
£15 – SATURDAY DAY TICKET

Further details on the festival can be found at this location.

Fjoergyn online:

http://www.fjoergyn.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fjoergynofficial/

 

Cryptic Age announce new flautist as addition to the line-up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 16th June 2013 by Nico Davidson

York’s premier prog. Celtic metal band Cryptic Age have announced the addition of new flautist and backing vocalist Shendie to their line-up. Cryptic Age are also currently working on their next release – Details to be announced.

Cryptic Age online:

http://crypticage.co.uk
http://facebook.com/crypticage

 

Heidevolk w/Support @ Fibbers, York

Posted in Featured, Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 18th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Heidevolk, Celtachor, Cryptic Age
Fibbers, York
23rd February 2013

Let’s start at the very beginning (as I have heard tales that it is a very good place to start). The venue. The City of York is a fantastic backdrop; its rich heritage makes it an ideal location for a gig of this nature. (Also, the people in York are fantastic. Twice, in York, I have lost my cell phone [Editor’s note: She means mobile phone] – and twice, in York, it has been returned to me.) ‘Niche-y’ evenings such as tonight tend to draw crowds from far afield: during the course of the evening, I met people who travelled from as far away as Whitby, Newcastle and Luton, to name a few. Therefore, the relatively central location of the venue proved ideal. The venue itself is ideal as well – large enough to hold the ample crowd but small enough to still feel intimate, even when standing at the bar. The sound was top-notch – all the instruments evenly balanced and all three (very different) vocalists cut through like a sword through leather. The line-up was an unusual but well-chosen blend – all three bands had similar lyrical themes of mythology and a folk feeling in their music. All three bands were, however, very different in their approaches to this, which was refreshing – the audience was treated to three very different styles so didn’t become too bored of the same genre by the end of the night. So basically, it was folkin’ well organised! (Okay, that’s the last ‘folkin’ pun…for awhile. Editor’s note: Thank the gods for that!)

Local progressive folk metallers Cryptic Age kicked off the evening in a suitably epic fashion, mixing brand-new songs with tracks from their CD and EP. Their (new) opening track Ad Astra et Ultra brings vocalist Jenny Green out of her normally stratospheric heights at times and proves her vocal versatility with warm, mid-range tones. Tracks like this show that she is more than capable of range as well as clarity in her vocal performance. Her trademark high notes are still dominant – sharp as a razor and clear as glass – and she gives an engaging performance as a frontwoman (not as easy job, when behind a keyboard as well)! Green’s keyboard performance is flawless; well-chosen effects created an ethereal feeling and she shifts effortlessly between using the keys atmospherically and as a lead instrument.Hallam Smith’s lead guitar sings beautifully and his expertise with the instrument is clear – Smith’s solos are technical and complex, yet appear effortless as he grins his way through the gig. He trades and harmonises lead parts with Green’s keys as nimbly as a leprechaun sorts through gold. Well-constructed and never ‘over the top’, Smith’s guitar performance definitely stays on the right side of the line between ‘enjoyable and impressive’ and ‘showing off’ – everything is done to suit the music.

Bassist Tom Keeley has an impressive stage presence – at one point, certainly, his windmilling knocks some dust off of the ceiling. Beyond this, though, he is a masterful musician, ably ‘gluing’ together the drums and the lead sections. In a four-piece band, there is sometimes a temptation for a bassist to simplify; however, Keeley’s riffs are complex and are as interesting to listen to as the lead instruments. Drummer Alex Brandsen drums adeptly, acting as the gears that keep the machine moving forward. He drives numerous time and tempo changes smoothly and his solo and fills are engaging. Brandsen is clearly a drummer who is an artist, rather than a machine; his metronome-like precision is carefully balanced with enough artistry and flair to give the set interest and spontaneity. Overall, Cryptic Age’s performance was tight, creative and delivered with just the right mixture of passion and fun. It was also thoroughly enjoyable – an opinion shared by the crowd, many of whom were Irish jigging to No Folkin’ Way, the final, instrumental track of the set. [5/5]

Few bands would dare to create music that oscillates between brutal, eyeball-popping, balls-out growling and soft, melodic, lilting sweetness. Even fewer can make it work. Celtachor does. Frontman – vocalist and whistle player – Stephen Roche pulls off both faces of the two-headed monster that is Celtachor with style… and just a little bit of scary. With a stage presence that makes him seem like a Klingon transported into medieval times, Roche has a fantastic and mesmerising effect on the crowd. An intensity in his facial expression gives a slightly psychotic impression and when he instructs the crowd to clap, headbang, chant, etc. they do so. For me, this was 75% because I was enjoying the music and 25% because I was a little bit afraid that if I didn’t do as he said, he… might eat my skin while I was still wearing it. (Note – we spoke with him briefly after the show and he was very lovely, gracious and non-psychotic – but the stage act is very convincing.)

Roche shifts instantaneously between vitriolic vocals – with a scream that would melt the lead out of pencils – to a soft-spoken, honeyed baritone enrobed in a hypnotising Irish accent. His (and guitarist Fionn Stafford’s) skill with a small whistle adds an artistic touch that helps to set Celtachor apart from other pagan black metal bands and secures them in a class of their own. Guitarists Fionn Stafford and David Quinn show versatility in their double-barrelled performance. Bold, brash riffs that border at times on thrash are expertly executed and are always precise and controlled. Similarly, softer sections are performed artfully and with elegance, with complex intertwining melodies graciously taking a backseat to allow other instruments to come to the forefront. Solos are shredded like silk curtains through a tiger’s claws and the rhythm parts are a cavalry of riffs that gallop on apace and flatten the room. Both musicians have a remarkable stage presence and are engaging to watch as they own the stage.

The guitar melodies are complex and add interest to the pieces, providing the heart of the band. The melodies are reminiscent of old Celtic folk music – without relying too heavily on this style, proving that they are more than a one-trick pony. The complexity of the guitars also firmly plants the band in the black metal genre, as well as proving that if you’ve got two talented guitarists – you don’t need keyboards to put the ‘melody’ in ‘melodic black metal’!  Bassist  Oliver Deegan is the belly of the beast, with growling riffs that add a sense of darkness and danger to the mixture. His hammering riffs and compelling countermelodies surprise and intrigue the audience – and bring him out of the rhythm section – without distracting from the lead instruments. Quigley’s hand moves up and down the neck of his bass like a hummingbird from flower to flower, darting quickly back and forth.  The warm tone of Deegan’s bass contrasts pleasantly against the icier guitar tones, hinting at green fields and Irish sunshine.

Drummer Anaïs Chareyre proves a savvy timekeeper – and if we’re going to labour the metaphor, her drums are the powerful legs of the monster that is Celtachor. Chareyre adroitly swaps between styles several times throughout the gig. She masters off-time sections with a progressive flair; drives the common time portions with machine-gun-like precision and adds in components of tribal drumming that keep reminding the audience of the Celtic roots of the music. The drums in Celtachor’s music do more than simply keep the time – they are an instrument themselves, driving the songs forward but occasionally pausing to have a spotlighted moment themselves.

Altogether, Celtachor is a force to be reckoned with. With a powerful mix of brutal black metal, haunting pagan influences and serene Celtic accents, Celtachor is definitely a band in a class of its own. [4.5/5]

Heidevolk’s first headline show on UK soil had garnered a lot of support and as the crowd anxiously awaited the band’s entrance, the area near to the stage became a crush of black T-shirts, long hair, drinking horns and pagan relics. The anticipation was a palpable bubble being blown, threatening to burst even as a blue balloon was tied to the drumkit. When the band’s suitably atmospheric introductory music began, the stage was awash in moody blues, setting the ambience.  An eerie hush fell over the crowd, exploding into rapturous cheering as the band took the stage.

Vocalists Joris Boghtdrincker and Mark Splintervuyscht burst onstage like fireworks, each working alternate halves of the crowd and engaging the audience in a singalong straightaway. The crowd reacts enthusiastically – more hardcore fans picking up the call even before being asked, joined later by more reluctant fans and others who weren’t familiar with the melody at the start.  Boghtdrincker and Splintervuyscht are fantastic frontmen, expertly coaxing the crowd (who, to be fair, don’t need much encouragement – they’ve been waiting a long time for this) to shout, pump their fists, show the horns – all fairly standard metal gig interactions – and then to bounce. That was more unexpected. Like rabbits on Red Bull, the vocalists led the way, followed by a more than decent proportion of the crowd. Partially due to alcoholic consumption (but mostly due to the zeal of the frontmen), the crowd eagerly participated and became a teeming, roiling mass threatening to boil over. By the third song, a reasonably sized pit had opened up toward the front in the middle. The crowd had this part of the club heaving: it felt as if it were about a hundred degrees despite the freezing outdoor temperatures – and there were approximately five oxygen molecules left. The crowd response generated by Heidevolk – and led by the two frontmen – was in a world of its own.

In addition to being engaging frontmen, Boghtdrincker and Splintervuyscht are talented vocalists. In a pleasing contrast to many metal bands, neither vocalist is a soaring, Bruce Dickinson-like belting countertenor, nor a growling ball of anger. Boghtdrincker  borders on the rare voice type of contrabass, at times touching an E1. (For non-music types, that’s an extremely low note – when it is written in operas, often all other music stops to allow that note to be heard – because, to produce it at all, it tends to be very quiet. It takes a special talent and years of training to sing this low – and to do so and maintain tone is actually harder than singing up high). Splintervuyscht is a higher, more lyric baritone with a voice reminiscent of Galaxy chocolate. (Can we get a sponsor?) He tends to carry the melodies clearly and strongly, while Boghtdrincker stays down in the dungeons, providing a rumbling presence, like a dragon that is starting to awake.  The harmonies created by the dual vocals are interesting and unusual – they haven’t stuck to the easy (or expected) thirds, fifths or octaves. Rather, they’ve chosen intervals which feel tribal – coinciding with their image and the ancient Germanic mythology that inspires their music. At times, their chosen harmonies evoke a semblance of Gregorian chants – and on occasion, the melodies don’t go quite where you might expect them to, adding interest and surprise. Both men are skilled musicians, alternating between shared harmonised vocals and trading countermelodies. This unusual shared frontmanship is one of several elements that sets Heidevolk apart from other metal bands.

Guitarists Reamon Bomenbreker and Kevin Vruchtbaard have a majestic stage presence that is, at times, theatrical without being over-the-top or distracting from the frontmen. Both men are comfortably at ease onstage and their enjoyment of playing comes over to the audience, encouraging the already frenetic moshing, headbanging and fist-pumping that was happening down front.  Lightning-fast rhythm sections are expertly executed and include a complexity that sits the music perhaps across the street and up the road from power metal. Dagger-sharp tremolo picking and cantering rhythms that bolt forward juxtapose with short, melodic runs that keep pushing the songs forward and break up longer riffs. Longer lead sections often include intricate and technical compositions, occasionally twinned and harmonised with more synchronisation than the 2012 Olympic Synchronised Swimming team. Slower solos melt more faces than a homicidal, telekinetic pyromaniac and soar above the rest of the music. Throughout the set, there is a sense that the guitars are creating their own story – separate to but in conjunction with the stories being told by the vocals and the lyrics.

Bassist Rowan Roodbaert could easily get lost between the complexity of the dual vocals and dual guitars. However – he makes sure this doesn’t happen. Roodbaert’s bass does more than keep the root notes – or keep the time. At times it walks up the guitars’ tremolo-picked chords, giving a melodic focal point for the audience – and interest. At other times, it provides a counterpoint, responding to the guitarists’ riffs. Still at other times, Roodbaert’s bass has its own melody – and indeed during several points in the gig, it is clear that the guitars have taken over the rhythm duties and Roodbaert moves to take a leading role. This particularly works with the composition of the band – since the vocals are so low, having the bass as a lead instrument is effective: it is in the same aural range and doesn’t have as much to cut through as it might in a band made up with a different balance. He capably harmonises with the guitars at some points and consistently keeps the songs driving forward. Roodbaert is the quintessential, flexible bassist – able to master all trades. Drummer Joost den Vellenknotscher seems like he must be a fun guy – possibly the joker of the band, simply judging by his facial expressions and antics onstage (e.g. stick spinning – and the inexplicable blue balloon tied to his kit). However, the theatrics don’t detract from his performance, which was impeccable. He manages time changes and extra bars that – well, if the tremolo picked rhythm guitar sections are across the street from power metal, this drumming is sitting on prog’s front porch. Occasional spurts of almost thrash-quick pounding show that Vellenknotscher isn’t above ‘hitting things’ (to quote Terry Pratchett). Meanwhile, his finesse with other, more intricate sections prove his pendulum-like  (the clock part, not the band) sense of timing, which keeps the whole performance on track, on tempo and on time.

Overall, judging by the crowd reaction – and the cries for more encores – Heidevolk was well and truly overdue for a headline slot in the UK. They more than lived up to the hype they generated. Graciously thanking the support bands, organiser, backstage crew and the crowd, they also proved themselves to be gracious and modest. As the lights came back up after their set and dazed metalheads started to find their ways resignedly to the doors, it was clear that tonight the crowd had witnessed something pretty folkin’ special [Ed – NO MORE PUNS! PLEASE!]. [5/5]

Melissa Adams

Photography by James David Brough.

Celtachor sign with Trollzorn Records

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 11th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Irish black metallers, Celtachor, who recently shared the stage with Heidevolk in York, have penned a deal with Trollzorn Records. Formed in 2007, with a finalised line-up in 2010, the Celtic metal band have gone onto share the stage with top folk metal names like Alestorm, Skyforger, Heidevolk and Waylander, amongst others. Blending together influences from black, death and doom metal, as well as traditional Celtic medleys, Celtachor firmly established themselves as one of the top bands in Ireland’s underground metal scene.

Celtachor’s debut album, Nine Waves From The Shore, was released in November 2012 but is now available from Trollzorn’s online shop, at this location. The band’s next release will be out towards the end of 2013 and will be released through Trollzorn Records.

 

Kull confirmed as headliners for first night of Warhorns 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 25th February 2013 by Nico Davidson

Sheffield-based black metal act, Kull, who recently formed from members of Bal-Sagoth and Dyscaphia have been confirmed to headline Friday 27th September at The Warhorns Festival which will take place at The Duchess, York.

Also making their UK debut at Warhorns will be Dothbogria, the Latvian pagan metal act whom are well known for their use of Germanic lyrics.

Warhorns Festival will take place at the Duchess in York on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th September with ticket details to be announced.

 

Random Hand w/Support @ Stereo, York

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , on 26th October 2012 by Nico Davidson

Random Hand, The Talks, Beacon Street
Stereo, York
23rd October

In a dark dark town, with a dark dark street, there was a dark dark club… Where for tonight punk and ska lived!

Yes, punk and ska were the theme of tonight’s gig at the Stereo in York, and the packed back room proved there was a thirst for it; as well as for the cask ales and specialist ciders that were in ready supply. Having missed Lyon Estates (aptly named after the future site in back to the future) due to a mix up of venue, we were eager to discover what was on offer, and we were definitely not disappointed.

Beacon Street, a six piece band from York, played an eclectic mix of punk, folk and rock; which strangely worked! The band themselves joked about how they were impossible to find online, as they shared their name with a No Doubt fan club, a girl’s school and a 1960’s psychedelic rock band – but all of this was in hand due to the building of a new website. Violinist Jo Wherry and acoustic guitarist and vocalist Elliot Partridge played a stunning rendition of their song Moonpie and Pennywhistles, which switched from a mellow acoustic sound, to one very reminiscent of a Flogging Mollyesque vibe including the rest of the band; and the effect, was instant! After playing a select number of songs, which Elliot pronounced as having names that were too long to remember, it was apparent that the crowd were won over. Their unique sound ensures that these are a band to watch out for in future.

Suzyska Photos

Next up were Hull’s very own, The Talks.  Formed in 2006, they’ve had a hard road – Suzyska Photos.travelling the UK and Europe tirelessly, as well as playing Leeds/Reading Festival, and Glastonbury in the not so distant past. They also possess a number of celebrity fans on the circuit; and it is easy to see why as soon as they begin to play.

After borrowing Suzy from ska band Copasetics to play trumpet for them, they launched into a set of bouncing ska beats, and the room descended into a skank fest.  Tracks such as Can’t Stand The Rain and Killer Sinner ensured that the dancing kept coming, and the cheers got louder and louder as the set went on. It’s  really unclear as to why this band aren’t massive on a wider scale – their tight playing style hardened by long touring, flows with apparent ease and each song was brilliant. They rounded off their set with a cover of The Specials’ song Skinhead Moonstomp inviting the crowd to join in; to which they gladly obliged. They left the stage after rapturous applause, leaving a hyped up crowd to meet the arrival of the next act.

Not long after, the boys from Random Hand took to the stage. Formed in Keighley in 2002, the band has embarked on relentless tours of the UK, Europe, Russia, The USA and Canada and they show no signs of slowing down. Following the departure of guitarist and a founding member Matt Crosher in April this year, many wondered if the band would still have the same stage presence as before. Any suggestion they wouldn’t was quickly quashed.

Suzyska Photos.

Launching into a blistering set of hits including Play Some Ska, Bones, Anthropology, Anger Management and many more, it’s very clear that the band still have the magic formula that other bands lack. Throwing in a hefty amount of Yorkshire humour along the way from Robin and Joe, including a request for “one of them circle pits that Kerrang are always on about”, the crowd loved every second, and the room kept moving. Having played Leeds Suzyska Photos.and Reading Festival before, it’s obvious that playing to small intimate crowds is what they relish – and because of this, it’s easy to see why these guys are so popular with a huge mix of followers.  The end of the gig culminated in a miniature crowd surf, where the very sweaty Robin Leitch was held aloft by the crowd for all to see.

So how do I sum up this gig? In this very sweaty dark corner of York, I can confirm that punk and ska are very much alive. Hopefully one day it will make a comeback, with the bands described here leading the way.

Charlotte Taylor

Photos by Suzyska Photos.

Warhorns 2013 confirmed

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 14th October 2012 by Nico Davidson

Following this year’s Warhorns Festival, the organisers at Warhorns are happy to confirm 2013’s instalment of the UK’s best folk, Viking and black metal festival to take place once again at The Duchess in York. Happening over the 27th and 28th, with Yorkshire band’s Northern Oak and Infernal Creation already confirmed alongside Scottish black metal suits, Maelstrom.

The organiser’s have promised the “most epic of headliners” as well so be prepared to raise your flagons of mead for another another epic event. Tickets will be available soon with more bands, including the aforementioned headliners, to be confirmed. For further details, click here.

 

Warhorns: Day Two @ The Duchess, York

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kit Rathenar [Destructive Music]

Interview: Pēteris Kvetkovskis [Skyforger]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 24th September 2012 by Nico Davidson

Valkyrian Music editor Nico has a quick chat with Pēteris Kvetkovskis, frontman for Latvian folk metal heavyweights Skyforger, at Warhorns Festival in York. The two discuss all things Skyforger, as well as Latvian mythology and other things.

Warhorns Festival running order announced

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 10th September 2012 by Nico Davidson

Warhorns, the label and booking agency behind the Warhorns Festival, have just announced the running order of the aforementioned event, which will take place at the Duchess in York on 21st and 22nd September. The running order can be viewed below. Unfortunately, Welsh folk metallers Annwn (Free pint to the first person who can tell us who you pronounce that!)* have had to drop out of the event due to line-up issues.

Friday 21st September:

Nothgard 22:15 – 23:00
Old Corpse Road 21:30 – 22:00
Windrider 20:45 – 21:15
Cryptic Age 20:05 – 20:35
Norderobring19:30 – 19:50

Saturday 22nd September:

Skyforger 21:20 – 22:45
Wolfchant 19:50 – 20:50
Angeli Di Pietra 18:40 – 19:25
Ravenage 17:50 – 18:20
Celtachor 17:00 – 17:30
Shallow Intentions16:15 – 16:40
Morlich 15:30 – 15:55
Aloeswood/Desiderium 14:30– 15:10

New addition for Warhorns line-up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 11th July 2012 by Nico Davidson

Epic Scottish folk metal new comers Norderobring have just been confirmed to play the first ever Warhorns Festival in York in September.

The line-up already boasts acts such as Skyforger, Nothgard and Wolfchant. The event will take place at The Duchess in York on 21st and 22nd September.

In related news, Norderobring are also working on their debut EP.

To purchase tickets for Warhorns, click here.

Skyforger Set To Raise The Warhorns

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 10th April 2012 by Nico Davidson

Just a few hours ago, Warhorns announced that Metal Blade Records’ Latvian folk metal heavyweights Skyforger will be playing the first ever Warhorns Festival in September, later this year.

They will be joining the likes of Wolfchant, Nothgard, Ravenage, Cryptic Age, Annwn and many more for the two day festival that will take place at The Duchess in York on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd September.

Tickets for the event are available here.

Yashin w/Support @ Fibbers, York

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

Bands: Yashin, Jody Has A Hitlist, With One Last Breath, Tantrum To Blind
Location: Fibbers, York
Date: 14th March 2012

In all honesty, I wasn’t even planning on going to this but I ended up with a free ticket last minute and it was better than letting go to waste. There were only two bands on the line-up I knew of; Jody Has A Hitlist and Yashin. The former I’ve seen before and the latter I know through reputation for their live shows. The opening band of the night were a Swedish rock act called Tantrum To Blind, who put on an energetic performance. They opened up their set with Get Get Get, a very pop punk meets alt. rock sounding track. The set moved on into more alt. rock sounding songs such as Rise & Fall and If We Let It Go. The frontwoman certainly knew how to whip a crowd into a frenzy, leading for a good response from the crowd which is always nice to see. I believe it’s safe to say that they made some new fans that night, me being one of them.

Second band on the bill were York’s very own With One Last Breath, who despite being very post-hardcore sounding, had a slight death metal sound in the vocals. They were quite bass heavy during in their set, to a point, in parts, where only the bass could be heard. Aside from that one issue, their riffs sounded raw, heavy and destructive, as did the drum work. Drunken and Hell We Create were to be the highlights of their set. The main support of the night came form Dublin-based Jody Has A Hitlist, who I was loathing to see as the last time I saw them, watching paint dry seemed like a more exciting option. The band came onto the Gladiator medley, which oddly, made the crowd somewhat excited. Musically, their songs weren’t as bad as when I last saw them and they had sounded like they had improved a bit, though the actual live performance was still pretty poor. The vocals were pretty much spot on and the riffs worked quite well, though I do wonder why they were the main support as they still aren’t overly impressive.

Finally, Glaswegian post-hardcore sextet took the stage, gaining the largest crowd response of the night. Though before that, the crowd chanted “Yashin” in unison for several minutes. Everything, from the guitars to the bass to the drums, was heard clearly and the band’s use of clean vocals and screams was beyond impressive. The riffs, though being brutal and heavy, also had a technical flair to them which was interesting to hear. The actual performance itself was beyond charismatic and energetic, I’m amazed the vocalists were out of breath due to all the bouncing around and crowd surfing they did. Runaway Train was one of the more tech metal sounding sounds of the night while The Last One Standing was a more violent sounding mosh along anthem. Yashin finished their set with the aforementioned song but performed an encore in the form of the heartfelt track Stand Up.

Yashin have quite the hype surrounding them when it comes to their live performances and it’s easy to see why. Out of all the bands I’ve seen over the years, Yashin definitely come into my top three for best live acts. They’re also one of the few bands that puts so much effort into their live performance, as well as their music. The support acts, Tantrum To Blind and With One Last Breath were pretty cool, though the night would have been more enjoyable if Jody Has A Hitlist wasn’t main support.

Nico Davidson