Archive for Yorkshire Metal

XIII unveil artwork for Deeds Of The Saints: Chapters I – V

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 1st September 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Today Hull thrashers XIII (That’s 13 for those not familiar with Roman numerals) have unveiled the artwork (see above) for their upcoming EP Deeds Of The Saints: Chapters I – V. The EP was recorded at Fruit Trade Studios in Hull and is scheduled for potential release in November. Deeds Of The Saints: Cpaters I – V track list is follows:

1 – We Are Everywhere
2 – Narcotics
3 – Acta Sanctorum
4 – Deliverance
5 – Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted

XIII online:

http://facebook.com/xiiirocks

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Paradise Lost celebrate 25th anniversary with special guests Lacuna Coil

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 21st May 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Thirteen albums into Paradise Lost‘s 25 year career, namedropping is pointless. The only band they can and should be held up against for comparison and consideration is… Well… Paradise Lost.

With a career dating back to 1988, and their official recording debut in 1990 (Lost Paradise), the band has been riding and rollercoaster of highs and lows. Guitarist Aaron Aedy remembers the early days:

I remember our first rehearsal at Studio X in the Dean Clough complex of Halifax, it was Saturday March 26th between the hours of one and four pm. We had a few ideas flying around and managed to write our first opus ‘Blood-filled-eyes’ and start our 2nd ‘Plains of Desolation’, I can only describe these songs as unique.

Afterwards we all went to the pub after to celebrate. Three and a half months later we were playing live, supporting Acid Reign and Re-Animator at the legendary Frog and Toad Night Club in Bradford. We had a 30 minute slot and only 15 minutes of music so we played one song twice, attempted a Sodom cover we hadn’t even learned and Nick [Holmes, vocals] did his stand up for the rest of it.

Throughout their career, Paradise Lost have not only created and defined genres and styles, but almost immediately transcended them. From the crawling, harrowing doom of their 1990 debut Lost Paradise, to the electronic flourishes prevalent in 1997’s One Second, 1999’s Host and 2007’s comeback to the heavier side of metal In Requiem and the latest opus Tragic Idol in 2012, their sound has continued to evolve vastly, but haunting melody and dark rock power has remained at the very core of their identity.

In 1991 the band released Gothic, not so much an album title as the definition for an entire genre, while the influence 1995’s huge-selling masterpiece Draconian Times – the missing link between Metallica and the Sisters of Mercy – echoes loudly in today’s scene, with the likes of Cradle of Filth, Nightwish and HIM owing a huge debt to their knack for injecting heavy rock with their trademark dark sheen.

Now it’s time to celebrate 25 years of glamour and gloom with four anniversary shows in October to which the band have invited their friends Lacuna Coil. Another, very special guest, will be announced shortly for those dates.

Paradise Lost anniversary shows:

Oct 30th – Wolverhampton – Wulfrun Hall (www.wolvescivic.co.uk)
Oct 31st – Glasgow – ABC (www.ticketweb.co.uk)
Nov 1st – Manchester – Ritz (www.kililive.com)
Nov 3rd – London – Roundhouse (www.kililive.com)

Tickets go on pre-sale Wednesday 22nd May and general sale Friday 24th May and a special VIP package is available to buy (limited to 25 per venue) which includes:

  • An exclusive deluxe box containing 2 engraved beer glasses featuring all the bands album titles and crown of thorns logo.
  • Exclusive VIP Only T-Shirt with artwork from the forthcoming Tragic Illusion album.
  • A 180 gram vinyl copy of the reissued landmark Gothic, personally signed by all the band members.
  • Crown of Thorns Tote Bag
  • VIP lanyard and laminate allowing you access to the show
  • Early access to the show
  • Meet and greet with the band
  • Photo opportunity with the band (please bring your own camera)

Nick had this to say about the forthcoming anniversary shows:

25 years IS a long time, on the surface we may look ramshackled, but playing music for so many years has kept us young in our hearts and I truly believe that a youthful spirit is one of the greatest things you can’t buy in a pub.

We have written many albums, played many concerts; we are older and not really any wiser, but there is a strong possibility we may play a song you thought we never would. So please come along and join the celebrations with us, including our biggest UK headline show to date!

Lacuna Coil’s frontwoman Cristina adds:

Paradise Lost were in between the bands that strongly influenced me as a singer, when I started my career with Lacuna Coil, so it is just awesome for me to realise we’ll share the stage with them on this upcoming tour.

I am sure that the dark vibe coming from the stage will totally embrace old school and new fans making it an event you absolutely CAN’T miss! Boy, I can’t wait!

Stay tuned for more exciting anniversary announcements including a special audio surprise for fans!

Paradise Lost online:

http://www.paradiselost.co.uk
http://facebook.com/paradiselostofficial

Lacuna Coil online:

http://www.lacunacoil.it
http://www.twitter.com/lacuna_coil
http://www.myspace.com/lacunacoil
http://www.youtube.com/lacunacoil
http://www.facebook.com/lacunacoil

Interview with Alex Cook [Narcotic Death]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 29th January 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

 

Narcotic Death have left a trail of horror and destruction in the five years they’ve been on the UK’s extreme metal scene and at one point, even boasted My Dying Bride’s violinist/keyboardist Shaun MacGowan amongst their ranks. With their new album, Dies Irae, currently in the works, Narcotic Death‘s vocalist Alex Cook sits down with Valkyrian Music’s editor, Nico, to reveal the grizzly details about the new album and what devious plans the band have in store for the masses.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name, Narcotic Death?

Alex: The band name is open to interpretation. For me, it illustrates the soothing capacity of euthanasia and a slow, sleeping death through the injecting of narcotic substances. A seduction of the living senses to dying. Death is something that we all fear in mortal capacity, and perhaps it is wrong to do so, because it is through that fear that we hold on too long and subject our bodies and minds to degradation. If we were more accepting, the journey would be easier; life would be more fulfilling, and grieving less painful.

Nico: You’ve been working on the new album, Dies Irae, what are the prominent themes of the album?

Alex: Warped religious ideals, debauchery, cynicism and punishment. Some of the songs on the album are re-workings of religious tales. Rain is about a deluge from Heaven that drowns humankind. The Accuser is about Christ and the Devil discussing how the religious experiment has failed because even Christ himself cannot endure the torments he inflicts on human kind and The Butcher and the Scribe details a plague upon mankind sent by Heaven’s destroying angels. The other tracks, such a Gorgon and Throne of Stars use humanity’s ignorance and worthlessness as themes.

Nico: Dies Irae is Latin for “Day of Wrath”. Why did you choose this to be the title of the album?

Alex: To incorporate the religious themes and also to highlight how humanity has failed itself and awaits some form of punishment. Religion is an excuse, and our ignorance is too for turning a blind eye and idealising our stained living conditions. The title track Dies Irae embodies these themes most obviously by approaching the matter of child abuse within the church and the casual indifference of the masses because of the power religion still possesses. ‘Intelligence insists the absence of religion, the wholesomeness of our existence, chained to our decay. A man that cannot control himself is no longer free. They know this. They have always known.’ Overall, the title is an embodiment of the main notion within the album; that one day soon, our evils will come back to haunt us, and when it does, we will blame others, but it is ourselves who are guilty.

Nico: What song do you feel will be the strongest track on the album?

Alex: My personal favourite is Cainite because it is laden with doom and suffocating misery. You lose yourself in those sweeping riffs, and the lyrics are chant-like in places to illustrate the character’s despair. It tells a biblical story from another point of view, and this is something I greatly enjoyed doing with most of the tracks on the album. You are taught them one way, but when you look more deeply, there is only darkness and a sordid idealism. The Butcher and the Scribe is probably the strongest track, because of its subject matter and crushing, aggressive guitar riffs and drum patterns. Every member shines on that track, but the others all have distinct qualities of their own whether it be an impending sense of doom, visceral terror or disgust and fury.

Nico: Narcotic Death have played a fair share of gigs and obviously with a number of different bands, which bands have you enjoyed gigging with the most?

Alex: Our gigging history is quite a lengthy one, but I think Severed Heaven are a band that we have known and admired for a very long time; we played our second ever gig with them, and our most recent one, so they are a band that we have grown with. They’re a delightful group of ladies, and it is difficult not to be taken in by them and their unique ‘chug’.

Nico: How will Dies Irae differ from previous Narcotic Death releases?

Alex: I think that the new album will show a degree of maturity both with regards to technique and song writing. Our intention is a lot clearer here than it was with the other releases, and I think that makes for a stronger, more memorable impression. The other releases, our EP for instance was honest, but had a lot of different styles on it; there wasn’t a sound distinctly ours, and the first album was more or less the same due to line-up changes. It has taken five years to develop a sound that is true and recognisable as ours, and that has as much to do with people that have left the line-up as the ones that are still here. Everybody left a scar somewhere.

Nico: How has the experience of recording Dies Irae gone so far?

Alex: Very well. Going in the studio is always a daunting time for any musician, but I am proud of what has been accomplished so far. As of this time, I have yet to go and record my voKILLS, but I have been redrafting my lyrics and planning out the different sections so the sound will be visceral and terrifying with a multitude of layers. Appropriate for such layered and traumatic subject matter. I want the music to be felt as well as heard.

Nico: As it’s still early in the year, what lies in store for Narcotic Death throughout 2013?

Alex: More acquaintances to be made, more countries to be seen and more people to be terrified into submission. First and foremost, is to get the album released so we have something to show for ourselves at any future gigs. We are also hoping to shoot a music video for one of the tracks; a Narcotic Death first that will undoubtedly be a great experience, as well as something to show off and express our madness through.

Nico: If you could take any poem or other piece of literature and turn into a piece of music, which one would it be and why?

Alex: Paradise Lost by [John] Milton would be an excellent choice, just for how the tale twists and turns from awe of heaven, to grief and anger at being cast out, as well as wonder and bereavement at walking on earth. It is hopelessly romantic, melancholic and sincere. Imagine soundscapes, maybe with just a few whispered phrases. For a work like that with such power, words are not needed to express what it is trying to say.

Nico: Describe Narcotic Death‘s sound in five or less words.

Alex: Traumatic visceral Swedish-esque near-death experience.

Nico: If you replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Alex: Perhaps one of the Universal classics, such as Dracula or Frankenstein. That era of film was a realm unto itself, and our music would add to their sinister edge, or be complemented by the strange, but beautiful images on screen. 

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

Alex: Severed Heaven for glorious chugging riffs and painful vocals. Ebony Lake for a surreal, tormenting sound stupor. Nightshadows Lament for classic, doom soaked black metal.

Nico: Do you have anything to say our readers?

Alex: Thank you very much for reading and expressing an interest in our sinister cynicism. I hope that the misery we breed will live on in you, and in turn, infect others. I hope too, that I will be able to meet you at one of our gigs, and that you will be heartily traumatised by all we have to offer.

You can follow Narcotic Death at the following locations:

https://www.facebook.com/narcoticdeath
http://www.myspace.com/narcoticdeath616

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

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

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

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

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

Windrider – The Hall Of The Slain

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

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

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

Nico Davidson

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

Morpheus Rising w/Support [Live Review]

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 10th October 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Bands: Morpheus Rising, Lost Effect & Cryptic Age
Location: The Duchess, York
Date: 8th October 2011

Morpheus Rising have established a strong fan base with their NWOBHM styling, so with them on the bill, any show is guaranteed to be a good night. The only thing to make it better would be to add fellow York-based bands to the bill in the form of Lost Effect [This was their first gig with their new vocalist] and Cryptic Age.

The night began with the female-fronted folk metal quartet, Cryptic Age, opening up. The crowd was small to begin with though that didn’t stop the band from being in their element up on stage. Cryptic Age’s sound sounded massive as it echoed throughout the venue, as they performed songs such as “No Folkin’ Way” and “On The Bare, Cold Ground”, both of which are from their EP “Homeland”. The bassist’s spoken part in “The Aftermath” created a very epic atmosphere. They also performed for the first time ever “Eternity Beckons”, part two of “Sounds Of Infinity”, which will be featured on their album [Sounds Of Infinity]. The song had a short yet majestic, symphonic sound before turning into a heavy assault of metal – Probably the heaviest song Cryptic Age have ever written and performed. They received a brilliant reaction from the crowd after each song.


Lost Effect were the main support for the night and as mentioned above, this was their first gig with their new vocalist, Emily. Lost Effect’s set was a brilliant mix of mellow and brutal music, sort of like a less symphonic, more Yorkshire styled version of Epica. The new vocalist, with all due respect to her predecessor, seemed to gel with the band superbly – Stronger vocals and great stage presence, though she did seem nervous throughout parts of Lost effect’s set, though this didn’t affect the overall performance. “Whispers” was certainly a highlight of the set.



Morpheus Rising took to the stage shortly after putting on an immense show in true NWOBHM fashion. The vocals of the frontman were nothing short of amazing while the twin guitar work kept the crowd on wanting more from the band. they had a very 80s kind of sound with a modern twist mixed in there as well. “The Gypsy King” – Which caused a slight wave of giggles from some of the audience when it was announced – and “Shades Of Grey” were definitely crowd favourites performed by Morpheus Rising. The only thing that was off-putting about their set was the lack of a crowd, which was both shocking and concerning considering the sheer brilliance of the band.



The overall verdict: Definitely a gig that could easily secure a spot in the top ten gigs of 2011. Both support acts [Cryptic Age & Lost Effect] put on simply amazing performances and there was no better choice for a headlining act than Morpheus Rising. Any promoter with half a brain cell would want to book a show of this calibre for sometime in the future.

Nico Davidson

Photos of the gig are available on the Valkyrian Music Facebook page.

Severed Heaven – Incessant Darkness [2010]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 6th October 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Severed Heaven
Album: Incessant Darkness
Release year: 2010
Genre: Extreme Metal/Yorkshire Metal

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Metal has always been a male-dominated scene, especially within the extreme metal scenes, though that hasn’t stopped the all-female brutalising force known as “Severed Heaven” from dominating the metal scene in their native Leeds and West Yorkshire. Severed Heaven have established a solid fan base and made a big name for themselves in the North of England.

The album starts with the intro track “The Fading Light”, composed of a majestic yet angry guitar medley. The album properly starts with the introduction of “Soul Desecration”, which has a very early Gorgoroth-like sound to it terms of the vocals. The slow use of drum and guitars at the beginning adds emphasis on the vocal work, giving them an extra bite. As the tempo of the instruments increases, the song becomes ever so much more violent sounding. The guitars are certainly impressive due to their crunchy and chugging sound, virtually multiplying the heaviness of the song. There are some slower moments in the second half of the track, which like the introduction, reinforce the vocals with an extra dose of aggression.

“Alone I Perish” blasts its way next, with a fast-paced tempo and a violent riff. The vocals are raw and harsh, adding that obscenely aggressive touch to the music. The track is basically as brutal and devastating as a collision between a monster truck and a bus. The slower sections flow nicely with the music. The introduction of “Autumn” packs a sluggish punch, heavy yet slow. The vocals stand out the most during in this song. The guitars help to keep the bloodthirsty edge of the song going from beginning to end, though the drums seem to be more enjoyable to hear.

“Desolation” brings about an old school death-meets-black metal kind of sound with a slight modern influence. Musically, it is fierce and unrelenting, like cornered wolf fighting to survive. Vocally, it could easily be mistaken for a song by Astarte. This is definitely one of the superior tracks on the album, virtually a masterpiece, due its brutalising sound and passionate composition. “Edge Of Despair” has a very melancholy sound and feel to it throughout the intro section. The melancholy sound seems to the calm before the storm as the song takes a sudden and sinister twist into something far heavier, aggressive and barbaric whilst showing signs of intelligent composition and soulful talent. The vocals sound like the hateful growls and screams of a demonic legion – Making this song that more sinister.

”Seal The Cavity” seems to lack in the heavy department, compared to the previous tracks, leaving the vocals feeling too powerful in sections. “Fallen Flesh of Worthlessness” starts with a riff too mellow for an album that has so far brought the thunder. Fortunately, the mellowness is stopped dead in its track and completely sodomised by the unexpected occurrence of a bloodthirsty guitar riff, mixed with the heavy drum work and very Hellish vocals. The bass lines are simply amazing throughout out the song, certainly adding some major low-end thunder to the guitar work.

Nearing the end comes “Traumatic Period”. The introduction is heavy, brutal and raw yet feels like its missing something. The feeling carries on throughout most of the track. Some of the guitar work during in the second half is interesting, to say the least. The album finishes with “Earth Decayed”. The intro is very old school black metal sounding in its style and the bass adds a unique sound to it as well. The riffs are well composed, bringing a certain fire to the track whilst the drums keep that ravenous, aggressive sound flowing. The vocals are impressive as well, switching brilliantly between screams and growls.

”Incessant Darkness”, put simply, is pure ingenious extreme metal in its prime – And the fact it’s an album by five lovely ladies in just a bonus. For the most part, the album excites the listener’s ears like drugs excites an addict. It’s hard to believe, after hearing this album [Incessant Darkness], that Severed Heaven aren’t being the main support for bands like Dimmu Borgir or Gorgoroth. Incessant Darkness is certainly a great addition to the extreme metal fan’s collection.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Aloeswood – Forsaken Landscapes [2011]

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

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

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

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

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

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

4/5

Nico Davidson

Forsaken Landscapes is available for free download here.