Archive for Yorkshire Metal

Rock The Ringside [Live Review]

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 30th September 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Bands: XIII, Pastel Jack, Self Inflicted Revolution, Sunbeam Lipstick
Venue: The Ringside, Hull, East Yorkshire.
Date: 28th September

Rock The Ringside, organised by Hull based metal webzine Denim & Leather, certainly seemed to be the place to be on a warm Wednesday evening featuring four bands from Hull and the surrounding area. The first band to take to the stage were none other than Self Inflicted Revolution, a five piece metal outfit from Hull. They started the set with an original song called “All My Crimes”, which seemed like it could have been heavier than what it was. The band did an amazing rendition of “Hurt” (Orignally by Nine Inch Nails) and a good cover of “Cocaine” (Originally by Eric Clapton”). One thing that certainly stuck out about this band was the James Hetfield-sounding vocals and tight, heavy riffs.

Self Inflicted Revolution – All My Crimes

The second band of the night were Driffield-based trio Sunbeam Lipstick, who were an interesting bunch to say the least and despite their not-so-rock sounding name, some of their set was raw and aggressive. The drummer partook in the vocal work in some of the songs which was unusual to hear, to say the least and did seem to take something away from the drums. In other songs, the guitarist did the vocal work, though his vocals did seem to be more like a drone compared to that of the drummer’s. The bassist certainly kept a nice flow to the music either way though.

The main support of the night came in the home of local Yorkshire-styled thrash metal outfit Pastel Jack. They began their set in true metal style, with the vocalist moving into the crowd and encouraging them to come forward. Part of their set included songs such as “Part 2” and “Methematic”. Pastel Jack certainly added an energetic vibe to the event.


XIII were the headliners for “Rock The Ringside” and for good reason as well. They put on a hell of a show, pulling no punches with their set, though the frontman did prattle on a bit in between some of the songs. XIII played a fair few tracks from their upcoming album “North Of Nowhere”. “Rock The Ringside” was certainly a enjoyable night for the most part and those that attended seemed entertained enough.


Nico Davidson

Photos of the event can be found here.

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Pastel Jack – Trojan Horse [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 9th August 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Pastel Jack
Album: Trojan horse
Release year: 2011
Genre: Yorkshire Metal

Pastel Jack, since forming, have been tearing up their local music scene with their blend of aggressive music and catchy hooks. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Sworn Amongst and XIII. Their newest release is “Trojan Horse”.

The thrash sounding riffs of the title track “Trojan Horse” comes first. At first, the drums don’t seem to mix well with the guitars. The vocals are powerful, full of strength and melody, contrasting well with the aggression of the guitars. As the track progresses on the drums improve vastly, adding to the fire of the music. The guitar solo has a slightly Iron Maiden meets Dream Theatre sound to it – A strange yet awesome sound for a solo. “Cold Light Of Day” comes next, with an angry introduction. The vocals come in with strength and force again. The drums are well played, perhaps being the highlight of the song.

”The Gentle Art Of Combustion” has a more approach in its introduction before it turns slightly more brutal. The vocals are soft yet powerful at the same time. The soft section, about half way through, that places a lot of emphasis on the bass is just spectacular. Though this track is slower paced, it still provides a health dose of vitamin metal. “The Sacred Self” begins with an immense drum sections. The guitar riffs that follow have a slight Trivium sound to them, the vocals however are far from Trivium-sounding. The drums play some good parts as well. The guitar solo is melodic and technical, adding to the unique sound of the song. “Condemned From The Start” starts with a great vocal-guitars-drums combo introduction. The use of double bass pedal through out the song is genius and the riffs, though seeming simplistic, are great, keeping that angry thrash metal feel to the album. The vocals are forceful and unyielding.

”Day Like You” has a very laid-back intro compared to the previous tracks though this changes when the tempo increases. The riffs and drum work are solid, tight and efficient. The vocals steadfast and somewhat zealous sounding, whilst being raw at the same time. The bass work makes the solo sound even more amazing. “Part One (The Ghost Within)” is very different sounding to the tracks due to its emphasis on slow, soft riffs and soothing vocals. While it takes some adjusting to get used to the calmness after several tracks of face melting aggression, the track shows the great talent of Pastel Jack as well as their musical diversity. “Part Two (Your Sick Machine)” blasts its way next a thunderous strike on the listener, something that those who love untamed, bone smashing brutality will enjoy. The vocals sound very heroic and epic in parts and the music is simply greatly composed and played.

”Flatline” is another forceful track, with almost black metal sounding riffs and drum work. The vocals are quite calm in comparison to the riffs and drum sections, which is a very intriguing sound for the song. “Methematic” has a very stimulating introduction, with most of the emphasis being on the drums before the guitars begin doing more work. The vocals are rather stalwart whilst the guitars and drums are wrathful and vehement sounding. Nearing the end of the album is “Synergy”. The riffs are very rage-fuelled and the vocals are quite hypnotic and malevolent. The bass work is brilliant and adds a little extra flare to the song.

”Swan Dive” begins with a soulful acoustic introduction with some gentle vocals. Even the drums are calm and mellow. The track builds up straight to the heavy section, which is when it becomes beefy and immense. The vocals stay slightly gentle though much stronger and powerful than at the beginning of the track. The album finishes with the bonus track “Down To A Sunless Sea”. The guitars seem very progressive yet thrash orientated in their playing and the vocals seem different as well. The drums are superbly played, as is the bass. The guitars are composed well, adding a very metal edge to the song.

From beginning to end, the album contains Yorkshire-styled thrash metal goodness – Recommended by any good doctor to be apart of your daily diet of metal. Pastel Jack show some amazing talent on this album and it’s clearly just a taster of what is to come from these Yorkshire musicians. This is an album worth getting, even if you are only a casual listener to metal.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Pastel Jack are one of thirteen bands playing at this year’s Valkyrian Festival.

Obsolete Tomorrow – Beauty Through Chaos [2010]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 31st July 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Obsolete Tomorrow
Album: Beauty Through Chaos
Release year: 2010
Genre: Progressive Death Metal/Yorkshire Metal

Obsolete Tomorrow is the solo project of Driffield based guitarist and producer Lee Rule [Ravenage, Windrider, ex-Divine Sinn]. The debut EP “Beauty Through Chaos” [A concept EP revolving around Rule’s life] was released through Rule’s label Xeroxed Records.

The generically named “Prelude” is the first track of the album. Even on a low volume the sheer aggression of the guitars and drums bursts through the speakers. “Battle Ready” comes shredding its way next with a violent combination of raw growls, guitars and drums. The guitars are acute in their composition and playing whilst the drums are masterfully played. The vocals are extremely impressive, almost demonic – Even the whispered growls are a great addition to the track and the EP. The guitar solo is brilliant, very melodic – Mixing well with the aggressive rhythm. Two songs in and the EP is already at a savagely awesome beginning.

The hard-bitten intro of “The Eternal Nightmare” blasts its way next with a ruthless combo of guitars and drums. The synths are a great part of the track, adding a calmness to the hurricane-like force of pure brutality. The drum work is precise but savagely brutal and the vocals are feral and beasty. The double bass pedal barrages are an ingenious addition to the track as well. “Let Chaos Rise” starts with a less rage-fuelled riff, being more akin to progressive metal than death metal, as can be heard in other sections of the track. The guitars and drums certainly show a progressive influence though the vocals keep the angst and aggression. The synths are amazing. There are some death metal elements in the guitars and drums – Good news for those whom aren’t a fan of progressive metal. The highlight of the song would definitely have to be the guitar solo.

”My Asylum” is one of the more lighter songs on the EP, featuring a masterful use of melodic guitar riffs. The track could be easily described as the calm before the storm, which is most true considering the bloodthirsty assault of metal that follows in the form of “The New Beginning” which mixes the aggression and heaviness of death metal with the interesting influences of progressive metal. The drum work is entertaining in its style and playing, blending well with the guitars and vocals. The vocals certainly add the brutal element to the song. The different tempos throughout the track add a new dynamic to the entire EP as well as the track.

”The Rise Of Beauty” is another softer song on the EP, being akin to a mixture of progressive and melodic metal. Surprisingly, there’s a use of female vocals that create the good ol’ “beauty and the beast” effect with the harsh growls. The riffs are very melodic and heavy in some sections. The choir voices from the synths add a very mystical and epic atmosphere to the track. The rough, aggression guitar work contrasts well with the soft, melodic riffs and the female vocals are just enchanting. The EP finishes with “The War Is Over”, another soft, progressive styled track that is the perfect end to a brilliant EP.

Both composition-wise and production-wise, Beauty Through Chaos is a masterpiece. If you didn’t know it was the debut release of Obsolete Tomorrow, you’d most certainly think it was a later release in Obsolete Tomorrow’s discography. Progressive death metal has never been so brilliantly composed! It’s probably the best release in the British metal scene.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Cryptic Age w/Support @ Stereo [Live Review]

Posted in Live, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 16th July 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Bands: Cryptic Age, Lost Effect, Windrider
Location: Stereo, York
Date: 15th July 2011

The night was certainly a most anticipated event as it was Cryptic Age’s first gig as the headlining band. Originally four bands were booked for the night but one of them had dropped out. The doors were due to open at 7:30pm though didn’t open until nearer 8pm – Though this didn’t deter those who had already arrived for a night of metal.

Critically acclaimed folk metal quartet Windrider were the first to perform. Their usual guitarist, Lee, was absent due to injury so Windrider’s bassist Hallam filled in on guitar whilst Cryptic Age’s bassist Tom filled in as bassist for the night. At the beginning of Windrider’s set, the crowd was somewhat small though they soon filled in after the first song “In The Hall Of The Slain”. Despite playing a small stage, the band were extremely active receiving a great reaction from the crowd, especially with the performances of “A Warrior’s Tale” [The title track of the recent Windrider EP of the same name] and “Slaughter From The Shadows”. It was certainly an impressive performance.

The second band of the night were Lost Effect who describe themselves as “melodic metal”. Their set was certainly most interesting as they mixed brutalising riffs with melodic sections topped off with the clean, operatic-like vocals of the front woman and violent grunts and growls of their keyboardist. Lost Effect had a superb stage presence and clearly wowed the crowd with songs such as “Whispers” and “We Are The Damned”. The only down side to their set was that it didn’t seem long enough.

The headliners, as stated above, were York based power-folk quartet Cryptic Age. Their set began with a metal version of the theme song from “Game Of Thrones”. The vocals were strong, as is to be expected. Cryptic Age interacted brilliantly with the audience in between songs. Some of the highlights of their set include “Homeland”, “Paragons Of War”  and “On The Cold Bare Ground” [all of which can be heard on Cryptic Age’s debut EP “Homeland”]. Their performance of “Bring Down The Sky” was mystifying, almost haunting. Cryptic Age also played some new songs including “Aftermath” and “Maelstrom”. “Aftermath” sounded like a combination of Iron Maiden and Ensiferum due to the very melodic guitar riffs while “Maelstrom” had a very tribal sounding chorus, especially when the crowd sang along.

All in all, the night was certainly an energetic, metal fuelled night with immense performances from three bands. Keep an eye out for these bands as they could soon be on Scuzz or playing at Bloodstock.

Nico Davidson

Interview: Lee Rule [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 5th July 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

We sit down and speak with the “Lord of Brutality” Lee Rule about his up and coming “release “Alive” and other projects.

Nico: Hello. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today.

Lee: It’s fine, man. Anytime, anytime. It’s all good.

N: It was recently announced that you’re bringing out a new release “Alive” under your name rather than the Obsolete Tomorrow name. Is there any reason for this?

L: I was thinking at first of having it under the Obsolete moniker but I think it would be best on a different name because I think that Obsolete Tomorrow should be kept quite heavy. I think if I had brought out a softer album under that name it would have, maybe, confused a lot of people and might have put a lot of people of the next album which is out soon. So yeah, I decided it would be best under a separate name just to keep the two genres separate. That’s the main reason for it anyway.

N: Is there any lyrical concept behind “Alive” or is it like each track has a different concept [both lyrically and musically]?

L: There’s actually not a lot of lyrics at all on the album to be fair. It’s more of an instrumental album. I think there’s maybe one song that has some lyrics but there’s not really a great deal, to be quite honest with ya. The album is just very chilled, atmospheric sort of album. It’s not heavy or anything. It’s quite progressive and I’m experimenting quite a lot more with different instrumentation as well. So it’s not based all around one instrument. There’s a lot of orchestration and a lot of drums and percussion and not really a great deal of electronic instruments. There’s quite a lot of flutes as well which is quite weird for me.

N: [laughter] Nothing wrong with the flutes. What would you say was the main inspiration for this new release [Alive] then?

L: I’ve always been interested in writing something a bit more relaxed but I could never really get into that frame of mind until last week when I was in America. I was sat in the airport and I was quite surprisingly calm during that situation which was quite strange. Just seeing loads of people rushing around, stressing over which flight they’re trying to get. It was just weird to see, there was me just on my own, chilled out and everyone else is going mental. Then I thought, well people need to chill out a bit, so maybe I should write some chilled out music to try help them chill.

N: Has this been a different sort of experience for you compared to what you previously did with the “Beauty Through Chaos” album for Obsolete Tomorrow?

L: Yeah, it’s been a completely different experience really. Obsolete Tomorrow [Beauty Through Chaos], I wrote that very quickly. I’m surprised at how fast I wrote, it was a quite fast paced writing style – I probably wrote a song once a day kind of thing and got it finished within maybe a month. This one is a much more relaxed approach. The song structures aren’t very consistent. It’s very progressive, there’s not really an intro, verse, chorus, it’s more like one big instrumental along with different sections of stuff. Like I was saying, there’s a lot of atmospherics on it and once I get that down as a bass line, it chills me out as well ‘cause I can sit back and experience that as I’m writing the next part like a flute bit or something.

N: You have another album in the works, a more Zombie Metal orientated album based on the concept of a zombie apocalypse. Is there any reason for this? And will it be like a musical?

L: I wouldn’t say it’s a musical at all, it’s more like a film without the picture really. Just a big epic soundtrack to it – Every other song is like a skit with the voice actors doing their part. After that sort of scene or skit, there’ll be a song that will cover that skit. It’s just so over the top, it’s unreal. In the skits, we got stuff like chainsaws going off and people going crazy.

N: Sounds like it’s going to be a very interesting album.

L: I hope it will be.

N: You’re working on a lot of different albums [such as The Burden of Forever and Theatre Of The Damned] and you recently helped to produce the recent EP from Driffield based band The Dials and you’re a university student as well and you run your own record label [Xeroxed Records]. Where do you find the time to actually be able to do all this?

L: I had to quit my job to be able to manage this year’s scale of things I’m trying to do. As cliché as it sounds, I have my hands in a lot of pies at the moment. I’m pretty much covering every genre of music possible and every sort of aspect of the business. I work quite weirdly, I can’t just work on one project at a time. I’ve got to do something else as well just to keep myself sane. I think that’s the reason why I started writing “Alive” as I was doing that zombie thing. It’s more chilled out while the zombie one is very complicated, there’s a lot of stuff going on in it, so I just needed something to sit back and relax on. It p*sses of my neighbours and my mum ‘cause I’m just constantly in my studio making noise. [Laughter]. But I’m sure after the next few months, when the next few albums [Alive and Theatre Of The Damned] are finished, I’ll keep it down a bit and just chill.

N: With your future albums, be them under the Obsolete moniker or your own name, do you have any plans to tour in support of them or just have a release show?

L: I’d love to, I really would. I think my only problem with that is jut being able to be a decent frontman – Obviously it’s my voice on the album but doing it live is a completely different thing. I’ve never really been a frontman in a band since I was about 13. I’m sure if we got enough practise in we could do it – I’ve got a band together for the Obsolete Tomorrow album [Beauty Through Chaos]. It’s some friends but we’ve never practised anything yet but it’s there just in case we do need to tour or something but yeah, I’d love to it. As of yet there’s no real plans. There might be a surprise show in October but I’ll have to see how that works out. Everything is just studio based at the moment but I think once I’ve got more songs under my belt, I could put on quite a long show. I don’t think I’d go on a full tour though, maybe a few shows first and then just build it up there.

N: That sounds like quite a sound plan. For the Obsolete Tomorrow album [Beauty Through Chaos], you’ve stated before that it’s based on a rough part in your life. Would you say that writing the album changed you emotionally? Or spiritually even?

L: Definitely! I think if I was younger, having been through that situation and not being able to write or record music, I would have taken away the anger another way like going on a massive binge with my mates. But writing the album made me understand that there are better ways of using that energy, rather than wasting it, just make it into something positive. It was quite a weird sort of experience, writing the album ‘cause it was emotionally draining because I had to go through all those situations over and over again in my head to try and capture the emotion I was going through which was quite draining but I think it came off alright. I hope anyway. After I finished it, I felt nothing but pure happiness.

N: You’re quite involved with the local music scene, are there any bands that you’ recommend to our readers? Be they metal rock, electronica, are there any musicians that you’d suggest they’d keep their eye out for?

L: Absolutely! In Hull, especially, there’s a lot of bands like Pastel Jack, Infernal Creation, stuff like that. Obviously there’s the two bands I’m working with, Windrider and Ravenage. I think Hull has got a lot of talent right now, it’s quite promising to see. In Driffield, there’s a few bands but they all kinda stick with one genre of music. I don’t know if they’re afraid to do their own thing but I think they need to branch out a bit more. There’s one band that’s really good called “Parkmoor”. They’re like a hard rock band.

N: Sounds good, sounds good. That’s all really. Thanks again for taking the time to speak to with us today, Lee And good luck with your future albums.

L: Anytime, man, anytime. Take care.

Cryptic Age – Homeland EP [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 13th June 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Cryptic Age
Album: Homeland EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Folk Metal/Power Metal

Since their formation, Cryptic Age have been a rising star in the British underground metal scene, having shared the stage with the likes of Ravenage, Hecate Enthroned, Windrider and Skyclad. “Homeland” is the first chapter in their epic saga.

The title track, “Homeland”, is the first track of the EP. It begins with the sound of thunder and rain. Vocals are soon heard over the rain. The Manx Gaelic lyrics are a great touch to the track, giving it a very Celtic feel. With the introduction of the symphonic sections, combined with the drums, bass and guitar the track turns aggressive yet beautiful. The vocals are monumentally powerful, more so than most soprano styled vocals. The symphonic elements bring a very intense, epic sound whilst the guitar, bass and drums bring good ol’ fashioned heaviness. The keyboard solo and the guitar solo that follows can only be described as “sagaic”.

”On The Cold Bare Ground” is the second track of the EP, beginning with a dark and mysterious sounding riff. The riff eventually transforms into a something heavier for a short while before going back to the softer, darker riff. The track does turn heavier again though with an increase in tempo. The vocals ring strongly throughout the track. The drum work is acute and precise. Like the previous track, the solos are mind-blowing.

The third track, “Bring Down The Sky” begins very folky, with an acoustic intro and a long symphonic note. The vocals work very well with this intro, conjuring up images of a small Celtic village. The drums add a new dynamic to the track as well. Whilst the first half of this track is slow paced, the second half increases the tempo. The guitar solo is astounding, brutal and masterfully played. The wittily named “No Folkin’ Way” is the second to last track of this so far majestic EP. Like the previous track, it has an acoustic and symphonic intro, though it is short lived before the electric guitar dominates. The symphonic sections are grand sounding, blending well with the guitar riffs, bass and drums. The only downside to this track is the lack of vocals.

The last track is “Paragons Of War”. Straight from the beginning, there is a somewhat heroic-sagaic sound resonating from the combination of drums, bass, guitars and keyboards. The vocals complete the track, adding a very majestic touch to it. The guitar and bass sections are brilliantly played and the drums are definitely are a highlight of the track. And the solos are nothing short of grand and noble.

Cryptic Age, despite been young, are clearly a talented quartet of musicians. No doubt that “Homeland” is but the first chapter in a long and legendary saga for these Yorkshire lads and lass. Female fronted metal has never sounded so good.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Ravenage – Hardrada’s Fall EP [2008]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19th April 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Ravenage
Album: Hardrada’s Fall
Release year: 2010
Genre: Viking Metal/Folk Metal/Yorkshire Metal

Since making their debut on the UK metal scene, Ravenage have been carving themselves an epic saga of Viking Metal. The latest chapter in their saga is their debut EP “Hardrada’s Fall”, entirely based around Harald Hardrada’s ill-fated invasion of England.

The opening track is “Northern Scheme”, an entire orchestral track which sets a most epic atmosphere before the brutal onslaught begins. “Northern Scheme” is the type of track you’d expect to hear on the soundtrack of a film like “Gladiator”. The second track is “Viking Dream” which begins with a rousing death metal styled war cry combined with a brutal guitar intro and an epic keyboard section. The drums increase the heaviness of the track, while the vocals keep it brutal. The keyboard and guitar sections have a brilliant epic sound to them and the guitar solo just perfects this track.

“Three Hundred Ships, Ten Thousand Men” begins with an excellent combination of drums, choirs and the sound of the tides. The introduction of guitars and vocals on the track elevates the sheer brilliance of the composition and sound. While the bass section near the middle of the track is unexpected, it brings a small amount of excitement upon the ears before the track turns brutal. The keyboard sections keep the melody within the track, whilst adding that extraa hint of epic. The conversation between the character of Hardrada and one of his men towards the end of the track keeps the track interesting while keeping true to the sound and concept of the EP. The track finishes with a piece of poetry speaking of the battle between the Saxons and Vikings at Stamford Bridge.

The title track “Hardrada’s Fall” is next. It begins with an epic keyboard intro, combined with the character of Hardrada speaking of his death and his ancestors awaiting for him in the corpse hall. The track soon turns heavy and brutal. There is a use of clean vocals, which adds a very folk metal element to the track. The drums and guitars work well with the melodic keyboard sections. The guitr solo is one of the highlights of this track.

“Ravenser” begins with the sound of birds singing, combined with a fast-paced keyboard intro which turns out to be the calm before the storm on this track. The track soon turns heavy, with the guitars and drums working with the keyboard sections. With the introduction of the vocals, the track takes more of a melancholy sound but this doesn’t stop it from been a great track. There is more use of clean vocals on this track as well, which gives it that epic folk metal feel. The chorus of this track is very hypnotic, especially when the aggresive vocals perform it. “Ravenser” is certainly the best track of the EP. “The Pyre” is the final track of the EP. Just like the opening track, this is entirely orchestrated. It has some-what of sorrowful sound to it. This track is a brilliant way to end this EP.

“Hardrada’s Fall” is a brilliant combination of metal, historical fact and folklore. Each track breathes new life into the tale of how Hardrada came to England only to meet his ill-fate at Stamford Bridge. The production values of the EP are just amazing and the sound couldn’t get any better. Ravenage have clearly done the tale Hardrada’s fall justice.

5/5

Nico Davidson