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All review's by Jason Brown, unless stated by Mike Exley & Vikki Scott

    Yardbird Grimsby (UK)  3.3.17   

Yard birds club in Grimsby has become one of the top small venues in the North of the UK in the last decade that's for sure. Some many bands or artists have played this impressive club based in Grimsby UK, with the likes of Joey Belladonna (Anthrax),l Steve Harris (Iron Maiden), Eden's Curse, Eclipse, Pagan's Mind, L.A. Guns, Lords of Black, and many more have appeared at this club. It has great sound and great lighting system, which it ideal for not only fans but press too like me (great photos).

Tonight we saw the likes of former Iron Maiden/ Wolfs Bane singer Blaze Bailey performing with his band playing songs from his solo career as well as a couple of Iron Maiden tunes too from 94-99. Blaze has come along way since his days with Wolfs bane, who had some success with America / Def Jam Records who had released 2 before his audition with Iron Maiden which resulted in a release of world tours. 

Sadly it didn't last too long, but he did make a name for himself just like Tim 'Ripper' Owens did have his departure with Judas Priest.

Since his departure with Maiden, he formed his won band 'Blaze' in 2007, ending in 2011 he recorded 3 albums and his debut 'Silicon Messiah' was released on SPV in 2000 which was an impressive album to say the least. This was followed by the album 'Tenth Dimension' in 2002 followed by 'Blood & Belief' in 2004. In later years Wolfs Bane reformed and played a number of gigs and a 2012 release 'Save the World'.

Now he returns with his new band as Blaze Bailey band, formed in 2007 and released his next album in 2008 'The man who would not Die', in which later on he made 5 solo albums, his latest in 2017 'Endure & Survive' was released recently. I haven't seen Blaze band in a few years, last time was in Beverley (UK) at the Metieval festival, a great little festival. 

So tonight in Grimsby was a night I was looking forward to see in, and Blaze and hi band didn't disappoint to a decent turn out. Blaze is pretty much joined by 'Absolva', formerly known as 'Fury', and his band features guitarist Chris Appleton (guitars & producer of his albums), bassist Karl Schramm and drummer Martin McNee.

The 4 musician's hit the stage to a warm welcome from the audience and Blaze certainly knew how to get the crowd going which I hope so with his long lasting career as a front man. Playing songs from his career as a solo artist and a couple of Maiden songs made this a really good night. Balze has still got a good strong voice and his band play really well and tight.

Songs that were played were: Survive and Endure, Escape Velocity, Futureal, Blood, Kill & Destroy, Alive, Fight Back, A thousand Years, Eating Lies, Silicon Messiah, Human, Calling you Home, Stare at the Sun, The Clansman, Man Hunt, Man on the Edge, The Brave.

A good gig with a band that have the right strong attitude, delivering the songs powerful and to the point. Blaze is still a good front man that writes good British metal. Here's to another 10yrs of Blaze and the crew with new albums and more tours.


          Manchester 02 (UK) 28.2.17 

Well this was my 2nd gig for 2017, not like me but but 2 classic gigs are better than none. After attending the Firewind gig the week before I was ready for the next one, away from Power Metal to a more extreme show of a mixture of old school Thrash Metal, to modern style of extreme metal in the form of Soilwork and Aborted. having only attended the 02 once in Manchester for Queersyche some years ago it was good to be back to see a show like this. Fun packed day with interviews with Kreator and Sepultura was the 1st step of the day once arriving, sound check and then the show started.

First band to hit the stage at about 6.45/7pmk was Grind/ Death Metal band 'Aborted', this extreme band from Belgium were 1st formed back 95 in a town called Waregem who was formed back only original member Sven De Caluwe who has constantly kept the band alive. 

He is joined now by members Kern Bedene (guitars), Mendel Bij De Leij (guitars), Ian jekelis (bass) and drummer Stenano Fransecschini. As all bands they have had some line up changes but this is the current line up.

The band have made 9 albums to date, their debut 'The purity of Pervesion' saw the light of day back in 99 under the label Uxicon, the 2nds album was 'Engineering the Dead' which was released on Listenable Records in 2001 and the band released 3 albums for that label. 

They soon were picked up by current label Century Media in 2007 when they released 'Slaughter & Apparatus', which took the band to the next level. Mixing extreme Death Metal with Grindcore the band's music reminds me of across between Napalm Death & Suffocation, Crytopsy just to name a few, and this certainly works well for the band.

Been the opening band at such an early time was a little downfall for the fans as many didn't know the time of the show, but nevertheless the fans that made it so early really did enjoy watch the band live, with their brutal songs, extreme vocals and impressive guitar solos was something to see. This music isn't everybody's cup of tea but they delivered a powerful set of brutal music from start to finish. Playing a short 30 minute set they certainly set the night off. 

Songs played were: Divine Impediment, Cadaverous Banquet, Meticulous Invagination, Hecatomb, Coffin upon Coffin, Termination Redux, Threading the Vermillion, Bit by Bit.

Next up to hit the stage were Swedish melodic Death Metal band 'Soilwork', that have a hint of modern music, certainly the Swedish touch of In Flames, At the Gates mixed with the industrial Death Metal elements of Fear Factory. This band were formed by Bjorn Strid (vocals) & Peter Wichers (guitars) in 95. 

Peter later on quit the band after the band's 5th album, leaving Bjorn to be the only original member in the band. This band are pretty good at what they do mixing heavy music with clean vocals and today's modern style metal vocals, something that In Flames tend to do.

The band released their debut album 'Steelbath Suicide' in 98 which was released through Listenable/ Century Media. Having heard some of this album it's defiantly Swedish and more directed towards At The Gates vocals to that of what the band are doing now. The band have certainly made a name for themselves in recent years playing some of the biggest metal festivals are around the world. Bjorn and the band certainly made a great impression tonight playing a 45 minute set of their own brand of metal. With the band promoting their current album 'The ride Majestic', released in 2015, is certainly seems to be selling well and tonight the boys played a great set. 

Songs played were: The ride Majestic, Nerve, Rise above the Sentiment, Bastard Chain, The living infinite I, The chainheart Machine, Two lives worth of Reckoning, Late for the Kill...Early for the Slaughter, Stabbing the Drama.

Next to hit the stage were Brazil' finest 'Sepultura', the band that was formed back in 84 by the 2 Cavalera brothers along with Paulo Jr (who is the only original member left) and Sarafargo guitarist Jairo Guedz who only recorded 'Morbid Visions' album in 95 and the EP 'Bestial Devastation'. 

Guitarist Andreas Kisser joined the band for the 2nd album 'Schizophrenia' in 87, this was the turning point to the bands next masterpiece and still to this date their finest album 'Beneath the Remains'. Since that album was recorded the band released 3 albums with Max on vocals, whereas his brother Igor remained within the band up until 'Dante XXI' in 2006. Derrick Green had joined the band in 98 for the album 'Against'.

The band have come along way since then and still managing to capture their Brazilian heritage of traditional music mixed with modern Thrash Metal. The band taken a lot of slack from fans since Max's departure, but I feel that this is still Sepultura and as Derrick has been in the band since 98 he certainly isn't going anywhere, so Sepultura fan's best get use to it.

The band released their latest album this year 'Machine Messiah' through Nuclear Blast #, which is a great album of heavy music mixed with Brazilian roots, works well for the band. So tonight the band were ready to a packed out audience waiting to hear songs of new and old, that the band certainly never left the crowd down. Derrick and the boys certainly gave Kreator and the other bands a run for their money and the crowd loved their set.

Songs played were: I am the Enemy, Phantom Self, Choke, Desperate Cry, Alethea, Sworn Oath, Inner Self, Resistant Parasites, Arise, Rataamahatta, Roots bloody Roots. Still a great band live, something you can't deny.

Next up was German Demi-Gods 'Kreator', a band that I have always been a fan since I was 15 in 85 when buying their debut album 'Endless Pain', which was a raw and savage album, an album that I thought was pretty good and knew something better would come. This soon followed by 'Pleasure to Kill' in 86, which made Kreator's sound and was an incredible album of brutal Thrash Metal.

Formed back in Essen by guitarist/ vocalist Millie Petrozza and drummer Ventor, bassist Rob Fioretti the 3 set out to create extreme music and is wasn't long before Noise Music signed the band, the rest is pretty much history. In later years Rob left the band and long time guitarist Jorg after the release of 'Extreme Aggression' in 89, various guitarist would fill in up until Sami Yli Sirnio joined for the album 'Violent Revolution' in 2001 and bassist Christian Giesler. 

One thing about Kreator is they play extreme Thrash Metal, which kind of make Slayer sound like Bon Jovi (well maybe not that mellow) but they play some great music and have only ever experimented once with the album 'Renewal', an album I couldn't really get into. Other than that, this band just play some incredible music and live... well what the fuck they are brutal and amazing live. 

Tonight was a night I had waited for having not see in them live since Bloodstock some time ago, so I was really looking forward to this show. Intro started, light out and flash bombs went off and the band played one hell of an awesome set from start to finish. This must be hard for a band that have so many cool songs out to pick a set list to suit all. They played extremely well and heavy and hard taking no prisoners and this is one gig I will not forget in a  hurry this year. Along with Destruction, Kreator are 2 bands from the German thrash scene that I admire and have opened the door for many other bands from Europe. One thing can be said for Kreator they certainly give the U.S. thrash band a run for their money.

Songs played tonight were: Hordes of Chaos, Phobia, Satan is Real, Gods of Violence, People of a Lie, Total Death, Phantom Antichrist,  Fallen Brother, Army of Storms, Enemy of God, From flood into Fire, World war Now, Hail to the Hordes, Extreme Aggression, Civilization Collapse, Violent Revolution, Flag of Hate/ Under the Guillotine, Pleasure to Kill. What a great night by all bands that played their own form of extreme metal. Kreator kicked arse and if you haven't seen them live I suggest you do so soon!

      Sheffield Corporation  (UK)  17.2.17  

Well this was my 1st gig for 2017, I had waited long enough and to be honest it was one hell of a great start to 2017 that's for sure. Sheffield's Corporation club is a great venue, having seen some great bands perform there, last one for me there was Queensyrche in 2016. As this was my 1st show for 2017 I was kind of expecting the show to be in the main room, but sadly it wasn't but still it was a great gig and at least it was a full room.

There were 4 bands on the bill, opening act who I missed due to interviews was 'Epitaph'  a local band, but the 2nd band was Greek act 'Scar of the Sun' formed in 2005, who have released 2 albums for Italian label 'Scarlet Records'. The band are a 5 piece, fronted by singer Terry, guitarist's Alex and Greg, bassist Panagiotis and drummer Thonos. Looking at the bands bio  there based in the UK as well as Greece, so that's pretty cool. The band released their debut album 'A series of Unfortunate' in 2011, a mixture of Dark Tranquility, Rotting Christ, In Flames, and maybe Soilwork. Fort this band it works well, a mixture of modern metal that seemed to go down well with the younger crowd who attended tonight. 

With the band promoting their current album 'The Flood', which was released in 2016 the band seemed to go down well with the crowd and played an impressive set from start to finish. Songs played were: Among waters & Giants, An ill fated Wonder, Ode to the Failure, Sand, Enemies of Reason, The truth about the Lies, Gravity. A good band playing a more modern Death Metal crossover style 

Next up was Swedish Power Metal band 'Manimal', formed back in Gothenburg in 2001 by singer Samuel Nyman, guitarist Henrik Stenroos, drummer Andre Holmqvist and later on bassist Kenny Boufadene who joined the band for the current album 'Trapped in the Shadows' in 2015. The band have only recorded 2 albums to date, their debut for AFM was 'The Darkest Room', which was released in 2009. A decent debut and soon followed by 'Trapped in the Shadows' in 2015, an awesome album packed full of power. If you are a fan of Judas Priest, Grave Digger, Brainstorm and Primal Fear then you really need to check out this awesome band.

The band hit the stage and what a great opening song the band came onto this been 'Shadows', with Samuel's ripping vocals reminded me of Rob Halford and even Ripper Owens, certainly impressed me. I wasn't sure how well he would pull it off live but he certainly impressed me. The band were also tight live playing it spot on, a heavy ripping opening track that's for sure. The crowd love it and the band were having fun.

There a great band that you need to check out live and their 2 albums too. I look forward to see in them live again in the near future and hearing more great music from this impressive Power Metal band. Full set list played by the band were: Shadows, Trapped in the Shadows, The Dark, Darkest Room, Psychopomp, Human, Invisible, Irresistible. Go check out the band live on this tour if you can and check out both albums, for fans of Power Metal will not be disappointed.

Next up was Greek Power Metal Gods 'Firewind', formed by guitar wizard Gus G in 98 when Gus went to the U.S. to Berklee school of music were some of the top musicians studied. Gus left Berklee and met up with Dave Chastain in which he formed Firewind with original singer Stephen Fredrick and drummer Brain Harris for the debut album 'Between Heaven & Hell'  in 2002, through Leviathan records. With the success of this debut album it wasn't long before Gus recorded the next album with drummer Stian Kristoffersen (Pagans Mind) and bassist Petros (who's still in the band). This album would be 'Burning Earth' in 2003 and in 2005 the band signed to Century Media for 'Forged by Fire'. The band have recorded in total 6 albums in total. The last album 'Few against Many' in 2012 featured Apollo Papathanasio who left the band to be replaced by ex Metalium singer Henning Basse. The bands current line up still remains the same since the last album prior to Apollo leaving the band.

Now the band return with their stunning new album 'Immortals' in 2017 which is an incredible album packed full of amazing riffs, songs writing and vocals, and I highly recommend this album. Tonight the boys hit the stage and delivered an amazing set of pure melodic Power Metal from start to finish. Gus proved he is Greece's guitar wizard, kind of reminds me of Marty Frienman & Jason Becker Cacophony, and it's good that Ozzy picked him as his guitarist, he'd be stupid not to have Gus in the band for the future. The rest of the band Bob Katsionis is a keyboard wizard and a member of Serious Black, whilst both rhythm section Jonas Nunez and Petros deliver a perfect solid rhythm section, whilst singer Henning is a great and powerful singer.

The band played well, tight and a powerful set which sadly only lasted about 1 hr and 10 minutes, due to the stupid night club curfew. That didn't stop the fans and the band having a great time. I am so glad I went to this show, it was great, and on top of it, it was Bobs birthday so a cake was provided on stage which was cool.

A great band and a great gig, songs played were: Ode to Leonidas, We Defy, Head up High, Few against Many, Between Heaven & Hell, Back on the Throne, Hands of Time, Wars of Ages, Lady of a 1000 Sorrows, World on Fire, Fire & Fury, Tyranny, Live and die by the Sword, Mercenary, Falling to Pieces. What a band and powerful band that write some incredible songs. Buy the new album and go see them live you will not be disappointed.


     Yardbird's (UK)  12.12.16     

Last gig for 2016 and I've seen some impressive show, maybe not as many as I'd of liked to of done but I'm hoping to see a lot more in 2017.  Nevertheless, what a great gig to end the year, like every gig I have seen at Yardbirds in Grimsby UK has always been a great gig, awesome sound and great light system makes this one of the top UK venue despite it not been a big venue is is still a great place to play and I encourage bands to play there if you can.

So tonight's show would be the likes of UK band 'Fury' a 3 piece, not to be confused with the other band 'Fury UK', which is a completely different band, confusing I know. This band hail from Worchester UK formed in 2010 with members Julian Jenkins (vocals/ guitar), Alasdair Davis (drums), Martin Trail (bass), Jake Beesley (l. guitar) and the band soon  played the likes of Bloodstock and Hammerfest. The band recorded several E.P's & their debut album in 2014 titled 'The lightning Dream' which received some good reviews and it wasn't long before the band recorded their next album 'Lost in Space' in 2015.

The band have come a long way and their journey still continues mixing a form of UK Power Metal that is set in the future, and let's face it the title of their current album says it all... Space Metal!! Never seen this Fury before only the other band I was curious to know how their music could sound to that of the other band, and they are a really good band. The band will do well and tonight the band played a good set from songs off both albums to a packed audience who really cheered them on from start to finish.

Songs that they played were: Lost in Space, Star Trippin, When the hammer Falls, Britannia, Drunken Sailor. An impressive band well wroth see in live and check out their albums too. Let's see what 2017 bring for this band.

Next up was 'Lords of Black' Spain's finest metal band. I really don't know too many bands from Spain, no disrespect to the people of Spain but for me this band have to be Spain finest metal band. I didn't even know they were Spanish, I always thought they were Italian, but these guys have done Spain proud. Having formed back in Madrid in 2104 by singer Ronnie Romero (known for his recent work with Rainbow), Tony Hernando (guitars) and drummer Andy C and bassist Victor Duran  (2014-2015) who was replaced by Javier Garcia in 2016.

This 4 piece band recorded their debut album in 2014 which was self titled which was a great album in which the band had the pleasure of working with Roland Grapow (Ex Helloween/ now with Masterplan) as producer on this debut album. Tony also was involved with the production of this album and also the new album 'II' which also saw the band sign to Frontiers records. The band have shared the stage with the likes of Gotthard, Unisonic, Helloween to name a few. With the 2nd album released the band are becoming Spain super group and I am not surprised as these guys kick ass both live and on record. If I have to compare their music I would say across between Primal Fear, Helker (especially Ronny's voice, both similar to that of Argentina's Diego Valdex), Saxon, Helloween and of course Masterplan.

Ronny is an amazing singer that sounds like Diego meets Tim Owens and Ronnie James Dio, a fine young singer that could become a demand by future bands or projects in the near future. So tonight, I was really looking forward to see in them live and they certainly didn't let anybody down. A fantastic Power Metal band that certainly need to be heard, this band are going to be the biggest band to come out of Spain and take the rest of Europe by storm. I could easily see them play  the likes of PorgPower, Bloodstock, Wacken, Hellfest and many more great festivals in 2017 and the near future.

The band were ready, the crowd were ready and so Lords of Black hit the stage and kicked ass from start to finish showing Grimsby what real metal was all about. It was great to see a band play such great Power Metal, leaving some bewildered Rainbow fans feeling left out, not expecting some awesome kick ass Power Metal, away from Rainbow. The band were certainly having fun and so were the crowd, fantastic musician's and a fine singer, a little guy like Dio with a powerful voice.

Songs played were: Merciless, Nothing left to Fear, Everything you are Not, New world's Comin, Smoke and Mirrors, The man from Beyond, Ghost of You, (guitar solo), Tears I will Be, Forgive or Forget, Lords of Black, Cry no More, Shadows of War, When everything is Gone, with 2 covers by Dio & Rainbow been 'We Rock' & 'Kill the King'.

What a great band, great crowd and great gig... what a way to finish 2016 for gigs. Go see them live and check out both their albums soon. 

      Welly Club  (UK)  23.11.16

It's been a while since I last visited the Welly club in my home city of Hull, last time we had Skidrow play the Welly club last year. Now it was time to rock once again, this time we had 4 bands for tonight's show, sadly I didn't see the 1st 2 but did manage to capture the main support act from Texas, under the name of 'Sons of Texas'. Formed back in 2011 in McAllen (TX) with members Mark Morales (vocals), brothers Mike(drums) & Nick Villarreal (bass) with Jon Oliveres (guitar) and Jes De Hoyos to complete the line up.

The band mix the likes of ZZ Top with Pantera, kind of a sludge groovy band, more like a Pantera and Crowbar/ Down with that touch of Blues that ZZ Tops have, and it actually works for this young band. The band released their debut in 2015 titled 'Baptized in the Rio Grande' on the Razor & Tie label, a new label that I just discovered. Working with producer Josh Wilbur known for his work with Lamb of God/ Crowbar & Hatebreed was certainly a step in the right direction.

I have to admit I haven't even heard of this band until tonight and they were an impressive act playing to a full packed out audience. The kids seemed to like them and at one point there seemed to be a mosh pit.

Yes the vocals by Mark were pretty much like Phil former Pantera singer, which wasn't a bad thing considering the music suited the music. Playing a 45 minute set roughly they went down really well and the kids loved them. I could see this young band playing the likes of Download if they already haven't.

Songs played by the band were: Never bury the Hatchet, Nothing King, Pull it n Fire, Vestry Man, Blameshift, & Pantera's 'I'm Broken', Baptized in the Rio Grand, Texas Trim. A decent new and up and coming back from the Texas ranch. 

Next up was 'Soil', Chicago very finest hard rocking metal act, the band have been on the circuit since 1997 when the band were formed by  members of a Death Metal band, with guitarist Adam Zadel with Tim King, who were both in Oppressor, a well know Death Metal band. With Tim & Adam both met Ryan McCombs (vocals) and drummer Tom Schfield at the start but the band had line up changes in later times.

Ryan quit the band and was replaced by A.J Cavalier as vocalist between 2004-2011 but Ryan returned in 2011. The band have released a few albums with 6 albums to date, their last album in 2013 'Whole' was an impressive album. We all know that 'Halo' is the bands trade mark along side 'Black Betty' been their cover song. The band recruited drummer Mitch Gable who played on one song for the 'Whole' album along side Will Hunt and Mike Mushok who also played on this album. Having played Download and many more festivals around Europe the band are a force to be reckoned with with the younger generation and going strong still. 

Tonight saw the band in Hull, the crowd were hungry and ready for some hard rocking metal music. Ryan and the boys really do put on a great show, this was the 3rd time H ad seen the band live so I knew what to expect a powerful hard rocking set from start to finish. I guess we are all waiting for the new album which should be released in 2017 on AFM. Only bad point for Soil was the fact that there was too much talking and not enough songs which sadly took up more time and less songs were played.

Songs that the band played were: Wide Open, The hate Song, Need to Feel, Pride, Cross my Heart, Redefine, Amalgamation, Break me Down, Black 7, Unreal, Halo, Encore Black Betty. A good night by all, a band that delivered the goods. 

      The Diamond Live Lounge Doncaster (UK)  18.11.16   

Another gig and a new venue, this time it was here in Doncaster at the venue called 'The Diamond Lounge' here in the UK, the 1st time I had visited it, a former church turned into a concert hall and pretty good at that. This venue had seen some great bands playing of recent and I am sure this will be a venue that will becoming bigger in South Yorkshire. I pretty much enjoy the stage and the sound for this venue, it's only a matter of time when the word gets out about this venue.

So tonight was the slot for 'The Dead Daisies', former members of Whitesnake and Motley Crue. So who's in this band? Well we have former Motley Crue singer John Corabi who did 3 albums with Crue, and who had also been with Union and The Scream (with members of Judas Priest/ Racer X -  Scott Travis) and Bruce Bouillet (Racer X) as well as Eric Singer Project. Also in the band are ex Whitesnake members Doug Alritch, Brian Tichy, and Marco Mendoza and founder member David Lowy.

This band are a fantastic bunch of musician's which mix the likes of Y&T, old Whitesnake, Aerosmith, to name a few. Their music is rather blue's bases but still has more to offer. With the band releasing 3 albums to date, their debut self titled in 2013 was soon followed up by 'Revolucion' in 2015 and in 2016 'Make more Noise', which was released through Steamhammer. I didn't know the band had released 2 previous albums, until I reviewed their new album.

Tonight saw a packed out audience waiting to see the band as well as 'The Answer', so all in all a great gig for fans of Hard Rock/ Blues. Both guitarist David and Doug set an amazing set of truly top musicians, especially Doug's outstanding guitar solos, I just think he comes across between Dave Menketti (Y&T) and John Sykes (Ex Thin Lizzy/ Whitesnake) 2 talented guitarists all rolled into 1 as Doug Alritch. 

I was a fan of Doug's previous bands... Bad Moon Rising and Lion, some of you maybe aware of these kick ass bands.  Both rhythm section of Brian and Marco play well and are a great asset to the bands music and contributions. Vocalist John is a great singer for this type of music as he has had lots of experience playing this type of music.

The band played a great set last almost an hour of pure solid rock from start to finish. Songs that were played were: Long way to Go, Mexico, Make some Noise, Song and a Prayer, Fortunate Son, Lock n Load, Something I Said, With you & I, The last time I saw the Sun, Join Together (The Who), Mainline, Helter Skelter (The Beatles), We all fall Down, Midnight Moses.

All in all a great bunch of musician's playing what they do best, solid Hard Rock from start to finish. If you like you're music this way then you need to check out this band.

Next up was Irish rocker's 'The Answer', the band were formed back in 2000 by guitarist Paul Mohon in North Ireland, who later on met drummer James Heatley as the drummer and later on met Cormac Neeson & Micky Waters to complete the bands line up to which would become 'The Answer'. It wasn't long before the band would start writing their own music and in 2006 when the band released their debut album 'Rise' through Albert records, the same label that had Strongheart. This was followed by the bands 2nd album also for Albert Records 'Everyday Demons' in 2009.

In 2011 the band released their next album for Spinfarm Records 'Revival', before switching to Napalm Records for the bands next 3 albums. The band are currently promoting 'Solas', which was released this year. The band played to a pretty packed out audience in which the crowd loved their music. Their music reminds me of Thin Lizzy, GnR, Black Crows, to name a few, I guess a bit of Rod Stewart could be in there too.

Having play the likes of Download this band have come a long way since the debut album and still having their fan base building up, something which will continue to grow. If you haven't seen the band live or heard their music and you like good rock music then you need to check out this band.

Songs played tonight were: Solas, Beautiful World, New Horizons, Demon driven Man, Tunnel, Waste your Tears, Untrue Colours, In this Land, Thief of Light, Nowhere Freeway, Demon Eyes, Being Begotten, Spectacular, Battle Cry. 

Hard Rock fans had a night to remember, two classic rock acts on one bill.. What more can you say? Great line up of pure excellent music.

      O2 Sheffield (UK)  8.11.16  

Another fine gig and this time around 3 classic N.W.O.B.H.M. band's, I mean you can't go wrong with these 3 acts. I guess Fastway is the nearest you will get to Motorhead now that sadly is no longer with us, and Fastway are a great band. I was really looking forward to this gig, having see Saxon so many times, Girlschool a few and Fastway only once in 83, I knew it was going to be a great night.

'Girlschool' have to be the 1st female front rock band from the UK, having formed back in 78 with original singer and guitarist Kim McAuliffe and bassist Dinah Enid Williams, the 2 set off to form the band with Kelly Johnson who sadly passed away in 2007 and drummer Denise Dufort. 

The 4 soon set about playing gigs and getting noticed around London and the south of England. The band released their debut single 'Take it all Away' and this was soon heard by Lemmy from Motorhead. It wasn't long before the band released 'Demolition' in 80 through Bronz records, the same label that Motorhead were signed too and soon the band released a single together.

Girlschool have come a long way since the early days of their career, couple of line-up changes but still Kim & co have kept the band alive without giving up. So now we have Kim, Denise, Enid and Jackie Chambers still kicking ass and making great records. In total the band have recorded 13 albums, one of which is 'Hit & Run' (revisted).

So tonight the band were 1st on the bill and ready to kick ass and show a well warm welcome from fans new and old just how well these girls can play and kick out some fine tunes at their best. Kim and Enid both shared the vocals  throughout the set and the band played extreme well. With the band promoting their latest album 'Guilty as Sin' 2015 release, the girls only had about 30 minutes to show a pack out audience just what they had to deliver. 

They played well and played a strong set of classic tunes that most you you will remember, well it had to be a classic night really. I can't fault this band, great musicians and great songs. Songs that were played are: Demolition, Hit & Run, Come the Revolution, Take it like a Band, Future Flash, Watch your Step, Race with the Devil, Emergency. Great band and a great opening set for the night that was to follow.

Next up was of course 'Fastway', formed by former Motorhead original guitarist 'Fast' Eddie Clarke, after his departure from Motorhead in 83 roughly just after the release of 'Iron Fist', his last album with the band. He soon met up with Pete Way former U.F.O. to form what is now 'Fastway'.  Sadly Pete didn't record the album nor tour with the band. I remember see in the band in 82 when the band played my home city of Hull, I was only 12 & half back then and I still have great memories from that show. The support band for that tour was 'Rock Goddess', another female  metal band. 

The band released their debut album which was self titled in 83, a cracking album with some really great songs. They released a single 'Easy Livin', which is a little gem and still a great song today. Back in the early days the line up also featured singer David King, and drummer Jerry Shirley and bassist for the album Mickey Feat. 

The band had some great success with the score for the movie 'Trick or Treat', a rock horror film which was tongue and cheek, not bad either. If you haven't seen it then I suggest you do. The band recorded in total 6 albums from 83 to 1990. Having split up the band returned in 2011 for the album 'Dog eat Dog' featuring Toby Jepson (vocals) ex Little Angels, who is still the front man now as we speak and drummer Matt Eldridge. So tonight sees the band playing classic songs like Girlschool and I was really looking forward to see in them live once again, a trip down memory lane.

Fastway played an epic set of classic from start to finish and Toby did a fantastic job, really sang the songs really well, great singer from Yorkshire. Songs played were: Misunderstood, All fired Up, Another Day, Deliver Me, Telephone, Heft, Feel Me Touch Me, Easy Livin. Great set and it was good to see Eddie still playing music.

Now for the mighty 'Saxon', what can you say about this epic and cult classic band? I mean they music and history speaks for itself, formed back in South Yorkshire back in 77 by Biff Byford, Paul Quinn and former guitarist Graham Oliver with Steve Dawson and Pete Gill. 

The band have been making classic traditional Heavy metal albums since 1980 with their debut album self titled album in 79, in total the band have recorded 21 albums, that's an impressive collection of amazing songs over 3 decades. Bands like Saxon, Judas Priest. Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Motorhead have stood the test of time making superb albums and showing the world where real metal was born and how much a band can progress by stating true to their roots without change and still sell millions of albums. 

I mean Saxon have had some hits back in the UK charts on 'T.O.T.P' back in the early 80's, give them even more success and building up a fan base that is what they have now. Fans new and old and young are all part of Saxon's might crusade and as they sell more albums the future for this band is on it's way up. You really can't fault this band, they have continued tog row strength by strength over the years. Take the album 'Metal Head', holy shit for me this was the turning point when their music became heavier but still captured the classic Saxon sound.

With the band promoting their current album 'Battering Ram', which is yet another amazing album, the follow up to 'Sacrifice', an album which is also amazing, heavy but still Saxon. The band's new album sees them charting and collecting more fans. Saxon are a band that have influnced the likes of Metallica, Megadeth and many more... one of the UK's finest and totally underrated bands that deserve more credit than they obtain. Biff is on top form with his vocals, still sounds like he did in the 80's but much stronger. 

Both guitarist's Doug and Paul are a nuclear twin assault of pure guitar magic playing different styles that work well when it comes to guitar solos. As for the rhythm section by Nibbs (crazy fella) and Nigel the band are playing at their very best. Totally underrated musicians that deserve respect.

What a classic night of pure British Heavy Metal, a set list that was awesome, which included: Battering Ram, Heavy Metal Thunder, Sacrifice, Solid ball of Rock, Never Surrender, Terminal Velocity, Stand up and Be Counted, The Devil's Footprint, Strong of the Law, Let me feel your Power, Killing Ground, The eagle has Landed, Queen of Hearts, And the bands played On, Dallas 1pm, Frozen Rainbow, Wheels of Steel. Encore songs were: Ace of Spades (featuring Fast Eddie), 747 Strangers in the Night, Princess of the Night.

What a great show, 3 pure classic bands playing real metal music. Well the eagle had certainly landed in Sheffield tonight, what a great show. All hail the mighty Saxon.

       Yardbird's    Grimsby (UK)   3.11.16  

Another great gig at Yardbirds, a place that is coming a fine place for gigs, last gig was Anvil this time UK thrash titan's 'Onslaught' with another old school UK band 'Anihilated'.  So I think this must be the 2nd thrash gig I've seen at Yardbirds since Joey Belladonna (Anthrax) played there many years ago with his own band.

So tonight was going to be a great night full of UK thrash assault from start to finish. Opening act for the tour was 'Anihilated', originally formed back in 81 out of the ashes of the Punk scene,  they crossed over to a more thrash appeal to gain a wider audience. Playing back then with the likes of Onslaught, Sabbat (UK), Virus and Xentrix, and many more. it wasn't until 84 when the band recorded their 1st EP 'Speedwell Sessions', this was soon followed by 'Path to Destruction'. More success for this young hopeful band which lead a deal with Metal Works, the label that had Death Wish, Virus ad many more they soon released 'Created in Hate' in 88. This was the beginning of that is now.

The band return after so many years and stronger than ever and hungry for a good fight, the band proved they were still on top form. The bands current line up consists of Si Cobb (vocals/ bass), Bod (drums), Danny B (guitars) & Todd Manning (guitars). The band are currently promoting the album 'Anti social Engineering' which was release din 2015. From what I have heard of it sounds really good, kind of reminds me of Evil Dead, Forbidden so you really need to check them out.

With a good crowd supporting both bands, this was gong to be a great night of pure English Thrash Metal. Anihilated are a good band playing solid thrash from start to finish and tonight Si and the boys proved they still have what it takes to make good quality thrash. Songs that they played were: Death to the Deviant, Seas of Red, They live we Die, Chase the Dragon, Somewhere Underneath, Innocent Victims, Anti social Engineering, Scorched earth Policy, Blood of the Martyr, We are Legion. Good old British metal band back for the attack, so check them out!!

So now it was time for the mighty 'Onslaught', a band that have been around since 82 just at the point when the band were more directed towards the Punk/ Thrash movement the band was formed by guitarist Nige Rockett & drummer Steve Grice, vocalist back then Jase Pope and bassist Paul Hill. Demos were recorded and in a 7" single. Line up changes soon happened and when the band finally got to release 'Powers from Hell' in 85 the bands lien up was Nige Rockitt, Paul Mohoney (vocals), Jase Stallard (bass) and drummer Steve Grice. A great debut setting a new trend of Punk/ Thrash Metal which really worked well for this band. With the album releases and a tour it wasn't long before they signed to Music For Nations for the next album 'The Force', a cult classic album. This featured new singer and current singer Sy Keeler, as the new singer, a more of a high pitched thrash singer that is certainly a great front man. 

More albums to follow 'In Search of Sanity' with Steve Grimmett on vocals, a more commercial thrash album but still a fine album indeed. A break up by the band only to return in 2005 and the next album would be recorded 'Killing Peace' in 2007. The band haven't looked back since and there certainly stronger than ever making quality thrash metal. The band's current line up is Nige Rockitt, Sy Keeler, Jeff Williams, Mike Hourihan and Iain GT Davies. With the band promoting 'The Force' album as it is the anniversary of the album, the band played the enter album from start to finish to a packed out thrash audience, which the crowd loved to hear the album live. Of course there were additional songs to complete the set. All 5 musicians played extremely well, brutal riffs and screaming high pitch vocals at times really was a fantastic gig. There one of the best UK thrash bands about, in fact probably the best UK band around still making epic albums.

Songs that were played were: Let there be Death, Metal Forces, Fight with the Beast, Demoniac, Flames of the Antichrist, Contract in Blood, Thrash till the Death, Killing Peace, The sound of Violence, Destroyer of Worlds, 66 fucking 6, Power from Hell, Thermonuclear Devastation. Yes the force was back and hitting harder then ever, a great band and a great night of 2 classic UK bands.


       Fibbers  York  1.11.16    (UK)   

Well the band's just keep on coming and of recent classic Rock & Metal for the last couple of gigs, Tygers of Pan Tang, Diamond Head, FM and recently Anvil and now Y&T. Next stop Saxon next week. Well this is probably the 5th time I've seen Y&T, and for those who don't know what the name means, well it stands for 'Yesterday & Today'. Formed back 72 by formed drummer Leonard Haze (who sadly passed away this years) also with Bob Gardner, Wayne Stitzer and a year later front man Dave Meniketti joined the band for the early stages of the band. 

It took some time for the band to find a name but in the end 'Yesterday & Today' was the 1st name. They recorded 2 albums under that name the debut self titled in 76 and the 2nd album 'Struck Down' in 78. Wayne left the band and soon Phil Kennemore joined the band.

After a short time the band changed their name to 'Y&T', same principle but just shortened the name and is more suited  for them. In 81 the band released what was to be 'Earthshaker', the album that everybody seemed to recognize the bands music with international airplay even in the UK. For me this album had some fantastic songs such as 'I believe in You', 'Rescue Me'. This was just the start of more to come. Next came for me their finest album 'Black Tiger' in 82, what a cracking masterpiece this is, I mean you get songs like 'Black Tiger', 'Open Fire', 'Forever', 'Winds of Change', a true superb album.

In total the band have recorded 10 albums and their last album 'Facemelter' was released in 2010... that's a pretty long time and I think their well overdue for a new album don't you think? Dave is the only original member left, as disaster struck in 2011, leaving Dave with guitarist John Nymann and drummer Mike Vanderhule to find a suitable replacement, something which would of been hard but luck struck in the form of Aaron Leigh.

The 4 are back with a and playing at their best in a  few years, the last time I saw the band live was at Germany's 'Bang Your Head' festival in 2009, damn I didn't realize it was that long ago.  The band are still playing fantastic and Dave to me is one of the best Hard Rock/ Blue's guitarist since Gary Moore. 

I mean I watched him in York and his play abilities are unbelievable, a true master that his work. Even his singing hasn't changed, his voice is still on top form, you really need to see this band before there no longer playing. I just hope they record a new album soon.

So tonight was a real treat to see the masters of Hard Roc/ Blues playing at their best, to a packed out crowd who really got into it, a lot of older fans their and a few younger ones made this a great gig of enthusiastic fans all willing to cheer the band along and have some laughs with Dave in-between the songs. The band played for about 2hrs and some really classic songs played indeed. Sadly the show started a little too early then usual gigs, so we missed Praying Mantis and I had never seen them before.

Songs that Y&T played were: On with the Show, Lipstick & Leather, Shine On, Dirty Girl, Mean Streak, Don't bring me Down, Don't be afraid of the Dark, Wings of Change, Blind Patriot, I'll keep on Believin, Black Tiger, Midnight in Tokyo, Down and Dirty, Take you to the Limit, Hang em High, I believe in You, Contagious, Summertime Girls, Rescue Me, I'm coming Home, (Encore) From the Moon, Forever.

What an amazing live band, one of the best I have seen, if you don't believe me go see them on the next tour and watch one of the best guitarist in rock Dave Meneketti!! The boys did York and me proud awesome gig!!

        Wharehouse 23  Wakefield 28.10.16  (UK)   

Yet another night of gig's, this time on a lighter note, melodic AOR/ Hard Rock band 'FM', the band that started pout back in 84 by former Samson & Diamond Head bassist Merv Goldsworth & drummer Pete Jupp along with the Overland brothers Steve & Chris along with the keyboard wizard Didge Digital. The band recorded demos and it wasn't long before Portrait records, the sister label of Epic  showed interest after the bands debut gig at the legendary Marquee club in London.

With the debut gig done the band soon entered the studio for the debut album 'Indiscreet' and the single 'Frozen Heart' was soon recorded, making the band chart pretty quickly and the success that was to follow. With the success of the album the band went on tour with Meat Loaf. Next came the 2nd album 'Tough it Out', on Epic records, another fine album. Chris left the band after that release to be replaced by Andy Barnett and Didge stayed for the next album 'Take it to the Streets' but left in 91. Leaving Pete, Merv and Steve to find replacements in which they did. 

In recent years the band have found guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick and keyboardist Jem Davis. This line up have recorded 4 albums, the band current album 'Heroes and Villains' was released 2015.

I saw the band a year ago at Yardbirds in Grimsby, a great little club with a great sound and fantastic lighting. Now it's time to see the band once again, to see how much they have progressed and devolved since the last tour. I can't deny it that this band are great musicians, different from the harder stuff I tend to listen too, but back in the 80's I liked a lot more of this style of melodic rock, they kind of reminded me of Strangeways another fine band back in the day. 

Steve overland still has a fantastic voice, after hearing the debut album recently and see in them twice in less than a year he certainly keeps his voice in top shape. 

Both rhythm sections of Pete and Merv are great additions supporting Steve vocals and guitar work, whereas Jem and Jim are great musicians too, adding that special chemistry to makes a good melodic band like FM. SO tonight was a pretty full house of melodic fans new and old, showing their love for the bands music. It was good to see them play some of the bands classic tracks as well and a couple of Whitesnake covers, as support was by former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden. Bernie played a pretty good set, sadly it was only him and an acoustic guitar, something that I am not too keen on but respect him for playing some good tunes.

Fm played a great set of some of the bands finest songs from start to end, playing for about 1hr and half to 2hrs. A great light show and graphic which added to the music and show. Couldn't fault the bands music and their performance, top stuff for a band that play melodic hard rock/ aor music. if you haven't seen or heard them before then check them out there a great band still playing what they believe in.

Songs played were: Digging up the Dirt, I belong to the Night, Life is a Highway, Let love be the Leader, Frozen Heart, Someday (I'll come Running), Face to Face, Love lies Dying, Heart of the Matter, Hot Wired, American Girls, Bad Luck, Tough it Out, That Girl, Burning my heart Down, (Encore) Story of my Life, Other side of Midnight, (Bernie Marsden) Walking in the shadows of the Blues, Here I go Again. 

       Yardbirds Grimsby 27.10.16  (UK)   

Another gig 2, in 2 days and it was a pretty busy week for me for gigs. After Tygers of Pan Tang came this impressive package, and it was good to see my Canadian brothers again Anvil, last time we met was on the U.D.O tour earlier this year. So tonight I was looking forward to see in Anvil headline and play a longer set.

The 1st band out of the 3 were a French melodic metal band 'Mystery Blue', with power metal influences, kind of reminded me of fellow French band 'Nightmare' with hints of maybe 'Brainstorm' in certain places and 'Zed Yago'. The band consist of 5 members, thus been Frenzy (guitars), Nathalie (vocals), Vince (drums), Sylvain (guitars) and bassist Steph. The band were formed back in 82, but were pretty much unknown outside the French underground scene up until recently, sadly the band broke up to return back in 96 by Frenzy. 

The band have released 8 albums, their 1st was released on Axe Killer self titled in 84. The band have done albums for such labels as Mausoleum, Burnett and now Road Show Productions. I really need to check out their music having only heard them live.

As this was the bands 1st visit to Yardbirds in Grimsby they played a good set of strong melodic metal with some impressive riffs and pounding drums and pretty strong vocals too. It was good to see a band play a different style of metal on this bill as the next band were more heavier, this been 'Rezet'. Songs played by Mystery Blue were: Slave to Blood, Shades of Death, Running with the Pack, Evil Spell, Metal Attack, Psycho City, No way Out, Claws of Steel. A band to check out if you can.

Next up was German speed/ thrash metal band 'Rezet', a young band that seem to of been around for some time as well. Starting out in 2003 by guitarist/ vocalist Ricky Wagner and Thorben Schulz, the 2 of them back then were only like 12-13 yrs old had a common interest to play metal music. Inspired by old school thrash and speed metal it wasn't long before to 2 formed a band to play their own music. 

They released 2 demos in 2007/8 and were soon releasing mini EP's, a live DVD and 1 albums which is titled 'Reality is a Lie'. There a good band playing old school Megadeth, 1st 2 albums era meets a hint of Metallica, Testament and maybe a German band called 'Iron Angel'.

The bands current line up consists of Ricky Wagner, Thorben Schulz (guitars), Bjarne Otto (bass) and drummer Bastian Santen. A young band with talent and damn good too. Songs played were: Reality is a Lie, Madmen, Toxic Avenger, Breaking the Chains, Dead City, Gargantua, Have gun will Travel, No Class (Motorhead cover), Fight for your Life. If you like Speed Metal with Thrash Metal elements then this is a band to check out, especially if you like Dave Mustaines voice. Impressive young band.

Now for the mighty 'Anvil', one of Canada's finest metal acts, if any the top metal act that seem to have influence the likes of Metallica and many more Thrash bands, some may say Anvil or Motorhead are the pioneers of the thrash movement. This could well be true but Anvil have their own identity and sound, a band to be reckoned with for the crazy antics by fronman Lips, known for his crazy guitar riff and his vibrator used for a slide guitar sound that buzzes, rather amusing to say the least. 

Saying that bassist Chris Robertson is equally as mad on stage and nicknamed 'The Squirrel' and you can see why. Robb's amazing pounding and powerful jazz swings are showing with his amazing and insane drum patterns makes this one hell of a band.

The band recorded a album 'Still going Strong', too fucking right!! That's acutely true, a powerful mean fucking machine here, pounding like they have never done before. With the band promoting their current album 'Anvil is Anvil', or it should be called 'Burgers on Burgers', but that's a different story!! This fine album sees the band playing what they do best, quality from start to finish. 

So tonights sees the band playing for the 1st time in Grimsby at the famous 'Yardbirds' club, and I've seen some great acts play this little gem, such as Steve Harris, Joey Belladonna, Pagans Mind, Edens Curse and many more. I was so happy to see the band play this amazing club and the turn out was amazing, packed put sold house to a fine Canadian band that is Anvil. Lips, Robb and Chris ripped the stage apart from start to finish and played an awesome set of some of the band finest tunes.

Let's face it Anvil do what they do best, just keep on pounding and tonight was no exception. 

A killer set by Anvil which included: March of the Crabs, 666, Oh Baby, Badass Rock n Roll, Winged Assassins, Free as the Wind, On Fire, Daggers and Rum, This is Thirteen, Mothra, Swing Thing (Robbs drum solo), Die for a Lie, Metal on Metal and encore Born to be Wild. Yes the band nailed it and played some bad ass songs from start to finish. Let's just hope they come back to Grimsby next tour.


       Hull Fruit 26.101.16  (UK)     

It's been a while since I was last at Fruit in Hull, Bernie Torme a few months back. It was good to catch up with the Tygers after about 10yrs since I last saw them live in Grimsby,  and prior to that Hull in 83 on the Cage tour, a night I'll never forget after meeting them when I was 12. Tygers of Pan Tang have always been one of my favourite bands when I was a kid along side Judas Priest and Saxon, and it's good to see all 3 of them are still making great music.

It was also good to see Hull's finest N.W.O.B.H.M. band 'Salem' opening up for the Tygers. Having seen Salem back in the 80's at Hull city hall, and later on in many years later to reform and play in Hull in recent years. So tonight's opening act 'Salem' were formed back in 1980 after 'Ethel the Frog' broke up in 79. Only remaining original members left guitarist Paul Macnamara & bassist Ade Jenkinson, but later on Paul Mendham (drums), Simon Saxby (vocals), and Mark Allison (guitars). 

The band have recorded 1 7" single back in the day titled 'Cold as Steel' which is a classic song and I still own this, this was pretty much the start of what is now. Impressive band that have grown with age and are now becoming more popular in Europe and places like Greece. I am really proud of them and happy they have got so far in recent years. The band have released 3 albums to date, the debut 'In the Beginning' which I am right in saying is a collection of early material, the bands 2nd album 'Forgotten Dream' in 2013 and the bands latest release 'Dark Days' on Pure Steel records.

Tonight the band opened up for the Tygers, a great local support from fellow fans who gave them a warm welcome home show. Simon gave the crowd a run for their money, showing he is still a great front man and the band played really well. Both guitarist Paul and Mark proved that they are a great pair of guitarist and the rhythm section by Paul and Ade also proved to be a force to be reckoned with. The band played songs from their 2 albums on Pure Steel as well as some of the bands early material. A nice 40 minute set of pure old school metal here. The songs played were: Dark Days, Fools Gold, Rock Forever, Ask the Lonely, Tormented, Break the Chains, Not Guilty, High Stakes, Forgotten Dream. Good band on the up.

Next up was the mighty 'Tygers of Pan Tang', formed back in 78 in Whitley Bay up near Newcastle (UK), by Robb Weir (guitars) the only original member left, and in the early days he was joined by Jess Cox (vocals) Rocky (bass), drummer Brian Dick to which the band soon released their debut album 'Wild Cat' in 1980, this was pretty much a raw and savage album, something that had to be done with a name like they had, wasn't worth the album been lame so they made a raw and heavy album for it's time. Soon after the release of the debut album singer Jess left to be replaced by Jon Deverill, an awesome singer who recorded the bands cult classic albums 'Spellbound', 'Crazy Nights' and 'The Cage' all on MCA Records. I had the pleasure of meeting and see in them live of 'The Cage' tour in Hull, a memory I will never forget.  

In later years Jon left and so did the rest of the band, leaving Robb to carry the bands name on and what a great job he has done. Yes the band have had several singers such as Richie Wicks, Tony Liddell, and now Jacopo Meilli who joined the band for the album 'Animal Instinct' in 2008 and has recorded 4 albums with the band. 

Tonight was a great night to see the Tygers back in Hull, packed full of energy and a raw that would be heard around Hull. The fans turned out in there 100's to see such a classic band, new and old fans were there to see such a cult band that had influenced such bands like Kreator and many more. With the band promoting their self titled album which came out last week and a cracking album, well worth checking out, still classic tygers sound. Robb and the boys played some intense and amazing songs from their early days as well as songs from their new album. I was so glad I saw this show and would certainly see them again.

Songs they played were: Only the Brave, Love don't Stay, Gangland, Do it good/ Running out of Time, Black Jack, Glad Rags, Euthanasia, Never give In, Don't stop By, Take It, Slip Away, Keeping me Alive, Devil you Know, Suzie Smiled, Hellbound, Raised on Rock, Love Potion No9.  I haven't seen the band play so many classic as this in years, I hope they play the same kind of songs next time and yes a live DVD with set list would be awesome!!

      Manchester Academy 6.10.16 (UK) 

Great to see another band in a the space of 2 days just after Diamond Head, now it was time for a thrash attack, this time 4 bands, 3 thrash and 1 Power Metal act, a great combination for a night of real metal music. It's been a few years since I was at this venue, the Doom gods 'Trouble', so coming back to the Academy in Manchester was a good change.

Tonight was a night of Speed Metal in the form of 'Enforcer', Brazilian Death Metal 'Nervosa', U.S. Thrash God's 'Flotsam & Jetsam' and German Demi-Gods 'Destruction' all on one stage for a night of mayhem and pure metal attack. Having seen Destruction numerous times since 1990, I had never seen Flotsam before so I was really looking forward to see in them live.

It was good to see so many real metal heads comes together to check out 3 style of metal and support all the bands on the bill, one of the best gigs so far this year. Opening the night was Brazilian female Thrash/ Death Metal act 'Nervosa', a band that I have to admit had never heard their music until tonight. This trio was formed back in 2010 in Sao Paulo (Brazil) by Fernanda Lira (bass & vocals), with Prika Amaral (guitars) and drummer Pitchu Ferraz. It wasn't long before the band recorded their debut album 'Victim of Yourself' in 2014, this was just the beginning of what is now. The band released their 2nd album this year for Napalm records titled 'Agony' and is doing really well. 

Having toured or played with D.R.I., Destruction Blaze Bailey, Exodus, Raven, Grave Digger and many more this trio are a force to be reckoned with. If you're a fan of early Sepultura and Exodus, Sadus then you're going to love their music. There a great band and yes females can play as hard as the men as this band proved it. A short set of about 30 minutes as the opening act they played hard and heavy and on top of that there really sexy metal chicks. Songs played were: Hypocrisy, Arrogance, Death, Intolerance means War, Masked Betrayer, Hostages, Into Moshpit. A great band if you like you're music old school Death/ Thrash Metal you need to check them out.

Next up was Sweden's Speed Metal act 'Enforcer', some might think this band were the odd act out on the bill, but they played a great set. Formed in 2004 Arvika (Sweden) this 4 piece young band have come a long way since their early days. The band consist of Olof Wikstrand (vocals/ guitars), Joseph Tholl (guitars), Jonas Wilstrand (bass), and drummer Tobias Lindqvist. The band recorded their debut demo Evil Attack' in 2005 and 'Into the Night' in 2008 and it wasn't long before the band were picked up by Earache records for the album 'Diamonds' in 2010, this was the start of what is now. 

In 2013 the band signed with Nuclear Blast and the next album was released 'Death By Fire'. The band have recorded 'Beyond Fire' which the band were promoting for this tour. I have to say their music is pretty good and reminds me of Raven, Riot, Exciter, to name a few. Their music is pretty good stuff and I can see why they went down well with the crowd for the show.

Songs played were: Destroyer, Undying Evil, From Beyond, Live for the Night, I turned into a Martian, Below the Slumber, Hell will Follow, Mesmerized by Fire, Take me out of this Nightmare, Midnight Vice. Not a bad band and they played well.

Next up was the mighty 'Flotsam & Jetsam', having not seen this band before I know it comes as a shock to you as much as it does with me. I've seen all the major thrash bands and the majority of the underground thrash bands but never Flotsam until now. We all know that Jason Newsted was once in the band, and was replaced by Michael Spencer (Sentinel Beast) only to return to the band in the the last few years which is a good thing. Formed in 81 Arizona and started playing clubs and recording demos which the band were soon recording their debut album for Metal Blade and their debut album, the cult classic 'Doomsday for the Deceiver' 86, can you believe it was that long ago? One of the finest albums in Thrash. This was soon followed by 'No place for Disgrace' in 88, the bands debut album for a major label.

In total the band have recorded 12 albums, and with front man Eric A.K been the longest lasting member of the band to this day, his is joined by Michael Gilbert (guitars) once again and Michael Spencer once again. The current line up also consists of drummer Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall/ Stigmata/ Toxik) and guitarist Steve Conley. The bands current album self titled is awesome and sees the band return to form playing a heavy thrash album full of the old school thrash that we all love. 

Eric and the boys played well tonight, and played an epic set list from start to finish, songs from the debut right up to the new album, and I tell you they really kicked ass and certainly gave the rest of the bands a run for their money. Songs played were: Seventh Seal, Dreams of Death, Hammerhead, Monkey Wrench, Desecrator, Life is a Mess, Hard on You, Iron Maiden, No place for Disgrace. I'd certainly see this band again and I recommend you do too.

Now it was time for the Demi-Gods 'Destruction', like Kreator & Sodom these 3 bands have set the waves for German thrash, without them there wouldn't be much of thrash metal. The thing I like about these bands is their music is another form of aggressive music, whereas U.S. is different to German thrash, it's more in you're face in some ways and a force to be reckoned with. Destruction are another trio like Sodom, playing melodic but very heavy thrash metal, and a band that have their own identity since 82 when the band were originally called 'Knight of Demon' but soon changed their name. Both Schmier ( vocals/ bass) and Mike (guitars) are the only 2 original members left, having had various drummer the band found Wawrzyniec Dramowicz from Poland I believe, a great drummer that suits the band and plays really well. 

They say most of the best bands are trio acts and like Destruction they are one of them too. Having recorded 13 albums, 12 with Schmier the band since 'Infernal Overkill' in 85 have come along way, and they have their own sound that you would recognize when you hear Mike's guitars and Schmiers stretching vocals. Some of the bands finest work like 'Eternal Devastation' and later on 'Inventor of Evil', 'Spiritual Genocide' and now the bands new album 'Under Attack' sees the band playing some of the finest thrash anthems ever.

Tonight, they played well, some intense riffs, screams and pounding double bass drumming is what makes Destruction. One thing is for sure, if you haven't seen the band before then you really need too. Songs played were: Under Attack, Curse of the Gods, Pathogenic, Nailed to the Cross, Mad Butcher, Dethroned,  Life without Sense, Total Desaster, Thrash Attack, Black Death, Invisible Force, The butcher strikes Back. Encores were: Thrash till Death, Bestial Invasion. The Gods will return!!!


       York  Fibbers 4.101.16   (UK)    

It was good to be back in York at Fibbers Club, last time I attended their was for Exodus gig earlier this year., which is a great little club, certainly a better venue than the original place. It was also my 3rd Diamond Head show, my 1st was the indoor Bloodstock festival with original singer Sean Harris, then when they supported Europe in Leeds and now York Fibbers. The band have been around since 76 was were formed by Brian Tatler (who is the only original member to this day) who back then teamed up with Duncan Scott (drums) and later on Sean Harris (vocals) and bassist Colin Kimberley who join the band only to record their debut album 'Lightning to the Nations' in 1980, which was released on their own Happy Face Records.

It wasn't long before MCA showed interest and the album that shook the world of N.W.O.B.H.M. was released 'Borrowed Time' in 82. It was 'The Friday Rock Show' here in the UK when Tommy Vance played songs from this album that I instantly took notice of and loved. I think the 1st song I ever heard was 'Borrowed Time', I knew then that this band need to be heard. The band went on and recorded 'Canterbury', a pretty decent album that featured FM's bassist Mervyn Goldsworthy as well as original bassist Colin Kimberley. 

Sadly it was the last album for MCA and the band split up. It was in 93 when they returned with Brain & Sean holding the fort and new members Karl Wilcox (drums) and bassist Pete Vuckovic, with guest guitar parts by Tony Iommi and Dave Mustaine (Megadeth). This album having the 2 guest spots certainly brought the band back to life.

The band released a further 3 albums, one of which is the new album. This self titled album was released this year and features Brian Tatler, Rasmus Bom Andersen (vocals) from Denmark, Andy Abberley (r. guitar), bassist Eddie Moohan, who was been replaced by Dean Ashton and drummer Karl Wilcox. The band continue to create old school Diamond Head music which is still catchy and interesting and the new album is pretty good stuff.

Tonight was the band's 2nd time I believe at Fibbers and with a decent turn out considering it was Tuesday night, the band played a really good set spanning a career from the beginning to the latest album so a good choice of rock and roll here to be heard by all. 

As any band gets old and more albums are made it becomes harder to please every fan with the ultimate set list, so the band did really well for the time they had. Singer Rasmus is a really good singer, strong and powerful and does the band's music justice that's for sure. New bassist Sean fits in really well and a great musician, just like Brian and Karl & Andy. A great night had by all and nice to see such a band like Diamond Head play a smaller club.

Songs that were played were: Borrowed Time, Bones, Lightning to the Nations, See you Rise, Helpless, All the reasons you Live, In the heat of the Night, To Heaven from Hell, Knight of the Swords, Diamonds, The Prince, Shoot out the Lights, It's Electric, Am I Evil with Encores Shout at the Devil, Sucking my Love

It's always good to see the older bands carrying on and making good music, here's one band that does just that. 

          Corporation Club Sheffield 27.8.16   (UK) 

Time for another live review and about time, it's been a couple of months since my last live review. So it was good to get back in the saddle kind of speak. it's been 3 yrs since I last saw and interviewed Queensryche so it was good to see them once again. Tonight saw the return of the rcyhe doing what they do best. Formed back in 82 in Washington (USA) originally with Geoff Tate, Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Chris DeGarmo and Scott Rockenfield. 

In which these 5 musicians recorded demos and and soon recorded their debut EP 'Queen of the Reich' in 83, this incredible EP saw the band receiving some amazing reviews for such a great EP, the fans and press were hungry for a studio full length album which soon followed under the name of 'The Warning' in 84 and for me this is and will always be their finest album, not to say the new stuff or other albums are bad far from it, it's just my personal favourite. 

With the release of 'The Warning' out next was 'Rage for Order' in 15 release the band have done to date, and with their new stunning album 'Condition Human' released in 2015 through Century Media, the bands 2nd album featuring the amazing Todd La Torre (ex Crimson Glory) on vocals is a superb singer to the ryche's music. Todd's debut self titled with the band was released in 2013 also through Century Media was an impressive album that saw the band return to their heavier roots, something the band needed badly to do, this was lacking with Tate on vocals sadly. 

Todd brought the band back on form just like Ripper Owens did for Judas Priest, saved their career and some could say the same for Queensryche. It doesn't matter as Todd fits the band superbly as most of you will already of heard and seen since he joined the band. Todd is also a guitarists and drummer too and having heard some of his soon to be released solo album I can tell you it's heavy kind of like Fight meets Testament so I am looking forward to that too.

Todd, Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Parker Lundgren are a solid outfit creating some fine music, going back to a more 'The Warning', 'Rage for Order' and 'Operation Mindcrime' style, the band are ready to take on anybody who gets in their way. I'm so happy the band have gone heavier and the last 2 albums have been superb, some amazing vocals, music music that has made these albums well worth hearing and also if you saw them live in the last few years then you will know just good a band they are.

The band are playing some time tunes recently, trying to mix up the early stuff from the EP to the current album, something that could be classed as difficult when you have so many great songs to play. The band had 2 support bands on this tour 'Methodica' a progressive metal band from Italy and U.S. metal act 'Archer Nation', both of which were pretty good. Some people who had not seen Queensryche before were extremely impressive with their performance, but also sadly disappointed that the band only played a mere 1hr and 15 minutes roughly, I guess some people thought 2 support bands were too much. 

Nevertheless, the band delivered the goods to a pretty packaged crowd playing some fine classic songs as well as some new material from the bands past 2 albums featuring Todd. Songs that were played were: (Intro) Guardian, Operation Mindcrime, Best I can, Damaged, The Killing Words, The Mission, Silent Lucidity, Empire, Eye9, Queen of the Reich, Jet city Women, Take hold of the Flame, (Encore) Screaming in Digital,  Eyes of a Stranger. All in all I thought the night was awesome, still a great band and still banging out heavier stuff than they did in recent years. If you haven't seen the band live I suggest you do so. Top class, welcome back the Queens(ryche). 

         The Forum London 21.6.16 (UK)

It has been something like 20yrs or so since I paid my 1st visit to The Forum in London, this was to see Dream Theater 'Awake' tour along with Fates Warning 'Inside Out' tour as support and what a great night that was. Now after 20yrs or so I return to the same venue to see the one and only might 'King Diamond'. It was 2006 when  King played the shore of the UK, and that time around his last appearance was at 'The Electric Ball Room' in London with support from After All and Mercenary. That was my 1st time I had seen the King Diamond band, a truly amazing night back then. I had seen Mercyful Fate before too at Wacken and Dyanmo back in the 90's.  King had made some amazing epic albums in the 80 & 90's and when you listen too the likes of 'Fatal Portrait' in 86, the bands debut which lead to more successful albums like 'Abigial', 'The Eye', 'Conspiracy', 'Them', which pretty much made King what he and his band are today. Various members have come and gone, some been Mikkey Dee (Motorhead), Pete Blakk, Timi Hansen, Snowy Shaw, Glen Drover, just to name a few. 

Now that King is still continuing to play live after some serious health issues the man just keeps on going and with having 2 of Sweden's finest guitarist's Andy LaRocque & Mike Wead the band are unstoppable!! You cannot slate Mike and Andy, they are Sweden's finest when it comes to a twin guitar assault and over the years the 2 have become a twin nuclear us outfit. I mean I have seen some amazing twin guitarist in my time, but when it comes to Sweden King Diamond has the gems. So tonight was going to be a night to remember by all who attended, and you really had to be there to know what I mean. 

Opening act came from N.W.O.B.H.M. act 'Angel Witch', the band led by long time vocalist and guitarist Kevin Heybourne when Kevin formed 'Lucifer' in 77 and the band recorded their single 'Baphomet' for the album 'Metal For Muthas' and later on the band were signed to Motorhead's label 'Bronz' in which the band recorded their debut album in 80 which was self titled and a great debut that was. It was followed up by 'Screaming & Bleeding' in 85, a long wait indeed but having problems with their label didn't help this album was released through Killerwatt Records. A fine 2nd album, which saw the band supporting some fine New Wave bands. Next came 'Final Assault' in 86 also for Killerwatt Records. Sadly the band broke up and they would return in later years when Kevin looked for new musicians to put the band back together. This time around he found Will Palmer (bass), Andy Prestridge (drums) to record 'As Above.. So Below' for Metal Blade records in 2012. Later on Bill Steer (Carcass) would play for the band for a short time but left due to the reformation of Carcass. Now the band's line up consists of new drummer Alan French and 2nd guitarist Jimmy Martin. So tonight was a great night packed full of scream old school Angel Witch fans and King Diamond fans joined together in one. It was kind of a black magic night kind of , two dark bands that came together. Angel Witch did a great performance which lasted roughly 40-45 minute set which ended with the bands classic 'Angel Witch', in which the crowd had there turn to have a sing along. Other songs that were played were: Gorgon, Confused, Dead Sea Scrolls, White Witch, Atlantis, Sorcerers, Dr. Phibes, Angel of Death, Baphomet and of course Angel Witch. Nice set list and a great opening band for such a dark and magical night. 

Next up of course was the one and only mighty 'King Diamond', one of Denmark's finest and most theoretical singers in Rock history, having been the founder member of Mercyful Fate prior to forming King Diamond band. Like Kiss and Alice Cooper, King in himself is also unique and creates some of the finest music that has ever come to be and is alot heavier then Kiss and Alice Cooper. King has his own stage set full of horror themes and a story to each song, with plenty of acting my actresses which makes his show well worth see in and listening too. King and Alice Cooper would make the perfect Halloween show in rock/ metal history and this is something that should happen, the ultimate horror show experience for sure. King has some fine songs and throughout his career his music has got better and better, and when you hear his early material Abigail, Conspiracy for me these are some amazing albums and it's a shame that King doesn't play the UK as often as he should really & I hope I don't have to wait another 10yrs or so before his return or a new album in fact. Besides King creating some impressive music he also has an amazing stage set that tells a story and in this case for this tour it was the celebration of the 'Abigail' album. 

Playing the whole album from start to finish that also included songs from Mercyful Fate and from King songs was a night to remember, with an incredible set from start to finish everybody who attended just walked away speechless and amazed, as so did I. The performance was second to none and I have see many shows in my life but this was one of the best without a doubt. Amazing vocals, superb guitar assault by Mike and Andy and a fine rhythm section by Pontus and Matt made this a night to remember.  Songs that were played were: Out of the Asylum, Welcome Home, Sleepless Nights, Halloween, Eye of the Witch, Melissa, Come to the Sabbath, Them. Funeral (intro), Arrival, A mansion in the Dark, The family Ghost, The 7th day of July 1777, Omens, The Possession, Abigail, Black Horsemen, Insanity (outro). What an amazing show, I just wish he played longer and I do hope there will be a live DVD out soon and of course a new album, it's about time. Long live the King!!!!


      Sheffield Corporation 15.4.16 (UK)  

Tonight was my 3rd concert of the year, a pretty bad start to the year, but at least I have seen 3 classic shows, Exodus, Over Kill and now the above. I have seen Canadian metaller's 'Anvil' a few times now since my 1st meet back in 83, when they supported 'Motorhead'. It has been just under a year since I last saw my Canadian brothers, it was good to see them, always is. As this was the 2nd show that I had seen with Christ Robertson I was looking forward to meet him again and of course Lips & Robbo. Anvil have had so much success more so since the movie had been released 'The Story of Anvil' back in roughly 2009. The band have released 4 albums since the movie was made 'This is Thirteen', 'Juggernaut of Justice' 'Hope in Hell' & their new stunning album 'Anvil is Anvil' which was released earlier this year. 

So see in the band once again to a packed house was exciting, the 3rd time I had seen the band in Sheffield in the last few years. This for Anvil was certainly the longest tour the band had done around Europe probably since Motorhead back in the day. A long 3 month tour almost that took the band to places they had never been to or hadn't visited in some years. Tonight was kind of strange as I have not seen the band as a support band since the tour with Saxon back in 2009, now that is some time ago. So with the band playing a 40-45 minute set the band had to pick what they thought were the best for their such short set which had to include songs from the new album.

Well the lights went down, the music started up and the crowd applause Anvil as they hit the stage. Crazy as Lips (vocals and guitars) might be and he is crazy and funny too, he actually didn't hit the stage but only to mingle in the crowd the the sound of the 1st song 'March of the Crabs' the bands anthem. Once the crowd realized what was going on Lips was hang put with the crowd with his guitar playing and his funny way of saying 'Hello Sheffield'.. thought the guitar pick, anybody who has seen the band before will know of this craziness. Both Rob and Chris delivered a powerful rhythm section whereas Lips just did is crazy thing. The band are tight and powerful as ever, playing some tracks that some would say could be Thrash, Speed or Power Metal. It doesn't bother these guys, they play heavy and heavy as fuck!! Songs that Anvil played were: March of the Crabs, 666, Badass Rock n Roll, Winged Assassins, Swing Thing (which featured Robs incredible drum solo and what an amazing drummer this guy is), Die for a Lie, and of course Metal on Metal. What can one say, Anvil is Anvil... a force to be reckoned with. The band are due back later in 2016 so keep an eye open.

Next up was the mighty 'U.D.O.', former 'Accept' singer who had done some amazing albums with the band, their finest work. When you look at such albums as 'Restless & Wild', 'Balls to the Wall', 'Metal Heart' and many more he actually did the best album that the band could produce. UDO Dirkschneider went solo 87 after leaving his previous band. His debut solo album 'ANimal House' came out the same year through RCA Records and in later yrs his current label AFM have re-released most of is back catalogue, re-mastered with bonus material so that's worth checking out!! UDO has done some fine metal albums over the yrs, delivering a strong German feel of Heavy Metal music for the last 2 decades. His recent released in the past few years have been 'Mastercutor', 'Dominator' & 'Steelhammer' and last years album 'Decadent' in 2015. The line up for the last 5 years has been the same up until former drummer Francesco Jovina left the band and later on joined Primal Fear. UDO's son Sven joined last year, and use to be Nigel from Saxon's drum tech, a great young drummer. Now that the band are now complete with UDO, Sven, Fitty, Kasperi and Andrey and stronger than ever. 

So tonight UDO returns to Sheffield, a year on this time at the Corporation Club to play a vast number of Accept songs, as this would be the last time the band would be performing any Accept songs and will con time writing and playing UDO songs in the near future. As this was the last time UDO would be playing classic Accept songs it was going to be a hard set list to put together. OK, UDo hits the stage, the crowd were ready for an evening of pure German metal from start to finish. As a singer UDO still has it, a perfect singer with a hell of a screaming voice, a small version of Rob Halford some might say. The band performed well, playing an hour and half set of magical metal. Songs played were: Starlight, Living for Tonite, Midnight Mover, Breaker, Head over Heels, Neon Knights, Princess of the Night, Winter Dreams, Restless & Wild, Son of a Bitch, Up to the Limit, Wrong is Right, Midnight Highway, Screaming for a love Bite, Monster man, T.V. War, Losers & Winners. Encores were: Metal Heart, I'm a Rebel, Fast as a Shark, Balls to the Wall, My Way. A great night my the German 'Metal God', so see them live on this tour if you can whilst it last. 

          Leeds University   7.4.15   (UK)  

Second gig for 2016, the first Exodus with Lost Society and now the Gods of Thrash Metal 'Over Kill' with support by Poland's Death Metal act 'Vader' and British thrasher's 'One Machine', an awesome bill for a good night of heavy brutal music. Having never been to this part of Leed's university known as 'Stylus' not the easiest of places to get too, but a pretty decent venue indeed. This was a pretty early start so you had to be there early to catch all the bands playing this evening. Tonight fans of extreme metal were in for a treat, a mixture of technical Thrash and Death Metal as well as classic Thrash was on the cards this evening, so a great night for open minded extreme metal maniacs. 

First up was 'One Machine', a young band from the UK, consisting of ex Biomechanical guitarist Jamie Hunt, who had recorded 3 albums with his previous band and 1 E.P.  and in 2008 the band released their last album 'Cannibalised' before joining forces with former Nevermore/ Testament/ Vicious Rumors guitarist Steve Smyth. The 2 had a common interest and soon built up a strong team of excellent guitarist in which Steve formed the band 'One Machine' & Jamie came later. It wasn't long before the 2 found former Mercenary singer Mikkel Sandager as their front man. The band recorded their debut album 'The Distortion of Lies', a great debut packed full of heavy riffs, technical tunes and high pitch vocals. It wasn't long after the album was recorded that Mikkel quit the band and the band soon found new singer Chris Hawkins, a singer who for me and many others is more expectable and easier to listen too than that of Mikkel's vocals. The band also consists of ex Savage Messiah bassist Stefano Selvatico joined the band for the bands 2nd album. The band in 2015 released their 2nd album 'The Final Cull', still on Scarlet Records and an even more impressive album with Chris sounds a little like Russ from Forbidden in certain places on this album. So tonight 'One Machine' was the opening act for the UK tour and a couple of dates in Europe. Joining the band on stage is Matt C also from Jamie's former band  Biomechanical, who later on went onto Monument, and Chaosanct. 

I think the turn was good and  and the crowd were ready for One Machine. This band hit the stage to deliver what can only be described as sheer power full of energy from start to finish. Playing a mixture of heaviness that Nevermore or Biomechanical with their own brand of Thrash Metal. Chris Hawkins is a fine young talented vocalist whereas the twin guitar assault of Jamie and Steve are like a time bomb and the rhythm section of Stefano and Matt delivered a fine powerful section to the bands performance. Songs played were: Forewarning, The Distortion of Lies, New motive Power, The final Cull, Summoning of the Souls. A great young band that will certainly be going places..

Next up was Polish Death Metal demigods 'Vader', the band that pretty much followed the footsteps of 'Morbid Angel', 'Slayer' and the aggression of German demigods 'Kreator' all rolled into one.  It's funny to see how much Vader sound like Morbid Angel, but only Vader's albums have much pretty production than Morbid Angel's albums. Formed back in 83 in Olsztyn (Poland) by guitarist  & vocalist Piotr (Peter) Wiwczarek who is the only remaining original members since the formation of the band. Back in the early days the band were influenced by the likes of Death & Possessed before the likes of Morbid Angel and other would follow. The band in 92 released their debut album 'The Ultimate Incantation' through Earache Records, and this was pretty much the beginning of what is now. Plenty of line-up changes, one death with former drummer Doc who sadly passed away in 95. The band have released 10 albums in total, the bands last album for Nuclear Blast 'Tibi Et Igni' was released in 2015, a great album but for me 'Welcome to the Morbid Reich' in 2011 was and will always be their best work in my opinion. So tonight Vader were about to b e the 2nd band n the bill, delivering a powerful and heavy as fuck set. I tell you I have seen this band before supporting Cannibal Corpse some years ago, but tonight they were incredible. Delivering a powerful and intense set from start to finish. As I was taking picture sin the press pit their energy almost blow me away. Stunned I was speechless, yes this band are the demigod of Polish metal. Joining Peter, is Marek Pajak (guitars), bassist Thomasz Halicki and British drummer James Stewart. Yes Vader proved once again after 10yrs of not see in the band live they can still kick some serious ass and they certainly gave Over Kill a run for their money. Songs played were: Wings, Go to Hell, Reborn in Flames, Sothis, Carnal, Triumph of Death, Come & see my Sacrifice, Cold Demons, Dark Age and Helleluyah (God is dead). If you have never heard Vader... listen to 'Welcome to the Morbid Reich' and go see them, amazing.

Next up were the Gods of Thrash Metal 'Over Kill', we all talk about the Big 4, but what about the Big 3? Over Kill, Exodus and Testament? These bands have played such an important roll in the Thrash metal scene since the dawn of time. Over Kill are no exceptions, delivering a powerful punch from the east coast of New York/ New Jersey, these guys deliver music that is second to none. Formed back in 1980 by D.D. Verni (bass) and Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth the 2 who are still the original members later on found ex Anthrax guitarist Dan Spitz and Rat Skates in the bands early stages, having released their demo 'Power in Black' in 83 saw the band appear on 2 compilations before the band were soon picked up by Megaforce and the debut album 'Feel the Fire' was released back in 85, and still to this day is a cult classic. The band pack a powerful Thrash Metal sound with some elements of Punk thrown in for good measures. With the debut off the ground it wasn't long before the band would release such great albums as 'Taking Over','Under the Influence', 'Years of Decay' , 'Horrorscope', 'Ironbound', 'Electric Age' and now 'White Devil Armory' the bands current album. Having seen the band since the 'Taking Over' album in 87 supporting Helloween I have been a massive fan of the bands work, never turned by back on them and never shall I. Bobby is one hell of an awesome front man, a great singer and  screamer when it comes to it, as for D.D. he is one hell of a bass player that has a sound of his own, like Lemmy and Steve Harris these 3 bass players have their own identity. Let's face it, you know which band it is when you hear the bass of the 3 above mentioned. Both guitarist Dave Linsk & Derek Tailer are also an important part of the song writing and playing within the band, fantastic guitarists. Sadly on this tour drummer Ron couldn't make the tour so the band have hired 'Pissing Razor's' drummer Eddy Garcia, who has really done the band justice and done a fine fill in. Tonight the band opened up to a full packed Thrash Metal audience, waiting to see and hear what the band had to offer. For me having seen the band tons of times, tonight was a special night, an anniversary of both 'Feel the Fire' and 'Horrorscope' albums, not seen the band on the 'Horrorscope' tour this was an incredible night for all, the band really played hard, fast and heavy as fuck!! Impressive set list from start to finish, they even blow me away. Fantastic set list, which is also going to be released as a DVD in the very near future, cant wait to see this. Set list from the band was: Armorist, Rotten to the Core, Electric Rattlesnake, Hello from the Gutter, Hammerhead, Feel the Fire, Blood & Iron, Coma, Infectious,  Blood Money, Bare Bone, Nice day.. For a funeral, Horrorscope, Thanx for Nothin, New Machine, Raise the Dead, Over Kill. Encore's were: Elimination, Fuck You. Absolutely a fantastic gig, one that I am glad I didn't miss, you if you are a fan of the band and never seen them then make sure you do on the next tour. 

      Fibbers - York  3.3.16  (UK)     

Well 3 months into 2016 and to be honest I haven't done a real gig since Hammerfall & Pretty Maids in Denmark last December, only having seen local bands so I really don't count them. So tonight in York was a long overdue gig that had to happen and I am so glad I had the opportunity to see Exodus again, last time I saw them was at Bloodstock a few years ago. So tonight was an exciting time to capture the band once again and with Steve Souza back in the band. 

So the 1st band I managed to capture live was 'Lost Society' from Finland, a young band formed in Finland back in 2010 when guitarist Samy Elbanna, who at that time was only 14yrs old who approached Ossi Paananen (drums), & guitarist Arttu Lesonen & bassist Mirko Lehtinen which complete the line up. In 2011 the band released their debut demo tape, which contained 3 songs, given them the chance to play a competition in which the band won and it wasn't long before the band were signed up. Nuclear Blast saw the potential in the band and soon snapped them up, their debut album 'Fast Loud Death' was released and well that was pretty much the beginning of what the band are now. In 2014 the band released their next album 'Terror Hungry', again a young band playing Thrash Metal, loud aggressive and full of energy, these young guys were ready to take on the world. Great reviews for this album led to the band recording their new album 'Braindead' in 2016 a cross between old school thrash with some new influences such as Machine Head, seem to work well for this young band. Not heard the band before nor seen them live it was a 1st for me, these young kids knew what they wanted and they played it well, really went down well with the crowd, so they really fired up the kids for the mighty Exodus who were soon to follow. Songs that the band played live were: Braindead, Kill, Hollow Eyes, Terror Hungry, I am the Antidote, Overdosed Brain, Riot, Riot, Only (my) death is Certain. A young and promising band that the younger generation will certainly love their music, old too.

Next up was of course the mighty 'Exodus', the bay area's thrash titan's having once had Kirk Hammett now with Metallica on guitars along with Gary Holt who is also a member of Slayer as well as Exodus. This band pretty much started out as one of the most aggressive thrash band to come out of the bay area with their debut album 'Bonded by Blood' which for it's time was a sick and heavy as fuck album, fronted by Paul Baloff who later on sadly passed away and was replaced by former 'Legacy' now 'Testament' front man Steve Souza who joined for the band's 2nd album 'Pleasures of the Flesh' in 87, this was pretty much the beginning of a long period for Steve and the rest of the band up until he left the band after the album 'Temp of the Damned' in 2004. Steve's replacement was Rob Duke in 2005 when the band recorded 'Shovel headed kill Machine', Rob stayed with the band up until 2014 with his last album 'Exhibit B...The human Condition'. 

As we all know Gary is helping his other band out at present Slayer, so for this tour his replacement is Heathen's 2nd guitarist Kragen Lum, who was once with the band 'Prototype' a technical Thrash band from California. It was good to see Steve back in the band, playing some of the classic's, some of Rob's songs as well as songs from the latest album 'Blood in... Blood Out', a killer album with a fantastic production. All the members for tonight really kicked some serious ass, Steve, Jack, Lee, Tom and Kragen showed York what a killing machine they really are, a brutal force to be reckoned with and if you haven't seen the band before #what the fuck have you been doing? I wasn't sure what state York Fibbers would be in after this band had played, I was surprised that the state of the building was still standing in one piece. It was great to see Fibber put on such a great band and I hope the band will return there next year. The band played an explosive set from start to finish with some kick ass songs that I couldn't fault and I think the crowd agreed. Songs that were played were: Black 13, Blood in Blood Out, And then there were None, Children of a lesser God, Deranged, Salt the Wound, Body Harvest, Metal Command, Piranha, A lesson in Violence, Blacklist, War is my Shepard, Impaler. Encore songs were: Bonded by Blood, Toxic Waltz, Strike of the Beast. Fantastic band , great songs and above all heavy as fuck... what more can you say about Exodus?

       Amager Bio - Copenhagen   3.12.15   (Denmark)       

This was my 1st time to Denmark or Scandinavia in general, so I was excited to be flying out there to see the sights and hear the sounds. So to be flying to see my all time favourite Danish metal band 'Pretty Maids' in their own country and city was something else. What a nice city Copenhagen is, a very interesting place full of bikes, a bit like Amsterdam. Two days of been in Copenhagen I 1st visited Malmo Sweden to see my old British buddies 'Saxon' 1st live before heading back to Denmark to see 'Pretty Maids' with support by Sweden's very own 'Hammerfall'. What a great line-up this was, 2 great nations, two classic 80;s style metal bands coming together for a festive night of Xmas metal spirit.

So tonight was a special night for me, not only see in Pretty Maids on their home turf but capturing the 2 bands that share similar style of music somewhat delivering a night of pure melodic Power Metal. First up was Sweden's very own 'Hammerfall', the band which was formed by Oscar Dronjak (guitars) and vocalist Joacim Cans, along with In Flames guitarist Jesper Stromblad, in which the 3 found other members to form the band, and it wasn't long before the band were soon picked up by Nuclear Blast and they released their debut album 'Glory to the Brave' in 97. A fine debut album, somewhat close to the likes of Helloween, Stratovarius for melody and speed with some excellent vocals by Joacim, who has also done a fantastic solo album 'Beyond the Gates' as well as worked with U.S. Epic Metal band 'Warlord'. Oscar and Joacim are the only 2 original members left from the original line-up, with various guitarists, bassists and drummers come and go. The band once featured long time drummer Anders Johansson (ex Yngwie) on drums but left the band in the last year to be replaced by 'Pain' drummer David Wallin. Also in the band is bassist Fredrik Larsson who has been in the band on and off since 97, joined by ex The Poodles guitarist Pontus Norgren, a fine guitarist indeed. 

Tonight the band played an impressive set playing some of the bands finest work and they really have had tons of success and plenty of albums to choose from, so I guess picking a set list must of been hard for both them and Pretty Maids. The lights went down, intro tape started and the band took to the stage with the powerful opening song 'Hector's Hymn'. Both guitarist played an impressive twin guitar assault from start to finish and with the rhythm section delivering a powerful punch along with powerful vocals this band meant business. With the band supporting their new album '(R)Evolution', the band really got the crowd going and ready for the main act. I really can't knock this band, they have always done some great work in the past, for me my all time favourite album is 'Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken', a classic album. Songs played tonight were: Hector's Hymn, Any means Necessary, Renegade, Blood Bound, Heading the Call, Let the hammer Fall, Live life Loud, 400 meter Meledy, Threshold, Last man Standing, Hammerfall, Bushido, Heart on Fire. Greta band, great songs well worth see in live.

Next up was of course the might 'Pretty Maids', the band that started back in 81 by Ronnie Atkins (vocals) and guitarist Ken Hammer, which were at the start called 'Pretty Pretty Panik', writing their own material, before UK label Bullet signed them up for their debut EP, which was self titled. It wasn't long before the band were soon picked up by CBS Records and in 84 the real birth of the band was born in the form of their debut album 'Red hot & Heavy', the album that got me into the band, thanks to Radio One 'Friday Rock Show', playing the title track. This song just blow me away and I was hooked on their music at the age of 14. Ever since I have been a die hard fan of the band. This band have gone from strength to strength with each album, playing melodic metal with a lot of Power Metal elements in their music. The band have wrote some fine albums such as 'Red Hot & Heavy', 'Future World', 'Jump the Gun' and in later years 'Sin Decade', 'Scream', 'Pandemonium', 'Motherland'. Ronnie is a fine singer and still manages to keep his voice in top shape, he still sounds like he did in the 80's. Whereas Kenneth Hammer, is still a fantastic guitarist, who never lets his fans down same can be said for Allen Tschicaja (drums), Rene Shades (Bass) & keyboard wizard Morten Sandager (ex Mercenary) to complete the line up which is now Pretty Maids.

Hitting the stage, both Danish fans and international fans that attended were in for a real treat with the band playing classic from the 80's, 90's and current songs which all went down really well. Ronnie is a great front man who certainly knows how to get the crowd going, cheering and singer along with the band. It was so great to see a band like this on their own soil playing amazing real metal music. I can't fault the band, their amazing musicians who write some of the best music in the world of Heavy Metal. Having seen the band 3 times now I know what they are capable of, so tonight I knew they wouldn't let the fans down. Song which were played were: Deranged, Psycho-Time-Bomb-Planet-Earth, It comes at Night, Final day of Innocence, Another shot of your Love, Rodeo, My soul to Take, Infinity/ Wasted, Savage Heart, Red hot & heavy, Yellow Rain, Pandemonium, I.N.V.U., Little drops of Heaven, Back to Back. Encore: Mother of all Lies, I see Ghosts, Please don't Leave Me (John Sykes), Future World, A Merry Jingle. What a great gig to end the year on, a great show by both bands, great songs, great crowd and friend, what more could you ask for. I await the next album I'm sure it will kick arse just as much as the band do live.

      KB Club -  Malmo    2.12.15   (Sweden)   

It's always good to see my brother's in Saxon, I can't remember how many times I have seen the band live... almost every tour since 'Crusader' when they played in my home city Hull (UK) back in the day. I think I have only ever missed one tour.. that been 'Lionheart' since I don't recall any Yorkshire dates sadly. Saxon are a band like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead and Black Sabbath that go from strength to strength, after all these bands are the godfathers of Heavy Metal music and without these bands there wouldn't be the rest that followed. Yorkshire based band Saxon, have been making quality albums since the early 80's, albums such as their self titled debut in 79, but the band really didn't make much of an impact up until they released their next album 'Wheels of Steel', which saw them on the UK's Top of the Pops' with the single 'Wheels of Steel', which entered the charts and saw the band playing the very 1st 'Monsters of Rock' festival along with Rainbow, Judas Priest, The Scorpions and so on.... More albums followed and more success, evening breaking it in the States in later years the band have certainly maide history and influenced so many bands out there. 

For me, Saxon have always played a big part in my up bring of music along with Judas Priest & Tygers of Pan Tang as a child and the turning point for me that really made me a bigger fan than I already was, was the album 'Metal Head', a fantastic album packed full of energy, typical Saxon style guitar sound but a lot heavier, to a point were the band almost or have become a Power Metal band. Nothing wrong with that, it's certainly done the band a lot of justice. The last time I saw the band live before tonight was in Nottingham 'Rock City' earlier this year for the 'Warriors of the Road' tour, with Sven Dirkschneider standing in for Nigel whilst he recovered from his operation. A great night that was, the band played well as always and the crowd loved every minute of the show.

Tonight for me was a special night, we it was my 1st time to Sweden, so I really enjoyed my visit there and I hope to return next year. The show tonight was in Malmo (Sweden), just over the Danish border, a little town which was a great place to visit, clean tidy place and some fine ladies. The club 'KB' is a great little venue, sort of reminded me of the old 'Bradford Rio's Club' here in the UK, a great lighting system, great sound and when packed as tonight was the overall experience was fantastic. Saxon on tour with Motorhead & Gilrschool took a night off to headline their own show here at the KB club. Support for the night was 'Pain of Passion', a sleeze band that were ok but not really the best choice for Saxon I must admit.

Saxon hit the stage at about 9pm to an amazing crowd attendance showing their love for the band and as soon as the intro tape was played the crowd were ready for a night of real Heavy Metal thunder. Biff & the boys played a fantastic set olf old and new songs from start to finish, of course the classic, some not so classics but still as a good as the classics and new songs which went down well. 'Battering Ram' is a fine new album, heavy and full of energy and well worth checking out. With the twin guitar assaults by Doug & Paul the two work extremely well together, and Paul is a totally underrated guitarist that deserves more respect (ask any band out there). Rhythm section by Nigel and Nibss work extremely well too, Nibbs is a animal on stage, a real Rock Star and professional indeed, and with Nigel's powerful drum assault makes the band one of the best in the business. Biff's vocals are still on top form, like most of the older vocalist they seem to look after their voices well.

I am so glad I went to this show, met some new friends, hanged out with the boys and the set list was superb. Songs played were: Battering Ram, Motorcycle Man, Sacrifice, Destoyer, Pwer & the Glory, 20.000 Ft, The devils Footprint, Heavy Metal Thunder, Eye of the Storm, The eagle has Landed, Broken Heroes, Queen of Hearts, Battalions of Steel, Crusader, And the bands played On, Princess of the Night. Encore songs were: Wheels of Steel, Never Surrender, Strong arm of the Law, Denim and Leather. Great band, great show what more can I say? Go see them live next year with Motorhead, you won't be disappointed.

        Bradford St George's Hall     23.11.15   (UK)    

Well the 'Metal Gods' return to the shores of their homeland 'Britain' for their long awaited recent tour, in support to the bands latest album 'Redeemer of Souls', which was released last year through Sony. The band are along with Black Sabbath the Godfathers of Heavy Metal music, other bands followed Iron Maiden, Motorhead & Saxon to name a few, but for Judas Priest the introduction of Leather & studs was something that shocked the world with their outrageous blistering Heavy Metal sound of twin guitars both by Glenn Tipton & K.K Downing with the screams of Rob Halford was their trade mark. 

The band have done properly some of the finest work in the history of Heavy Metal music history, such albums as 'British Steel', 'Sin after Sin', 'Screaming for Vengeance', 'Defenders of the Faith' and later years 'Painkiller' the band heaviest album to date. With Rob leaving the band to pursue a solo career with 'Fight' & 'Halford', he was replaced by Tim 'Ripper' Owens, a fine replacement who recorded 2 albums. Rob later on returned, with the album 'Angel of Retribution' and 'Nostradamus', this would be K.K.'s last album with the band sadly. Only to be replaced by a young enthusiastic guitarist named Richie Faulkner (former Lauren Harris band). The tour which we all thought was the end of the band would be titled 'Epitaph' tour, a live DVD in which was released, but with the help and support from the fans, the band continued and recorded 'Redeemer of Souls'. 

Now the band were on tour for the support of this album, touring the world and finally hitting the shores of the UK towards the end of November of this year. Tonight (Bradford) was the 1st night of the UK tour, playing St Georges Hall, a place I would visit when I was in the late teens, see in the likes of Ozzy, Metallica, Queensryche, to name a few. Funny how a place can look so much bigger when you're a kid, only to find out later on it is rather small, but in the case of Judas Priest a fantastic night for the debut UK show for 2015. I am so glad that I saw the band here, I was like 2nd row from the front and got a great view of the band, I have never been this close in the crowd to see in the band live, and I've followed the band live since 'Ram it Down' tour in 88. 

Well the light's went down, the intro to Black Sabbath's 'War Pigs' started in which the crowd soon were chanting the words and clapping, that was until the intro for the band came on... excited time was had by all, to were the band came onto 'Battle Cry' which led into 'Dragonaut', a fine opening song to which the likes of all priest fans were soon getting into the spirit and as soon as Rob 'The Metal God' Halford, hit the stage the crowd went nuts, a well deserved cheer was had by all. fantastic light show, amazing twin guitar assault by Glenn & Richie, with the rhythm section by Ian Hill and Scott Travis making the songs shine through. Richie and Glenn work well together and I guess you could say Richie is a younger version of K.K. but with his own style of playing and sound, across between K.K. and Zakk Wylde. Scott Travis is an awesome drummer, no doubt about that, so glad he is still with the band and one of my all time favourtie drummers. Rob however, is defiantly on top form, and is singing at his best in some time, a shock to many who didn't believe he could still do it, well he can and he is still the 'Metal God', no doubt about that.

Songs that the band played were: Metal Gods, Desert Plains, Victim of Changes, Gates of Valhalla, The Rage, Turbo Lover, Redeemer of Souls, Beyond the realms of Death, Screaming for Vengeance, Breaking the Law, Hell bent for Leather. With Encores been: The Hellion/ Electric Eye, You've got another thing Comin, Painkiller, Living after Midnight. What an amazing show, so glad I saw them again in Manchester. If you haven't seen the Priest before, make sure you do on their next tour, you may regret it. Long live the gods of real Heavy Metal!! You the funny thing folks? I didn't even have a photo pass, only used by cell (mobile phone).

    York Fibbers  (UK)    28.10.15  

It's been some time since I saw 'The Voice of Rock' live, I think the last time was in Bradford with Joe Lynn Turner project, and that was some awesome show, 2 musicians that have worked with Richie Blackmore in the past. I have seen Glenn Hughes a few times throughout the 90s, my 1st experience was when he released the album 'From now On', for me that was the album that really made me a fan of his work and his incredible voice. Glenn has done various projects has you may already know, Black Country Communion and California Breed to name a few.

This time around Glenn has teamed up with a guitar wizard, not many around these days in the likes of Doug Aldritch, former Whitesnake guitarist, a man who is so influenced by the likes of John Sykes and Dave Meniketti (Y&T) in his style and sound, nothing wrong with that at all, there 2 amazing guitarist no doubt about that. 

Both musicians Hughes and Aldritch have shared the same stage together in the past, one moment I do remember is the Jim Marshall memorial show in London with various other musicians, so I guess that had brought the 2 together. The 2 have not as far as I know recorded an album together yet, but I am sure this will be the next big thing for the 2 of them in 2016, let's hope so. 

So tonight was another memory for me and to recall just how much of an amazing singer Glenn his live, having not seen him in a few years, he still managed to capture the sheer power life with his dynamic vocals that we have all grown to love. 

With Doug's amazing guitar sound and amazing solo's this was a night I will not forget for some time. Tonight was like 2 Rock Gods colliding and 1 hell of an atom bomb going off, the Voice and the guitar wizard speaks louder than words. Anybody who saw this tour or was at this gig is going to walk out the building at the end and talk about just how awesome the show was.

A good turn out in the historical city of York showed both Glenn and Doug some true rock love form start to finish. I had the pleasure of meet Doug, what a true gentleman is he, sadly I didn't get to meet Glenn, would of been nice to catch up with an old friend, never mind the show was awesome from start to finish. Songs played were from Deep Purple, California Breed, and Black Country Communion as well as Glenn's solo material. 

The set list included : Stormbringer, Orion, Way back to the Bone, First step of Love, Tough my Life, Sail Away, Good to be Bad, guitar solo,  Mistreated, Can't stop the Flood, Jam (guitar and drum solo), One last Soul, Soul Mover, with encore including Burn. 

A great night had by all, 2 amazing musicians, now we await the new album by both at hand. The Voice of Rock returns, what more can I say? 

      Yardbirds  - Grimsby (UK) 20.9.15  

Well tonight was the night to see the one and only Mike Tramp, formerly with White Lion, the band who were very successful back in the 80's and early 90's. When the band recorded 4 albums, their 1st been 'Fight to Survive' in 85, originally released Grand Slamm and later on re-released. This album was a great debut album fill packed of some of their finest work of melodic Metal, in the vain at times of Van Halen, Dokken, Ratt to name a few. It wasn't much longer before the band were signed to Atlantic Records and their next album would be released 'Pride' in  87, followed by 'Big Game' and 'Mane Attraction' in 91. 

The band later on broke up leaving Mike Tramp (Danish born singer) to carry on with the bands name with new musicians and 2 more albums would be recorded 'Remembering White Lion'  99 & 'Return of the Pride' in 2008. In between White Lion's split up and reformation, Mike started his next career with Freak of Nature, a band that had more of a Y&T, Dokken feel to their music. 

Mike Tramp later on went solo and did an acoustic album and solo tour. His 1st solo album released in 2002 'Recovering the wasted Years' was followed by 'More to life than This' 2003, which was followed up by a further 5 more solo albums.

This was the 2nd time I had seen Mike live in Yardbirds, 1st time around was just Mike on his won with his acoustic guitar, which wasn't a bad night, but I much prefer an artist with a band, and I am glad this time Mike did just that. He actually brought his support band with him to actually play his won songs too. I wasn't sure what the band were called but these young Danish musicians certainly did Mike justice and proud, 3 young guys who knew how to rock. I enjoyed the show more than the 1st time around, which mike showing his vocal abilities which were stronger with a full band behind him, playing songs from White Lion's days to his solo career material. 

I noticed that no Freak of Nature material was played that night which is a shame, they were good albums to say the least. With a good turn out and a cheering and singing along crowd the gig was impressive and Mike certainly had a great time. He certainly likes playing Yardbirds and why not? It's a kick ass club to play. 

Songs that were played that night were: Hungry, Edge, Trust, Mountain, Tell Me, Revolution, Who can you Believe, Cobblestone Street, Fighter, Better Off, Give it All, Broken Heart, Children Cry, & More to Life. All in all a good night, and I hope Mike Tramp returns next time with a real full on Hard Rock set, no acoustic guitars just in you're face Hard Rock/ Metal. I never got to see White Lion so it would be great to see this happen next time around. Can't deny Mike is a great singer. In the meantime check out his new solo album 'Nomad'.

   The Venue -  Selby (UK)        23.7.15   

Another gig in just over a week, last one was Anvil and this time I was back to Selby's 'The Venue', formerly known as 'Riverside'. The first time I went to this club was for my other mate's band 'One Machine', ex Testament Steve Smyth. This time around it was to see an old friend Tim 'Ripper' Owen's, formerly with Judas Priest,  which his main work for best known for, other bands include Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen/ Beyond Fear, Dio Disciples, Charred walls of the Damned, Winters Bane, to name a few... Since the early days of Winter's Bane, Tim's 1st recording band he went onto stadium joining his idol's Judas Priest, in which Tim recorded 2 albums with the band 'Jugualtor' a fine album which was a heavy album, some say could be 'Painkiller' part 2, and 'Demolition', which saw the music in a less aggressive approach. both albums were released on SPV in Europe and the UK. With those 2 albums released the band also recorded a live DVD from London's Brixton Academy, a fine release. Tim is an incredible singer with power and various ranges to his voice which make him one of the top metal singers, certainly one of the top metal screamers. 

Having seen Tim with pretty much all the bands he's worked with, except for Winter's Bane and Charred Walls of the Damned, I have to say he is a top performer, totally professional and a true down to earth guy. In the last 20yrs or so Tim has come a long way proving that he is one of the best metal singers in some time, having played with some of the best and properly recorded some of their finest works. Tonight was a night I wouldn't forget for some time, with the last time I saw and met Tim was at Bloodstock when he sang for Dio Disciples, what a great performance that was. Now it was time to see Tim and his band, a great band under the name of 'Sandstone' a great band from Ireland, who I believe have released 2 albums, and remind me of Fates Warning type of Progressive Metal, you need to check out. 

Tim's band are truly professional at what they do and tonight I saw just that. Tonight saw 5 bands in total, most of which I missed due to interviewing Tim, sorry to the support bands. As Tim hit the stage with his band the intro to 'Jugualtor' came on and yes it was amazing to actually see Tim play this song, as his previous band never played it for some strange reason. This song is fucking amazing, totally in you're face metal song and a great opening song. The crowd loved it as the place was packed out, and I could certainly see a few heads shaking. A great start to a awesome gig, With the crowd nicely warmed up the mayhem continued as Tim and the boys took the roof the Selby's 'The Venue', a great place for bands to play I must say. 

As the set went on Tim really got the crowd going and with his powerful vocals this was one hell of a show. Bare in mind, it must be hard to pick the perfect set list considering you have done so many fine songs. Heavy Metal is certainly back as Tim Ripper Ownes proved it as the 'Scream Machine' played an epic set. The songs that were played were: Jugulator, The Ripper, Diamonds & Rust, Iced Earth Melody (Green face/ Red Barron/ 10.000 Strong), Dead Meat, Cathedral Spires, Painkiller, Green Manalishi, Abigail, Lost & Found, It is Me, Scream Machine, Metal Gods, Bullet Train, Starting Over, Te Human Race, Blood Stained, Burn in Hell. With Encores songs: Deathrow, One on One and Livin after Midnight. What a great show by one of the finest singers in metal and his band were truly impressive young musicians, can't wait to hear their music again. If you missed Tim this time around, make sure you don't on the next oen, as Tim has said he will be back in 2016, cant wait!! The Scream Machine kicks serious ass!!

      Sheffield 02 Academy (UK)   14.7.15           

Well this year hasn't been the great got gigs for me, only 5 so far this year and were 7 month into the year, but I am glad to say that what I have seen this year have been great & I've really enjoyed. All of which are good friends of mine, and now it's time for the next gig. Tonight I'm in Sheffield (UK) Yorkshire to see one of the bands I grew up with, yes folks were talking about Canada's mighty 'Anvil'. As you all know this band are no strangers to the music industry, having made in total 15 albums since their debut 'Hard & Heavy' was released in 81 through Attic Records, Canadian based label. 

Since the band released that album the band have made some impressive albums throughout their career, and in this bands case the next 2 albums would change the course of metal forever... these been 'Metal on Metal' in 82 and 'Forged in Fire' (in 83, this album was the tour I 1st met Anvil ) and I've stood by the band ever since. I guess you could say I'm die hard fan. Sadly the band made 1 more album with original guitarist Dave Allison 'Pound for Pound' in 88, and the next album 'Worth the Weight' in 92 saw bassist Ian Dickson leave the band before the next album was released. The band have had a few line up changes with bass player and guitarist, and in 2007 Ivan Hurd (guitars) played his last album with the band, the album that pretty much uplifted the bands career once again 'This is Thirteen', the album which also saw the movie 'The story of Anvil' one of the best music documentary's ever!! 

G5 did the next album 'Juggernaut of Justice' in 2011 then left the band to be replaced by Sal Italiano (ex Cities) to the ranks. The band toured successfully for this album and then Sal left the band only to be replaced by bassist  Chris Robertson, who is now on tour with the band as we speak. Chris is a great bassist and really cool guy just like G5 and Sal, in which I've had the pleasure of meeting all 3 bassist as well as Ian back in the day.

So tonight was an evening with Thrash/ Speed Metal God's 'Anvil' to a pretty packed crowd who just wanted to see the band live. Some fans had seen them before and some new kids were eager to witness this fine live power trio. Both Lips and Robb Reiner are great musician's and really cool and good friends so I was pleased to meet my old buddies and hang out with them once again. So the band were about to hit the stage with the band opening up with the lovely instrumental 'March of the Crabs', a power song indeed which just goes to show how tight and powerful this band are. At one point the guitars were heard but no Lips on stage, he'd actually got into the crowd and became close to his fans, this was funny and really cool to watch. With the instrumental out of the way it was time to watch the rest of the set (and film the show at the same time) thanx guys!! The band really kicked serious arse as always, and with Robb playing an impressive drum solo, a drummer who is very organic and 1 of the best I've seen in the middle of 'Swing Thing', was so powerful to watch.... Jazz meets Metal!! 

Other songs played were: 666, School Love, Badsass Rock & Roll, Winged Assassins, This is Thirteen, Mortha, (guitar solo), On Fire, Thumb Hang, Swing Thing, Hope in Hell, Eat your Words, Metal on Metal (of course), and encores been Born to be Wild (Mars Bonfire cover). Fantastic gig, great band... what more can I say? If you like metal... watch the film and go watch the band after the movie, you wont be disappointed. New album to be recorded this October titled 'Anvil is Anvil', I've seen some of the artwork but I'm not telling you haha!!!!

   Riverside Club   Selby  (UK)    1.5.15          

One Machine maybe a new name to most of you, but when you find out who in this band then you maybe surprised, I certainly was when I first heard the bands name. One Machine is the band put together by ex Nevermore/ Vicious Rumors/ Forbidden/ & Testament guitar wizard Steve Smyth, who I 1st met at the Dynamo festival in Holland back in 97 roughly. Steve has come a long way since his days with Vicious Rumors, having performed with some of the finest Thrash Metal bands around in a decade, his last live band was 'Forbidden', sadly the band made a comeback album 'Omega Wave', which was released on Nuclear Blast didn't quiet give the band the success of the bands previous albums. But now Steve is back with another guitar wizard Jamie Hunt (Biochemical) who teamed up to make this impressive new band, which also in the early days and recording of their debut album also featured Mikkel Sandager (ex Mercenary). 

The 3 got together and looked for a drummer Raphael Saini but left later on, and bassist Tomas Koefoed. The band recorded the album 'The Distortion of Lies & the overdriven Truth'. This album was an impressive released which came out of Italian label 'Scarlet' records. This album has a mixture of Nevermore, Forbidden, Biochemical and the aggressiveness of Testament all thrown into one. So if you don't have a copy then check it out, its packed full of technical riffs, screaming vocals and some impressive music. 

Since the release of the album Mikkel quit the band and the search for a new singer had to be found, this time around it was Chris Hawkins, with drummer Michele Sanna and new bassist Stefano Selvatico (ex Savage Messiah). So I set off to Selby's 'Riverside' club to see the band live and to catch up with my old friend Steve, were I ended up interviewing him too. I have to say that Selby's 'Riverside' club is a decent place with great lighting, ideal for bands who wish to play there, so I do recommend that you should play there if you're in a band. So tonight I was in for a great night of pure technical Thrash Metal, which made a change as I haven't seen a band that play this sort of stuff for some time. SO tonight was going to be a great show I could tell. As always the light dimmed and the show started. From the start to the finish the power and energy that this band proved to have on stage was unbelievable intense and amazing from start to finish. 

New singer Chris Hawkins proved he could handle the songs as good and Mikkel with his versions of screaming vocals and with the rest of the band providing some impressive playing nothing could stop the band live. It was good to see the band also cover Black Sabbath song 'Computer God', this was a great version, heavy and with some great vocals. I just hope they record this for the next album. 

Other songs played were: Kill The hope Inside, Crossed Over, The Distortion of lies, Armchair Warriors, Defiance, Last star Alight, Into Nothing, One Machine, Evict the Enemy, DNR (Testament cover) and of course Computer God. Great night, great band well wroth checking out live and also check out their CD.

      Yard Birds  Grimsby (UK)    3.4.15    

It's always good to come back to the great Yard Birds club in Grimsby (UK), a venue that certainly has made a name for itself having had plenty of international starts passing through, some small, some big but nevertheless it's a venue you need to check out if there's a band you want to see. Tonight was the comeback of UK AOR Hard Rock band 'FM', the band who has much great success in the 80's and early to mid 90's. This London based band were formed back in 84 by former Samson members Pete Jupp and Merv Goldsworthy who later met up with brothers  Steve & Chris Overland and later on Didge Digital would join the band. 

FM have released some classic album back in the 80's, such as 'Indisgreet' in 86 which featured the singles 'That Girl', 'Frozen Heart', this was a great debut album which saw the band embark on a successful UK & European tour. With Portrait Records, part of Epic the band became stars before they even knew it. The band's 2nd album 'Tough It Out' in 89, was yet another fine album that was another step up the ladder for the band, which featured songs like 'Bad Luck', 'Don't Stop', saw the band moving forward at a strong pace. 

It was in roughly 91/92 when I last saw the band in Hull (UK) with support came from Romeo's Daughter, and I remember interviewing FM at that show. Tonight I wasn't sure how many would turn up for this show, but with a pretty packed out audience I was surprised and having seen a few bands here at Yard Birds I have the feeling that AOR/ Hard Rock is pretty much a birth place here at Yard Birds, the crowd here tend to like this form of music than any other type of metal music. 

So with a packed crowd ready to see FM hit the stage in the last few years, the audience cheered as the band hit the stage to a warm welcoming by the fans. Steve certainly has the voice still, rather amazing and he has certainly looked after his voice. Original bassist Merv looks different, took me a while to recognize him and with Pete, the 3 have kept the band alive and strong. Newer members, Jim Kirkpatrick (guitars) and keyboardist Jem Davis have added a superb blend of musician's to the group. With the band releasing 'Heroes and Villains' through Frontiers this month, the album is a decent comeback and with the band on top form this was a great nite. 

Songs the band played were: Tough Love, I belong to the Night, Don't Stop, Closer to Heaven, Digging up the Dirt, Let love be the Leader, That Girl, Wildside, Bad Luck, Frozen Heart, Crosstown Train, Tough it Out, Burning my heart Down, Story of my Life, Other side of Midnight, sadly they didn't play 'Heard it through the Grapevine'.

 A great band still having what it takes to make a good Hard Rock AOR band, and there's not many of those left sadly. If you get a chance to see them live do so, I hope they come back to Yard Birds.... time will tell!!

        Sheffield 02 (UK)  2.4.15       

Well it has been some years since I last saw U.D.O., in fact 2010 in Germany at 'Bang Your Head' festival, which is a great festival, I might even go back this year not sure yet.  So see in the band again tonight was a pleasant surprise as the band only announced  2 UK shows, Sheffield was added as the bands 1st date, so having only to travel for a hour and half was better than traveling to London.  In fact it was also great to see U.D.O in small club instead of a festival, so I managed to get some decent shots of the show. This was the 3rd time I had seen U.D.O & met the man himself, so ti was nice to actually interview in person instead of the phone. Before the show started I met and interview UDO, so I got 20 minutes with him, which I'm going add to the recent interview I did in December. Well UDO and his band have been around for some time, once the front man for Accept, UDO Dirkschneider has become the German Metal God for some years now, having released 15 albums to date as a solo artist, he has created some of the finest German metal music since The Scorpions, playing melodic metal music with a Power Metal edge this band just go from strength to strength and with the last couple of albums proving sheer power such as 'Steel Hammer', 'Rev-Raptor' and now 'Decadent' released in 2015 the band just keep on delivering quality albums. The last 2 albums have seen guitarists Kasperi Heukkinen from Finland, and Russian guitarist Andrey Smirnov, the 2 new boys prove that they can deliver some impressive riffs. Since the release of the new album drummer Francesco Jovino decided to quit the band, and was recently replaced by UDO's song Sven Dirkschneider, who last year was the drum tech for Saxon and recently finished the Saxon UK tour in March as a stand in drummer. Sven is a awesome 21 yrs old drummer who has a great future as a drummer with our without U.D.O . band. 

Tonight was a great night, in Sheffield's 02 Academy in South Yorkshire (UK), in the small room, were a packed audience welcomed the band with open arms. Support band 'Sister Sin', are a 4 piece band from Gothenburg (Sweden), who have recorded and features a female front lady known as Liv Jagrell, who kind of looks like Doro with Black hair and kind of has the same moves... rather interesting to say there least. She certainly has the moves and is a good front man that knows who to get the crowd going. The bands also features bassist Strandh, guitarist Jimmy Hiltula and drummer Dave Sandberg. Together the band have recorded 6 albums to date, the bands debut 'Dance of the Wicked' was released 2003, and the band latest release 'Black Lotus' was released in 2014 under the label Victory, the label who had a lot of Hardcore bands. So who are these guys, what do they sound like? Well if you like you're music hard edge Glam/ Sleeze then this is the band for you, maybe they have hints of Motorhead in their music too. I have to say they were pretty good at what they do. Songs they played were: Food for Worms, Outrage, Chaos Royale, Heading for Hell, 24/7 (UDO Cover), Desert Queen, Fight Song, Sail North. 

Next to hit the stage was the one and only 'U.D.O.',  a very excited young and old crowd waited as the intro started up, and it wasn't long before the band hit the stage. As always UDO himself came on stage in combat clothes and of course delivering the goods. Both guitarist Kasperi & Andrey deliver a powerful twin guitar assault of melodic riffs and at the same time nuclear twin assault riffs. Drummer Sven is a great young musician with lots of potentials, a great future having drummed for Saxon a couple of months ago. I am sure if he had his won band they would certainly kick ass, a very gifted drummer and a great asset to the band. The band played an incredible 2 hr set which also included an acoustic set for about 3 songs which really was interesting and great to watch. UDO is without doubt the German Metal God. A great set list which included some of his finest hits, a set list which always becomes harder when you record more and more albums. If you get the chance to see U.D.O. live then do you, you will not be disappointed, great band. Set list for the night included: Speeder, Blitz the Lighting, King of Mean, Decadent, Independence Day,  Black Widow, Never cross my Mind, The bullet & the Bomb, Under your Skin, Tears of the Clown, Secrets of Paradise, Faceless World, Pain, Untouchable, Let me Out, Metal Machine, Metal Eater, Break the Rules, Princess of the Dawn, I'm a Rebel, & Fast as a Shark. An awesome night. 


           Yard Birds  Grimsby   (UK)    11.3.15     

It was good to finally do yet another gig, this time it was my 2nd show for 2015... the last year had been rather slow to say the least, I've missed so many great shows but I am hoping some decent shows will follow in 2015. Until then it's back to a great venue 'Yard Birds' in Grimsby (UK), a place where so many great bands and singers have played throughout the last 10yrs. To think that such a small club could host the likes of Joe Belladonna (Anthrax), to Pagan's Mind, Eden's Curse, Fatal Smile and so many more great acts this is a great venue indeed. A place I highly recommend. Tonight was impressive UK band 'Tainted Nation', which also features former The Poodles bassist Pontus Egberg, who is now the new bassist for King Diamond (I'm so happy for him.. I love King Diamond's music), along with front man Pete Newdeck, formerly the drummer for Eden's Curse, who is the vocalist for this act, whereas the drums are handled by Mark Cross (Ex Metalium/ Fire Wind) not to name a few. Along with guitarist Ian Nash, the guitarist for Lionsheart to complete the line up. The band have also recruited a 2nd guitarist Joel Peter's ex Fury (UK) to to rooster. 

A pretty impressive line-up to say the least makes this band pretty impressive if you don't mind me saying. I 1st saw the band in London supporting Pretty Maids back in 2013, a great show and it was a pleasure to see this band back then. The band so far to date have released 1 album titled 'F.E.A.R.' through Massacre Records and are almost done with the current album which should see the light of day this summer if not before, once the band have a label deal. Tonight was a great night even though their set list was short due to another band on before them from Sweden, sadly I missed this act. But what I did see of Tainted Nation was a clear and powerful set, despite Pete been under the weather they certainly pulled it off. A warm welcoming by the crowd as this was the bands 2nd time at the club, saw the band take the stage by storm. Songs they played were: Dare You, Nothing like you Seem, Defiance, Fight, Ordinary Life, Who's Watching, Karma & Loser. A great set by an interesting melodic metal band. I await the new CD.

Next up was the main act 'Eclipse' from Sweden, the band what was formed back in 1999 by Erik Martensson (vocals) when he found guitarist Magnus Hendriksson, drummer Robban Back and bassist Magnus Ulfstedt to complete the line ip. It wasn't long before the band soon started to record album and their debut album 'The Truth & Little More' through Z Records back in 2001, which was a great debut album but sadly the label didn't do the band any justice and it was soon short lived. Good new was that Frontiers from Italy soon saw a great future for the band and signed them up for the next album 'Second to None' in 2004. 

This was a fine album mixing the melodic metal & AOR combined that worked really well for the band. A mixture between Journey, Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, to name a few. I very Celtic feel within their music, which mixes well with the Swedish elements. The band have recorded so far 5 albums, the bands current album 'Armageddonize', is certainly making waves and selling really well considering it's only been out about a month and the live shows prove that this band are a great Swedish outfit. Songs that they played were: I don't wanna say I'm Sorry, Stand on you're Feet, Wake me Up, The Storm, Battlegrounds, Breakdown, Blood Enemies, Wide Open, Ain't dead Yet, Bleed & Scream and Breaking my heart Again. A great Swedish band but some of the best musician's come out of Scandinavia, here's one of them. great melodic metal act, well worth checking out. 

    Nottingham Rock City  (UK)    4.2.15   

Once again it was time for me to see the mighty 'Saxon', I can't remember how many times I have seen this band now... at least 60 times and they once have left me down! They always come up on top form delivering the goods with an exciting and powerful set from start to finish. Sadly tonight was a early start due to the night club opening for usual business from 10pm, so I sadly missed almost all of 'Hells' Set sadly, but what I did see of the band were as good as last December in Leeds. A very theatrical set by a great front man indeed and music that was 2nd to none. Hell are a band well worth checking out not only because they play quality metal but the they have a great presence. 

And so it was time for 'Saxon'' to hit the stage, this time with a difference. As we all know drummer Nigel Glockler is resting at the moment have been admitted into hospital and is now making a full recovery thank God. So tonight was the opportunity for UDO Dirkschneider's son Sven Dirkschneider who did an amazing job to say the least. If you were to shut you're eye you would almost think it was Nigel on drums. The band couldn't of asked for a better stand in to finish this tour which should of ended last year but like I said Nigel was admitted into hospital. Sven nailed it and certainly got the crowd behind him with their warm welcome and support. Now Sven has now joined his dad's band U.D.O. as their new drummer, so good luck to him. Getting back to a packed crowd at Nottingham's very own 'Rock City' known for so many gigs, it was in 2007 when I last saw Saxon on their 'Inner Sanctum' tour with support back then been Masterplan. Tonight the crowd were in for a real treat, with the band playing classic songs from the past few decades, the classic with a few newer songs thrown in too. 

With the band having success on a world-wide basis they have continued to grow and build up a new fan base with the younger generation as I noticed at this show, which makes the band wanting to create more music for the new and older fans of the present and future. I am sure that the band will carry on growing and writing classic style Saxon music along with a more modern Power Metal style also thrown into their music to create a more fresher sound. Either way, tonight the crowd saw Saxon at their best, an excellent front man Biff Byford and with Nibbs Carter showing the crowd just how mad and crazy he is on stage with his whirlwind head banging really makes the night up. With the 2 twin guitar assaults by Paul Quinn & Dough Scarratt, the band are a nuclear assault to any fan new and old. The band played songs from their classic albums such as: Saxon, Power & the Glory, Crusader, Strong arm of the Law, Denim & Leather, as well as albums like their current release 'Sacrifice'. 

All in all this was a great night which saw the crowd certainly getting involved with singing and head banging. Songs that the band played this time around were: Motorcycle Man, Sacrifice, Power & the Glory, And the bands played On, To Hell & back Again, I've got to Rock (To stay Alive), Forever Free, Dallas 1 PM, Solid ball of Rock, 20.000 ft, Suzie hold On, The Eagle has Landed, Never Surrender, Heavy Metal Thunder, 747 (Strangers in the Night), Crusader, Princess of the Night, with encores been : Wheels of Steel, Strong arm of the Law, Denim & Leather. What a great night had by all new and old  as fans were delighted to see that the eagle had landed to deliver to goods. Still after 2 decades or more the band continue to create impressive new songs and still crush the old songs with style and attitude. If the band can continue to write songs like 'Sacrifice' the band are certainly going to go from strength to strength in and more and more fans are going to build up the mighty Saxon empire. Let's hope so they deserve it. I can't wait to hear the next album if it's anything like the bands last album. All bow to the might SAXON!!!

               Leeds O2 (UK)  2.12.14           

Well tonight was the last concert for 2014 for me and what a way to go, yes this time around it was the might Saxon with support from Hell, and what a great show it was indeed. Some of you may not be aware of the band Hell and some of the older metal heads at this show certainly didn't know who they were but still enjoyed them. Saxon however are one of the godfather's of N.W.O.B.H.M. and continue to make quality music. Like all the older band they know how to rock and this is something the youth of today need to appreciate more. Saxon's die hard metal heads turned out in their 100's to see this band for their 35th anniversary tour for the 1st 3 albums. So playing song from the 1st 3 albums was something special. Not only that the band played songs from their later albums. First band that I saw was Derbyshire (UK) band 'Hell', the band that features ex Sabbat guitarist  Andy Sneap. Hell originally formed back in 82 out of 2 band, which were 'Race Against Time' and 'Paralex' but later disbanded in 87. 

Formed by guitarist Kev Bower and the band were about to release their debut album but Mausoleum Records went bankrupt  before the album ever saw the light of day. It was Andy Sneap who at that time was a massive fan of the band and followed them around. In 2008 Andy approached Kev about reforming the band & it wasn't long before the band got back together with Kev's brother David Bower on vocals with Tim Blower (drums) and bassist Tony Speakman. The band released their debut long awaited album for Nuclear Blast titled 'Human Remains' in 2011. A great debut album which saw the band playing festivals like Bloodstock and in 2013 the band released their 2nd album 'Curse & Chapter', which the band were promoting for this Saxon tour in the UK. David is a great front man and once a Thespian (actor) on the west end in London and many more shows, you can really see this in his performance as a front man. Great band with great music and energy. Tonight the band hit the stage to an impressive Saxon fan base who welcomed them with open arms. Songs performed tonight by Hell were: Gehennae Incendiis, The age of Nefarious, The Oppressor, Blasphemy and the Master, Something wicked comes this Way, End ov Days, Land of the living Dead & On Earth as it is in Hell. Great band, well worth checking out. So grab their CD's and go see them live in 2015, you won't be disappointed. 

Next was of course the mighty' Saxon', what can one say about this incredible and outstanding band that have stood the test of time? A fine band with plenty of energy to this day and with Nibbs Carter (bass) been an insane and very energetic bass player he certainly keeps the band on their toes. With the band been around since the late 70's, formerly known as 'Son of a Bitch' but changed their name before the release of the bands self titled debut in 79, the band have never looked back. Continuing without a break up even through the hard times the band have continued to carry the flag for British Heavy Metal along the likes of Priest, Maiden, Sabbath and of course Motorhead. Saxon formed in Barnsely (South Yorkshire) UK have just gone from strength to strength and in recent times for me some 'Metal Head' the band continue to make quality music, I really cannot fault their music and as musicians either. Biff Byford and the boys know how to rock and life they are a force to be reckoned with. Even the likes of Metallica are big influences of this band. Tonight the band hit the stage with an exploding set that featured some of their finest songs, and even though the band cannot play everybody's favorite they played a killer set as always. Both guitarist are superb musician's, and I feel that Paul Quinn is totally underrated as performer and song writer. Doug is a fine and very talented guitarist too. Drummer Nigel is also a very underrated drummer who has properly influenced more drummer than anybody else in Metal, with his incredible double bass drumming and technical drum patterns he is without doubt a a force to be reckoned with. As for singer Biff Byford, a great front man with a lot of energy and charisma, that makes one of the top performers in metal. This band will just go from strength to strength and you have to respect what they have done for the metal scene, without them and many more of the older bands there certainly would not be any of the bands out there too, just ask them!! 

Songs played tonight were: Motorcycle Man, Sacrifice, Power & the Glory, Solid ball of Rock, Lionheart, Strong arm of the Law, Forever Free, I've got to Rock (To stay Alive), 20.000 Feet, And the bands played On, Frozen Rainbow, Crusader, To Hell and back Again, Suzie hold On, This town Rocks, Princess of the Night, (Encore) guitar solo (Doug), Wheels of Steel, Never Surrender, Denim & Leather. Fine band, one of my all time favourites along side Judas Priest, both  the kings of Metal music. Are you a real metal crusader? I know I am are you? 

         Manchester Academy  (UK)    9.11.14    

Well it has been 7 yrs since I last saw and met the mighty 'Trouble', last time was at the Leeds 'Rio Club' in the UK on the 'Simple Mind Condition' tour, which featured the old line-up. Trouble to me are the Doom Gods, I have been a fan since I was 16 yrs old and it was 'Psalm 9' debut album that blow me away with it's heaviness and yet powerful music that was more raw than Black Sabbath. In later years I have become one of their biggest fans as the band released such classic albums as 'The Skull', 'Trouble', 'Manic Frustration', 'Plastic Greenhead' and now 'The Distortion Fields' with current front man Kyle Thomas (ex Exhorder), who replaced Kory Clarke (ex Warrior Soul). I have seen this band now 4 times and it is always a pleasure to se them live and meet them when I can, and I can tell you this band are amazing live. One thing that puzzles me is the fact that Metallica are influenced by them yet they have never asked the band on tour? Why well I reckon Trouble would blow them off stage that is the only reason why!! Trouble are one of those bands like Anvil who have never had to success they so rightly deserve, I really think there should be a film made about this band... maybe I should do it!! 

Anyway it was 7yrs ago since I last saw the band live and tonight was a very special night, a gig I have waited to see for some time now. Also as I checked into my hotel the band were also staying there so we had a blast after the show, cheers guys it made my yrs for gigs. The band sadly don't come to the UK that much and I really think they should so it was nice to see them play in the UK, sadly only 2 shows, but 2  are better than none. Support band were 'Serpent's Venom', a band from London area, who played more of a slower Doom/ Stoner metal thing which went down well with the crowd. They reminded me of Sabbath, St Vitus, maybe some Down. Sadly I didn't get a set list for the 4 piece act but they do have a few albums out so go check them out!!

So tonight we see the Doom gods 'Trouble' hit the stage, formed back in 79 by guitarist Rick Wartell and Bruce Franklin along with ex singer Eric Wagner. This band still to this day mean business and tonight they did just that. With the current line up been Kyle Thomas, Bruce Franklin, Rick Wartell, Mark Lira and Rob Hultz the band couldn't be any stronger. The current album is also a fine step up the ladder for the band and still they manage to keep the traditional sound that we all love to hear. The band now hit the stage with a classic opening track 'The Tempter' from the 'Psalm 9 ' album, a kick ass in you're face song which really got the crowd going and this is an awesome opening song for a great gig. As this is the anniversary for 'Psalm 9' album the band played some kick ass songs form this album. This was soon followed by 'Assassin' another heavy head ripping tune and the set list just got better and better. Kyle is a great singer and a great addition to the band's future as so are the rest of the band. Other songs played were: Psalm 9, Bastards will Pay, Endtime, Revolution Life or Death, When the sky comes Down, Flowers, Wickedness of Man, Paranoia Conspiracy, Hunters of Doom, At the end of my Daze, Supernaut with encore R.I.P. A truly kick ass night by a fine band that I so much respect. If you haven't seen them yet please do so and grab their albums too. I hope they play Bloodstock and support Metallica in the future. 

             Welly Club Hull (UK)  19.10.14  

Well it's been some years since  I saw any decent acts playing in Hull yet alone Welly Club, last act I saw there was Fozzy some years ago. It's not every often that bands come through to Hull these days, but back in the 80's we had them all, all the big names pretty much played here. O just wish more bands would play here, maybe Skidrow will open the doors  for more international acts to play Welly club. Well tonight saw 3 bands playing the show, the 1st act was 'The Last Vegas' from Chicago, a pretty well establish band who play Rock/ Sleeze which kind of reminded me of Aerosmith and bands of that nature. The crowd certainly seemed to love their music and were well welcomed by all who attended, a decent band who have released 6 albums, this is something I find rather impressive. So why haven't we heard of them before in Hull? This 5 piece kicked ass for an opening act. If you want to check out the band please check them out. Songs played that night were: Come with Me, Other Side, Loose Lips, Whatever gets you Off, Evil Eyes, You & Me, Devil In You, I'm Bad. Here is their website

Next to Swedish hard hitting Sleeze/ heavy edge Punk act 'Sister', who have released 2 album, their current CD 'Disgusted Vultures' which is released through Metal Blade. These guys have a real attitude to music and passion on stage. At 1st I wasn't sure what to expect from them, Sleeze really isn't my cup of tea but having said that these guys come from Sweden and like any bands from Sweden they can play their instruments and have attitude to goes with it. In the case of Sister, these guys came on stage looking like across between a Black Metal band and Marilyn Manson  with attitude. I thought they were really heavy live even more so than on record and they really did make new friends. These 4 guys played their music hard, dirty and heavy and well what more could I say? Songs played by Sister were: My Enemy, Disgusted Vultures, Spit on Me, Sick, Too bad for You, Slay Yourself.

Next up was the band that everybody had been waiting for, yes the mighty 'Skidrow', a band that made a massive impact back in the early 90's, when the band broke out with their self titled album which was released through Atlantic records and saw the smash hit single '18 & Life' & 'Youth Gone Wild'. These song was just the start for the band that would become one of the most successful bands in the 90s. After the release of the debut album the band released yet another storming album 'Slave to the Grind' in 91, which also featured smash hit tunes such as 'Monkey Business', and the title track. This album also saw the band playing some of the biggest metal festivals in Europe and 'Monsters of Rock' here in the UK along with Iron Maiden. Since the release of the bands 3rd album 'Subhuman Race' in 95 saw the departure of singer Sebastian Bach, who was replaced by Johnny Solinger which was released in 2003. The band have only released 3 more albums with Johnyy and at present they are promoting the new CD 'Rise of the damnation Army - United World Rebellion' Part 2. Well A lot of people seem to dis iss the band since Seb left the band but hey Johnny has been in the band for a number of years now, so he is not a new guy. In fact he is a really great singer so if you have not seen them yet live please do so. The crowd tonight were ready for a impressive set list and as the band got into the show the better things became. The boys delivered a powerful set from start to finish. It was a show that was loved by all. Songs played were: Lets Go, Piece of Me, Give it the Gun, Big Guns, 18 and Life, Kings of Demolition, Riot Act, In a darkened Room,  Makin a Mess, Thick is the Skin, Psycho Therapy, I remember You, Monkey Business, We are the damned, We will rock You (Queen), Slave to the Grind & Youth gone Wild. I was impressive and so were the crowd, a great night and a band I would certainly see again live. 

               Sheffield O2 (UK) 18.7.14 

Back to Sheffield for another show  a couple of weeks ago to see British thrasher's Onslaught with support by Danish metal god's 'Artillery' and Indian Death Metal act 'Demonic Resurrection'. This time around I headed down to Sheffield's 'O2' as I haven't seen both Onslaught or Artillery in a few years now, so it was good to catch up with both bands and to check out India's premier metal act who are certainly making a name for themselves. So with a good turn out it was time to interview Onslaught and then check out the 1st band on the bill 'Demonic Resurrection', a band formed in 2000 by Sahil “The Demonstealer” Makhija on vocals and rhythm guitars, Daniel Rego on lead guitars, Ashwin Shriyan on bass, Virendra “Viru” Kaith on drums and Mephisto on keyboards. The band recorded their debut record on Demonstealer Records and in 2010 the band signed to Candlelight Records. The band released their debut under the name of 'Demonstealer' in 2000, 3 albums followed and now the band release their new album 'The Demon King'. The band however, have played such festivals as Bloodstock and Sonic sphere so there certainly making a name for themselves. The band play a mixture of Samael meet Godflesh Apocalypse and in this case the music really does mix well for the music the band are creating. A good crowd supported this extreme metal band from India from start to finish with their set. Song's included were: The Demon King, Apocalyptic Dawn, Death Desolation Despair, Dismembering the Fallen, Trail of Devastation, The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance. All in all a great band which I suggest you check out especially if you are into extreme metal.

Next came Danish metal god 'Artillery', a band a grew up on since the day of the release of the bands debut album 'Fear of Tomorrow' back in 85, which was released on Venom's label Neat in Newcastle (UK). This was an impresseive debut album which saw the band getting rave reviews both in Kerrang (When it was a good mag) and Metal Forces here in the UK. The band were formed back in 81 by former drummer Carsten Nielsen and guitarist at that time Jorgen Sandau with brothers Morten and Michael Stutzer and Per Onink (vocals). He was soon replaced by Flemming Ronsdorf who recorded the bands debut album. Jorgen left the band and Morten changed instruments, later on in years to follow bass position was replaced by Peter Thorslund. The band released their next album 'Terror Squad', to be their finest to this day. More albums would follow later on and the band released their new album for Metal Blade 'Legions', a  fine album indeed. This was the 3rd time I had seen the band live, all 3 times with Flemming, Soren and now Michael. It is always a pleasure see in this band live as the deliver a powerful punch live and are a great live band. I knew they would give Onslaught a run for their money and it's good to see that both bands will tour the U.S. together later this year. New singer Michael Dahl is a great front man and his vocals are well suited to the bands music. You need to check out his band 'Ripe', who have released 2 albums to date and a 3rd in the pipeline. Artillery played a great set sadly they were only supporting so the set was shorter than usual. Songs they did play were: Chill my Bones, God Feather, Legions, When Death Comes, By Inheritance, The Challenge, Khomaniac, Terror Squad, The Almighty. Awesome band, great set!! Can't wait to see them again.

Next up was British Thrash legends 'Onslaught', the band who were formed back in 83 from Bristol who at that time were more influenced by the new wave of British Punk like Discharge and The Exploited more than Heavy Metal. The band were formed by founder guitarist Nigel Rockitt and Huge Hefner with vocalist Jason Pope and Paul Hill on bass. Rogue Davis and Paul Davis soon replaced Jason & Paul. Demos were recorded and in 85 the band released their debut album 'Powers from Hell', a ground breaking debut which put the band on the Thrash Metal map, rave reviews followed and after 1 album Music For Nation's, (Under one Flag)  Metallica's label at that time soon signed the band and the 2nd album 'Metal Forces' was released back in 86. Awesome reviews and such a great album saw the band bring in singer Sy Keeler on vocals along with Paul Mahoney on bass, Jase Stallard on guitar and drummer Steve Grice. A fine album but in 87 the band soon signed to London records and the album ;In Search of Sanity' was in the works. Sadly Sy was fired only to be replaced by ex Grim Reaper singer Steve Grimmett , and a tour was set. Later on Steve left the band and they were dropped by London in 91 leaving the band to split up. In 2005 the band reformed and the rest is history. Sy & Nigel keep the band going to this day and with the band releasing their new album for AFM 'VI', their 2nd album for the label, this album sees the band ever moving forward breaking barriers into the world of Thrash Metal. A great album full of aggression and power that is a kick ass album. Tonight was the 4th time I had seen the band live since 'Search of Sanity' tour back in 90. A great night for fans old and new to check out one of the UK's finest Thrash Metal band making a comeback. An explosive set from start to finish the band played a little bit of everything they could from start to finish, leaving the fans wanting more. Songs played were: The sound of Violence, Killing Peace, Chaos is King, Let there be Death, Children of the Sands, Rest in Pieces, Destroyer of Worlds, 66 Fucking 6, In Search of Sanity, Fight with the Beast, Metal Forces, Onslaught (Power from Hell), Thermonuclear Devastation. Check out the band next time they tour awesome!! A great night by 3 different style of extreme music. 


             Grimsby  Yard Birds Club (UK)       23.5.14    

It's always a pleasure heading out to the good old 'Yard Birds' Club in Grimsby, a great place for national and international bands that so many great acts have played there such as Jaded Heart, Pagans Mind, Fatal Smile, Joey Belladonna and so on.... This time around I had the pleasure of see in Eden's Curse with 'Absolva', a band which was formed by ex Fury UK members, the band that features Iced Earth's bassist Luke Appleton. Sadly I missed the 1st band 'Babylon Fire', due to interviewing Eden's Curse so I can't review them sadly. However I did see and what Absolva, who were a pretty good band for a power trio playing across between Power Metal and Thrash which seemed to jell well together. With the band been Chris Appleton (guitars & lead vocals), Martin Mcnee (drums) and bassist Dan Bate the band have recorded 2 studio album been 'Flames Of Justice' 2012 & 'Anthems To The Dead' in 2014, along with 1 live DVD 'Beyond Live' in 2013. So with the band having connections to Iced Earth and Fury UK supporting Saxon a couple of years ago this band is a new and fresh sound which is slightly different to that of Fury UK. The turn out at Yard Birds was good, plenty of atheistic metal heads there cheering on the bands and with this band delivering a powerful set Chris is a decent singer and guitarist that delivers some fine riffs and vocals with he aid of Dan and Martin.  Sadly no set list but still a great band.

Next up was of course 'Eden's Curse', with the band formed back in 2007 when bassist Paul Logue contacts U.S. Singer Michael Eden to form this new band which is known as 'Eden's Curse' combing melodic progressive metal with hints of AOR music, kind of across between Journey meets Dream Theater which really does work well for this band. Since the band formed back in 2007 the only original members left are Paul Logan and guitarist Thorsten Koehne (guitars) left and with the last member to leave been Peter Newdeck to focus more on his own band 'Tainted Nation'. His replacement is John Clelland, along with new keyboard player Steve William's (Power Quest) and current singer Nikola Mijic from Serbia, a great singer indeed and a great addition to the band. With the band releasing 4 albums their latest masterpiece 'Symphony of Sin' is truly a fine album indeed and well worth checking out. Well tonight was a night I was looking forward too, having only seen the band once (Bloodstock) with the bands previous line-up it was time to check pout the new line-up and to be fair they did an awesome job. The crowd was ready and so was I, with the intro blasting out the crowd were in for a real treat. The band played a awesome set which lasted about 1.30 minutes plus and the crowd enjoy every minute from start to finish and with a helping hand of sing alone went down a treat!! Songs that the band played were: Symphony of Sin, Break the Silence, Trinity, Fly Away, Just like Judas, Great Unknown, Turn the Page, Jerusalem Sleeps, (TK solo), Time to Breathe, Rock Bottom, Wings to Fly, No holy Man, Unbreakable, Judgment Day, Evil & Divine, Angels & Demons.  Great band well worth see in live and checking out their music too, may the curse to lifted!!


     Sheffield Corporation Club (UK)  6.3.14       

Well this was my 1st show for 2014 outside of my home city, my 1st international gig which I was really looking forward to as the Motorhead/ Saxon tour was cancelled I waited long enough for a top gig ands this was a great show to kick off the year. It's been 14yrs since I last saw Royal Hunt live, with former front man John West on vocal at Wacken festival. It was also 5yrs ago since I met and saw  Cloudscape at Bloodstock festival in 2008. Damn doesn't time fly by? This time I had the pleasure of see in Cloudscape for the 3rd time, this time supporting Royal Hunt on their recent 2 show UK tour, which is still going on in Europe as you read this. It was good to catch up my my friends Cloudscape and chat about old times and well just have a great night really. Having filmed the show tonight for Cloudscape it came out pretty well (thanx guys). 

And so to the live review, sadly 'Cloudscape' only played a 45 minute set but I had to say was amazing, it went pretty quick but the band ripped the stage to pieces and made new fans by the end of the night. The band hail from Sweden and were formed 2001 by Mike Andersson (vocals) Patrik Svard (guitars), who are the only 2 original members left in the current line up. The band also featured back in 2001 Bjorn Eliasson (guitars), Haynes Pherson (bass) and drummer Roger Landin. The band released their debut album which was self titled in 2004, a great debut for Sweden's new Progressive Metal hopefuls. The band recorded their 2nd album 'Crimson Skies' in 2006, a great follow up. In 2008 the band released their last studio with this line up 'Global Drama', my all time favorite album by the band. In 2012 the band recorded their new CD 'New Era' with new line up Stefan Rosqvist (guitars), bassist Hakan Nyander and drummer Fredrik Joakimsson, this album sees the band in a more darker approach to the Progressive Metal era. Tonight however, was a night that the band took Sheffield by storm,  playing a 45 minute set from songs from the bands debut right up to the new album and a new song. Mike and the boys played a great set of hard to choice songs as the band have a fine back catalogue of fine tunes. The crowd cheered them on and supported them and the band sold CD's at the end of the show so new fans were certainly made. I do hope the band come back to the UK soon and play their own tour, Yardbird's in Grimsby would be a fine place for them to play that's for sure. Songs played tonight were: Mind Dairy, Kingdom of Sand, Before your Eyes, Eyes of Jealousy, A new Design, Demon Tears & Under Fire. A great band with a great attitude towards music. Check out their music and go see them live you can.

Next came up the headlining band 'Royal Hunt' a band that have been around for many years and have certainly influenced a lot of bands in the same genera as the music they are creating. Danish Progressive Metal act have been around since 89 by keyboard wizard Andre Andersen , originally from Russia but relocated to Denmark some years ago. The band have various drummers and guitarist within the band as well as 4 singers, these been Henrik Brockmann, followed by D.C. Cooper who is now back in the band, John West, and Mark Boals. So the band have had some pretty incredible singers and musicians within the band. Now the band have returned with their new album 'A life to die For', which just came out a few months ago and doing really well sales wise. The band are getting more successful and now with this new amazing album the band are playing a successful European tour right now. The band sadly only played 2 shows in the UK, London and Sheffield. I managed to see them in Sheffield to which the crowd welcomed them with open arms. This was the 2nd time I had seen the band, 1st time was Wacken with John West on vocals which was also a great show. As Royal Hunt songs are pretty long the band played a rather long set with various mood swinging songs that all fans seemed to enjoy. The band played roughly about 1.30 minute set, mixing their Progressive metal elements and Classical Music seemed to go down really well and I tell you if Beethoven was alive today he would certainly be either touring with Royal Hunt and recording with them. A great and worth see in live. Songs played were: Double Conversation, One minute left to Live, The Mission, Tearing down the World, Hard rains Coming, Running Wild, A life to die For, Cold city Nights, Time, Clown in the Mirror, Half past Loneliness, Last Goodbye, Message to God, Instrumental mix, and Epilogue. A great night by a great Danish band, well worth checking out. All in all both bands did a great show and I look forward to see in them both again soon.  


       Grimsby Yardbirds  (UK)    28.11.13    

Well yet another gig at the Yardbird's club in Grimsby (UK) and what a great venue it is. You really need to check it out, they have some fine tribute bands and original bands playing there. This time around it was the pleasure of meeting and see in Sweden's Fatal Smile. A really cool band that I discovered whilst at another show at Yardbirds, whilst the club played a video by Fatal Smile I was pretty much hooked on their cool music. Sadly this show was the last gig on the year for me, but a kick ass show indeed. I had never heard of the band before until I went to see Faster Pussycat at Yardbirds a few months ago and discovered one of Fatal Smile's videos 'Welcome to the freak Show', to which I was interested to watch, ad the music reminds me of across between Skidrow, Steel Panther and Pantera, a great combination and with a image of Cradle of Filth meets early Motley Crue made it more appealing for me. I knew this band had something special and having research them on the internet i found out this band have more than 1 album, in fact 4 todate and another one in the new year of 2014. So exciting times ahead for the band. 

The bands latest album '21st Century Freaks' is a classic album mixing late 80's with early 90's metal and fucking good at that too. I was very surprised by the band music and when I saw them live I knew this would be a great gig to end the year. Well the band hit the stage as a co head liner with Tiger Tailz, who were pretty good and I do remember some of their songs from the 90's and there about to release a new album shortly. Anyway back to the band I came to see, Fatal Smile been a 4 piece band which features Thomas Blade (vocals), Alx (bass), Mr Y (guitars) and drummer Philty.

 Having formed back in 95 the band have proved they are a force to be reckoned with having toured with Queensryche, W.A.S.P., Lordi, Doro and many others and also playing festivals like Wacken, Sweden Rock they certainly are a great band. They have attitude, balls and great music. 

The band hit the stage and for the 1st time I have never seen pyro's at such a small venue which was unexpected but a great surprise. The stage looked great and the flames made their set even more exciting. Musically they kicked ass and blow Tiger Tailz off stage. Great band live are Fatal Smile with lots of attidude and they should open up for Steel Panther next year in the UK and Europe don't you think? Songs played were: 

Welcome to the freak Show, Common People, Raising Hell in Heaven, Hip Motherfucker, Judgement Day, Like A Rockstar, Last in Line, My private Hell, Innocent, Run 4 your Life, S.O.B, Crash & Burn, Stranger. What a great night by a great Swedish kick ass metal band. I suggest you check them out live and on CD, there fucking hot as hell... Are you ready to enter the next freak show?? 

      Grimsby Yardbirds Club  (UK)  25.10.13      

Well I have seen a few tribute bands in my time but tonight was a special night for me as this was a band put together by the voice of Power Metal, yes folks James Rivera known for his work with the mighty Helstar. Helstar and Omen are my all time favourite Power Metal bands of all time. Don't get me wrong I love this music, especially the American band such as Liege Lord, Fates Warning (early), Bloodlust, Savage Grace, and so on and well as newer bands like Cage etc.... I have seen Helstar finally in London a couple of years ago with their debut UK only 1 show and that was awesome, so I know what James in Capable of. He is an extremely powerful singer who has been fronting Helstar since the mid 80's, having recorded some of the finest Power Metal album in metal history, not only has he worked with Helstar he has also worked with other project like Distant Thunder, Seven Witches, Vicious Rumors, and many more acts. I heard about Sabbath Judas Sabbath and when I discovered they were playing in Grimsby (UK) I almost shit myself haha!! I wasn't going to miss this gig that's for sure, you I made sure I have the night off work to catch James with this extremely impressive Tribute act. James teamed up with 4 UK musician's for the UK tour which I believe went to Europe with the same line up, all of which are in either Power Metal or Death Metal bands. It was a great night packed full of die hard Judas Priest fan's and fans of Black Sabbath (Dio era) with a couple of Ozzy Sabbath songs thrown in too. 

I knew this would be a great night and I was curious to see how the people who turned up thought of James and his band, all in all the band had a great time, opening up with the Judas Priest classic 'Rapid Fire', one that really got the crowd going and it certainly did the trick. It was good to see James and the band in such a great but small club, this club 'Yardbirds' is an awesome place to see bands so I suggest you get there if you can. I've already missed Jaded Heart, next time I won't. Well after a nice heavy tune like Rapid Fire the band were ready to play yet another Priest classic 'Screaming For Vengeance' another fine song from my all time favourite album by Judas Priest. James and the boys certainly got the crowd going throughout the show and by the end the crowd wanted more, so an encore had to happen. Songs that were played that night were: Rapid Fire, Screaming For Vengeance, The Green Manalishi, N.I.B, After All, Neon Knights, Judas Rising, Children Of The Sea, Metal Gods, Beyond The Realms Of Death, Holy Diver, Grinder, Night Crawler, Falling Off The Edge Of The World, Painkiller, Mob Rules, Hell Bend For Leather, Electric Eye, Heaven & Hell, Paranoid, & Breaking The Law. An awesome night and a band and voice that you must see and hear, so check out Helstar and also Sabbath Judas Sabbath if you can. The night ended by James and I and a few friends hanging out in Grimsby for a few drinks in locals pubs, great night in the end!!

   Nottingham Rock City  (UK)  17.10.13   

Well it has been a few years since I last saw Queensryche, it was when they supported Judas Priest on the 'Epitapth' tour in 2011 here in the UK with Geoff Tate on vocals. The 1st time I saw Queensryche was on 'The Warning' tour when they supported Dio back in 84 I think. It was that album that became my favourite all time album by the band and it still stands to this day. I have seen this band grow as musicians and as song writers and they have become a strong unit that was up until the later albums when the band seemed to of lost the blot with some mainstream metal which was rather disappointing and the lyrics and music became too political for me, this was until recently in the last year when Geoff went separate ways with the band and the band found ex Crimson Glory front man Todd LaTorre, an excellent replacement for Geoff Tate. Don't get me wrong I miss Geoff as a front man for the band and he is still one of my all time favourites, but I found this form a the ryche to be rather boring playing the mellow side of the bands music, which is a damn shame.

Tonight was a night I was looking forward too, not only did I have the chance to meet and interview Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren last week was something else, my 2nd interview with the band so that will be online shortly. Sadly I never got to meet the rest of the band this time around but I hope our paths cross again soon. I wasn't sure what to expect from the crowd turn out but their new album which is self titled released through Century Media is a great album, just needs some up tempo tracks for the next album, maybe 'The Warning Pt 2' would be killer!! Well to my astonishment the crowd turn out was awesome and the crowd embraced Todd and to be honest he fucking nailed the set and old songs perfectly. The rest of the band Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield, Eddie Jackson, Parker and Todd were amazing. Each song shined through and the crowd loved every minute of the set, I especially loved 'The Warning' and 'Queen of the Reich' stuff they played that night, don't get me wrong I loved the other stuff too but for me 'The Warning' means a lot to me for sentimental values, it's the album that kicked off Progressive Power Metal with bands like Lethal, Recon, Mystic Force and so many more... I could not fault the set and with Todd's screaming vocals he really did out on a show which left peoples faces jaws drop, shame he didn't also stay with Crimson Glory his previous band before Queensryche. The band played for about an hour and half maybe a little long but the set was awesome, I could not fault it or the playing and vocals either for that matter. 

Songs played were: Queen of The Reich, Speak, Walk in The Shadows, The Whisper, En Force, Child of Fire, Warning, X2, Where Dreams go to Die, A World Without, (Double guitar solos), The Needle Lies, The Prophecy, Fallout, Empty Room, Eyes of a Stranger, Empire, Jet City Woman, Silent Lucidity, Take hold of The Flame. What more could you ask for? If you havent heard the new album or seen them live yet do so as their in Europe now. Awesome band welcome back!!


  &      Sheffield 02 Academy (UK)  12.10.13   

Having not done too many gigs this year hasn't been a great year for them but what I have seen and interviewed musicians has been great. I so far this year have hanged out with Saxon drinking beers on tour bus, met Pretty Maids finally after a 27yrs wait and now this show a pre birthday gig the day before my 43rd birthday watching Napalm Death and Children of Bodom in Sheffield (UK). So tonight was kind of a special night for me so I was really looking forward to see in both bands. The crowd attendance was excellent and there were lots of young metal heads there for mainly Children of Bodom and the older metal heads for Napalm Death, so I was looking forward to see in Napalm Death again, I saw them back in 87 aged 17 when the 1st album came out, that was awesome. This saw a 4 band tour I missed the 1st 2 acts but got there in time for Napalm and Bodom so that was a relief.

Napalm Death are a band that have been around since the early 80's and it was in 85 that the band released their 1st Grindcore album 'Scum', the album that pretty much started brutal music. It's a cult classic album that I still enjoy today and with the successful album been released and the band been played on BBC radio 1 it really did say something about the album. It was in 88 when the band released 'From Enslavement to Obliteration' which was the last album for the the 4 piece line up back then. Mark 'Barney' Greenway ex Benadiction joined the band back in 90 for the album 'Harmony Corruption' when the band added 2 American musicians Mitch Harris and Jesse Pintado and went for a more Grind/ Death Metal approach which really worked well for the band and still to this day does. Sadly Jesse died in later years and the band became a 4 piece again to this day. With the band playing tonight for their current album 'Utilitarian' released through Century Media in 2012 the band hit the stage to a warm welcome that pretty much lasted about 40 minutes. Some of their songs just blast through so quickly you need to be on you're toes or you will miss the song. Well they hit the stage with pretty much no introduction and as they say shit it the fan and in their case they ripped the stage to bits. Barney is like a young kid having had too much energy drinks, he doesn't keep still so it's hard to get a decent picture of him. The band were great, music insane to say the least and played pretty much songs from their debut up to the new album. Songs included were: Multinational Corporations Part 2, Everyday Pox, The Wolf I Feed,  Suffer The Children, When All Is Said & Done, Errors In The Signals, Protection Racket, Scum, Life?, Deciever, The Kill, You Suffer and Nazi Punks Fuck Off. Great band still going strong.

Next up was the one and only Children Of Bodom, one of Finland's finest. Formed back in 93 by front man and guitarist Alex Laiho along with drummer Jaska Raatikainen and the rest of the band followed later on. Inspired by bands like Entombed, Dissection the band soon found their own style of melodic Death Metal which comes across between Dream Theater for their technicality meets  Dimmu Borgir with hints of Helloween. A mixture that seems to work well for the band and their brand of music speaks for itself. Their debut album 'Something Wild' was released back in 97 through Spinefarm/ Nuclear Blast to which the band have remained on Nuclear Blast ever since. With the release of the bands debut out of the way it wasn't log before the band released their next album 'Hatebreeder' in 91, which took the bands music to the next level. With the success of the band becoming more popular the band were soon playing festivals such as Wacken, Bloodstock, and many more... Tonight the fans were ready for a treat of impressive Scandinavian metal which this 5 piece delivered a powerful set were Alex and the boys took Sheffield by storm. Great stage presence with songs that included the following: Transference, Needled 24/7, Living Dead Beat, Halo Of Blood, Scream For Silence, Bodom After Midnight, Lake Bodom, Hate Crew Deathroll, Dead Man's Hand On You, Are You Dead yet?, Blood Drunk, Angel's Don't Kill, Towards Dead End, Downfall and In Your Face. Great night had by all now it was time to celebrate my birthday in style by drinking with Mitch from Napalm after the gig. 

     London        'The Underworld'    (UK)    22.9.13          

Well I have waited 27yrs to meet the finest band ever to come out of Denmark 'Pretty Maids', having only ever seen them once in Germany in 99 at Wacken I didn't get to meet them until recently finally. What a  great day as I had waited 27yrs to meet this band and a dream finally came true. I'd like to thank the band for signing my collection of CD's, the complete collection cheers guys. I have followed this band since 85 when the band released 'Red Hot & Heavy', which is the band cult classic album and still to this day I love it. The band have released so many classic album in my opinion such as 'Future World', 'Jump The Gun', 'Sin Decade' and in later years 'Scream', 'Pandemonium', and their latest album 'Motherland' released through Frontiers in 2013. 

Front man Ronnie Atkin's is one of the finest underrated singers in metal, who is also joined by underrated long time member Kenneth Hammer, both of which have kept this band alive since 81 when the band 1st formed. Joining the band these days is bassist Rene Shades who is also known for his work with Mike Tramp, Morten Sandager (keyboards) formerly with Mercenary and Royal Hunt/ Kingdom Come drummer Allan Tschicaje on drums to complete the finally line up. Pretty Maid's haven't really been to the shores of the UK much in many years, their last real tour was with Saxon back in 86 and they have played 'Firefest' in the UK but that is really about it. 

This tour was very short in fact only 1 gig sadly, the festival before in the UK and Sheffield gig I knew nothing about were cancelled, so I am glad I came to London. The turn out was pretty good and the band received a warm welcome for the crowd and myself as they hit the stage. To be honest they played an awesome set, which i really enjoyed and I wish they played for longer as there were 2 support bands. I really got into the show, I haven't done anything like this in years. Well fist banging and head banging was on the table for me, I just fucking loved the show I guess meeting and interviewing the band made my day. Ronnie's vocals are still as strong as ever and very powerful and the band proved they still have what it takes to deliver a major kick ass show and set list. I do hope they return soon to our shores, we need to see more of them here in the UK. One of the support bands was 'Tainted Nation', the band put together by Eden's Curse drummer Pete Newdeck who is the singer for this band, along with ex Firewind drummer Mark Cross and The Poodles bassist Pontus Egberg, whop release their debut album for Massacre records titled 'F.E.A.R.' which is highly recommended. 

Songs played by Pretty Maids were: Mother of All Lies, I See Ghosts, Needles In The Dark, Love Games, Sad To See You Suffer, Why So Serious, Yellow Rain, Queen Of Dreams, Hell on High Heels, Rodeo, Please Don't Leave Me (Thin Lizzy cover), I.N.V.U., Red Hot & Heavy. Encore songs were: It Comes at Night, Little Drops of Heaven & Future World. A great gig that I will never forget in a hurry. Now I have conquered the flag of Denmark who will be next? Pretty Maids still kick fucking ass, don't believe me? Go see them for you're self. Awesome!!


     Manchester       'Academy 3'   (UK)    29.7.13       

Well another year had past since I last saw Anvil at Bloodstock 2012, and so it was good to see my Canadian metal brothers once again over here in the UK. Having 1st met the band back in 83 when I was almost 13 I have been a fan of the band since I was 11 in 81. I have stood by the band and will always support a band that deserve the up most respect, a band that never gave up and continued to fight for what they believe in. Anyway enough of that, let's talk about Anvil, the band that pretty much influenced  Metallica, Slayer and even Guns & Roses and many more... the band just keep on going from strength to strength and having recently supported Metallica in Singapore is just fucking awesome for the band, I am proud of them. It was set for another tour yet again in Manchester at the Academy here in the UK, same place I saw them on the last tour 'Juggernaut of Justice' tour, so it was like old time been revisited. With the band releasing the current album 'Hope in Hell', which is doing really well for the band and the sales for the album are doing really well. With the band also having a new bassist, well not so new now Sal Italiano (ex Cities) to the band this power trio kick ass with the best and you better believe it .

Well the stage was set for tonight's performance and as always the crowd chanted 'Anvil', to which the band were warmly greeted the young and old fans alike. As always Lips makes his entrance with a 'Hello Manchester....' through his guitar pick up, which is rather funny especially if you have not seen the band before. With the crowd ready and willing to support Anvil the band hit the stage to the opening track 'March of the Crabs', the bands instrumental & classic from the album 'Metal on Metal'.

 Now the night was set and the band hit hard and fast delivering a classic set of some of the finest old school Anvil songs as well as new tunes from their new album 'Hope in Hell'. After the opening song the band went straight into '666', another fine tune from the 'Metal on Metal' album. Been an old school Anvil fan it took me back to the day when this album 1st came out and owning it on vinyl for many years.

 Classic Anvil, the band that must of started real Thrash Metal and continue to deliver quality fine metal music to the masses. Two classic out of the way only to be followed by 'School Love', a song taken from their 1st album 'Hard & Heavy', a smile on most old school metal's faces and I tell you Lips was loving the show, what a great front man. Ok so 3 songs of the old material were out of the way the band proceeded to play a song from the new album next was 'Badass Rock & Roll', a cool up tempo tune to which the fans adored. As the set went on the crowd got more into it and so did the band.

It was a fine night of pure Heavy 'fucking' Metal that only Canada's finest could deliver. Other songs played were: Winged Assassins, On Fire, This is Thirteen, Mothra, Mankind Machine (to which Lips told the story on how I 1st met the band back in 82 and dedicated the song to me, cheers guys!!), Thumb Hang, Swing Thing (drum solo), Hope in Hell, Metal on Metal and encore Running

An awesome night by a fine band indeed and still going strong, maybe even stronger now than ever before. Check them out if you can live.

      Grimsby       'YardBirds' (UK)     4.7.13    

Grimsby wasn’t so grim the night Faster Pussycat rolled in to town. On hand to warm up the Yardbirds crowd was supporting acts The Art and Addiction for Destruction. Each band was a fitting appetizer drizzled in sleaze with a hint of punk and a whole lot of rock and roll before the Faster Pussycat main course. 

Sauntering onto the stage in dictatorial style dressed in a leather biker vest and peaked cap, Faster Pussycat’s Taime Downe surveyed the crowd scornfully through dark glasses while sucking on a cigarette before launching into a blistering rendition of down and dirty classic Jack the Bastard. This was just a taste of the salacious set to come as American band Faster Pussycat celebrated Independence Day in style blasting out hit after hit. 

The band belted out familiar favourites including Cathouse, Slip of the Tongue, Number One with a Bullet and Bathroom Wall. They invited opening act The Art on stage halfway through Bathroom Wall for an all-star cover of Pretty Fucked Up. After introducing the band members and finishing up Bathroom Wall, The Art returned on stage for a spectacular cover of the Betty Blowtorch song Shut Up and Fuck. Halfway through the set, Taime sat down on one of the monitors to pour his little black heart out for the emotional and ever popular ballad House of Pain giving front row attendees the chance to sing along with him. 

After such an extraordinary set, Faster Pussycat closed the show with the iconic fan favourite Babylon which made the exhilarated Grimsby crowd pump their fists and shout along, not wanting the show to end. 

Through the ringing in my ears I could hear Taime announce that everyone should stick around after the show as he will be back to talk to every last person who wanted to chat with him. During the short break I met with guitarist Ace Von Johnson who has an impressive CV playing with the likes of Murphy’s Law and Michael Jackson. 

Finally Taime emerged from backstage, fresh from a shower. I patiently waited my turn to meet with the man I’ve been dying to meet since 1996 when it was finally my turn. I asked him for a lift back to Texas on his way back to America before we launched into a lengthy conversation about my hometown venue, Zero’s in Corpus Christi, Texas and social media. I got loads of hugs, kisses and cuddles before it was time to drive back over The Humber Bridge to Hull and call it a night.

 I really want to thank Jason for taking me to see Faster Pussycat who put on a phenomenal show (Ed: Now Worries). It was an extra special birthday gift I won’t soon forget. A awesome night which I enjoyed and so did the rest who attended. Songs played were: Jack the Bastard, Cathouse, Slip of the Tongue, Number one with a Bullet, Sex Drug & Rock & Roll, House of Pain, Nonstop to Nowhere, Pretty Ugly, Don't change that Song, Porn Star, Bathroom Wall, Pretty fucked Up, Bathroom Wall (reprise), Shut up and Fuck & Babylon(Reviewed by Vikki Scott).


   &      Wakefield  (UK)    23.4.13    

This tour had 2 support acts, one I missed 'Hostile' the band who K.K Downing produced the album, sadly I would of liked to of seen them. The other act was Italian act 'Kaledon', a band that have recorded several albums, unknown to me they have done rather well for themselves in Italy. Formed back in 98 by guitarist Alex Mele the mastermind behind this Symphonic Power Metal act, somewhat remind me of across between Power Quest, Rhapsody of Fire their music is pretty good and if you like the bands mentioned then this is for you. Unknown pretty much here in the UK the band went down rather well with a crowd of enthusiastic fans who pretty much opened their arms to this 5 piece act. Impressive act that give all their heart and souls into the performance. 

Next came of course the mighty 'Lordi' have recently hit the UK shore's playing to a fun packed audience in April 2013, with the rest of Europe to follow. Lordi are the band who won the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2006 with the song 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' which surprised the whole of Europe with an ending of bat wings that shocked TV watchers around Europe. The band were formed back in 96 by Mr Lordi met Amen & G-Stealer in Stockholm were they had seen Kiss at a live show. Talks began and it wasn't long before they realized they something in common and should form a band, and later on Enary joined the soon to be 'Lordi'. In 99 the band released their debut album 'Bend over and prey the Lord' which was a self financed album but soon got picked up by Sony/ BMG (Finland). Various line up changes like most bands the band finally got their act together and in 2012 the band found new keyboardist Hella. The band have recently released their new album for new partnership label AFM titled 'To beast or not to Beast' in 2013, released by Sony/ BMG (Finland) and The End records in the States. I have to admit I have not heard much of Lordi's music so I really cant judge but what I have heard has been pretty good so far, and no matter how you look at it there will always be a hint on costumes of either Kiss or Gwar in Lordi's stage presence. Having not seen the band before I was interested to see how well they play live under all that latex and heat and to a pretty packed out crowd. I mean the heat from the stage lights must really make these guys sweat like fuck!!

 Not been to this venue before it kind of reminded me of across between Nottingham 'Rock City' meets Sheffield 'Corporation' and it was a nice venue indeed, I mean Wakefield of all places??? New venue which could attract some decent acts if well advertised and I am sure it will do well. Well as Italian metal act 'Kaledon' had finished it was time for the mighty 'Lordi' to hi the stage and with a long intro the band soon hit the stage with their shock horror costumes which really looked awesome, I now have to se Gwar live. They looked great and to be honest the band were a lot better live than they are on CD, a lot heavier playing an explosive set which lasted almost 2 hours was a great set indeed playing their classics and songs from the new album as well. With the band's singer Mr Lordi changing his presence with various hats and a gun that shot either water or dry ice was kind of funny and of course his bat wings to finish the set off. Songs played were: Were not bad for the Kids, Bring back the balls to Rocks, The Riff, Who;s your Daddy?, Blood red Sandman, Schizo Doll, This i Heavy Metal, Something wicked comes this Way, It snows in Hell, (drum solo), Supermonsters, I'm the Best, (guitar solo), They only come out at Night, Devil is a Loser, Hulking Dynamo, Hard rock Hallelujah, Sincerely with Love, Would you love a Monsterman? Well a great night enjoyed by all, a band worth checking out either for the music, the costumes or both. 

   Leeds 02 (UK)   02 24.4.13     

In the history of Heavy Metal there are giant's and Saxon are one of them, along side the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and Motorhead, all these bands are influenced more bands than any other in Heavy Metal's history. Some of gone on to become huge acts and some have fallen and are now picking up the pieces to become what they once were. Saxon however have fallen into the trap when the band lost some of their popularity but in the last decade the band have become strong than ever and in recent times with such albums like 'Metal Head', 'Lionheart', 'Inner Sanctum' and later on albums such as 'Call to Arms' and their new album 'Sacrifice' which is an outstanding album packed full of energy and power is an album to be heard. I have not missed a Saxon tour since 'Rock the Nation' album in 86, expect for one tour 'Lion Heart' sadly as I don't remember any Yorkshire dates in the UK, sadly. So I have seen this band grow since 86 and I have to say they are totally underrated and deserve more respect and should be supporting the likes of Metallica, if it wasn't for Saxon Metallica wouldn't be half as big as they are now as Saxon gave them their big break for the debut album 'Kill um All'. Saxon have pretty much had a steady line up since 'Dogs of War' album back in 95 when Doug Scarrett joined the tour, only members to leave were the drummers and now with long time drummer Nigel Glockler back in the band they couldn't be any stronger. The 'Sacrifice' tour is going very well for the band so far having just completed their UK tour and a South American tour the rest of the world has to check them out now and if you do get the chance to see them live please do so you won't be disappointed. Biff and the boys are on top form at the moment and the band played in Leeds once again to a strong Yorkshire crowd cheering them along to new and old songs. I have to say that the power and energy they have live is unbelievable, it's like a pure adrenaline rush as the band pretty much knock you off your feet to heavy tunes from the bands new album. Their new album must be heard and with Andy Sneap mastering it has given this album a solid and so powerful sound. Tonight the band played on top form to a local Yorkshire rowdy crowd and you could see the smiles on the bands faces. At one point Biff decides to grab Nibbs in a headlock and drag him across the stage whilst playing which was rather funny. Nibbs is a real rock & roll animal a total head banger and I am surprised he still has a brain haha!! The band played an explosive set and with half of the new album played live was a surprise for me and the crowd and I have to say I really enjoyed hearing the songs live. If you're promoting a new album it's always best to play more of it live and cut out some of the older songs you have been playing for so many years. The twin guitar assault by Paul and Doug was awesome and the power house of Nibbs and Nigel really added and made the night that's for sure. The band are awesome live and in my heart they will always hold a special place in it along side Judas Priest, to me their the cream of the crop both bands. Songs played were: Sacrifice, Wheels of Terror, Power & the Glory, Belfast, To Hell & Back Again, Got to Rock, Night of the Wolf, Conquestador, (drum solo), Iron Wheels, Guardians of the Tomb, Never Surrender, Ride like the Wind, Stand up and Fight, Dallas 1pm, 747 Stranger in the Night, Wheels of Steel, and with encores of: Strong arm of the Law, Denim & Leather, Princess of the Night. What can I say? An awesome set list by one of the finest metal acts ever, all hail Saxon. Check them out in Europe now if you can an amazing band. Cant wait to see them live again, thanks for a great night guys!!!

The Piper Club  -  Hull (UK)  16.12.12       

It's been a long time since I visited the Metieval festival in Hull, something I didn't realize they were still doing until late last year. Having not been to this festival since 2008 I really didn't know it had been going on from time to time in various places around Hull. It's good to see that the organizers have kept the spirit alive and I hope they do so this for years to come. This year saw some new faces and some old faces of band that had played in 2008. With a decent crowd attendance the show was about to hit the stage. Having arrived later than I expected I did miss a couple of the early bands but I did have to travel 10 miles and it was a Sunday so that didn't help. So the 1st band to hot the stage for me was 'Clunge Hammer'. who features 4 members consisting of: JB vocals & guitar, Baker - drums, Ezzy - bass, Rogers  - guitars. The band play old school metal somewhat across between thrash of maybe hardcore with hints of Pantera. not bad at all and the crowd loved what they did. A set list that only lasted 6 songs with a time of about 20-25 minutes, the set list included: Inferno, This thing Grew, Choose, Blood on Canvas, Redeemer, Clunge Hammer. A decent set for a pretty new band which could a future if they persist in the future. Next up was 'Alice in Thunderland', a new that I had heard of for some time having played the local East Yorkshire circuit, based in Bridlington this 4 piece have made a name for themselves having recorded a few demos in the past and have finally released their debut album by themselves titled 'Hellfire', which is soon to be released. I wasn't sure what the band were like until today and they were pretty good at what they do. The bands line up consists of: Kala - vocals, Chris I'Anson -  guitars, Kev Truelove  - bass, Stu Millington  - drums. As a 4 piece they play pretty good metal and at times they really rock out and if the band really wanted to they could be doing stuff like Doro/ Saxon/ Primal Fear. Kala is a pretty good singer but she really does need more aggression in her voice as it is a little on the soft side, if she took a leave out of Doro's book and kind of studied the way she sings it would certainly do the bands music more justice. Not to knock her or the band I am just trying to help them and her, more diversity and power in her voice would work wonders for the band. A decent band whop could get some good support slots now they have an album under their belts. Songs played were: Open your Eyes, Take to the Limit, Into the darkest Night, Push, Always Forever, and a cover of Y&T's 'Forever', which really surprised me and  doubt if half the younger generation knew the band never mind the band, a great cover song indeed which got my thumbs up. Next came a young band from Hull 'Pastel Jack' a pretty good band indeed who certainly practice a lot and put on a decent show. Formed back in 2007 by Neil Bailey (vocals), Peter Delaney (guitars), Dave Cope (bass) and drummer Tom Cope the 4 musicians have come a long way since  they started and I have seen them progress into a pretty fine outfit. It has to be said that Neil has just a small hint of Ray Alder (Fates Warning) in his vocals which I do like and musically they have hints of Megadeth  and pretty technical at times and they could be a Progressive Power Metal outfit at times. I must say they are a decent young band with potentials ahead. Songs played were: Dead Walls, Down to a sunless Sea, Methematic & Idiosyncratic. A metal festival would not be a festival with any more of extreme metal and next was 'Infernal Creation', Hull's only Black Metal band playing the typical Norwegian style with their hyper intense Black Metal mayhem (and I don't mean the band at this point) but there brand of extreme music with vocals by Neiphrobous (who no offense sounds like he is struggle to get rid of his piles) but for the music they are creation only such a name would suit the singer and his vocals. Other members include Bastard on drums, Beleth (bass ) and guitarist sin. This extreme Black Metal band play powerful music and if you are a fan of Black metal then I am sure this band would appeal to you. Been influenced by Mayhem, Bathory, Murduk,, Dissection, Cradle of Filth, to name a few these guys put Black Metal in the Hull map. Heavy ear splitting metal from start to finish. Songs played were: I am the Poison, The mother of Fire, The Imsidious Gospel, Angel of endless Anger, War is Worship, Cataclysm. Next was 'Downfall', a band from Hull which have been creating noise pollution for some years now. This 4 piece have been ripping Hull's scene apart for some time now and created their own brand of Hardcore, with scream/ shouting vocals by Jim Hodge. Making music that sometimes comes across between Eye Hate God, Graveyard Rhodeo, Down with bands like Hatebreed seem to mix well for the band. There brand of extreme Hardcore has certainly put them on Hull's map. Songs played were: Live Strong, Death Pt1, Burn Notice, Wing and a Prayer, Gut Check. A band not new to the festival was 'Ravenage', the band put together by festival organizer Glynn The Heralder (vocals), who has been doing this band for some years now and have shared the stage with the likes of Nightwish, Hail of Bullets, Dimmu Borgir, Grand Magus, and many other fine acts across Europe and the UK. Formed back in 2007 the band recorded their debut demo in 2008 titled 'The Ravenage'. More success followed and soon the band recorded yet more material and and album. With the band play Celtic Folk Metal/ Viking Metal this style of metal has become almost and popular as Black Metal and I am sure the similarities share the same goal. The band played a great set of blistering Celtic Metal from start to finish and Glynn certainly knows how to entertain the crowd. Songs played were: Northbound Pt1,  Fresh from the field of Victory, Shield walls Collide, Road to Retribution, Drunken Sailor, More Beer. After a short change over the next band to hit the stage was 'Innersylum', a band I have never seen but knew the band well and I was looking forward  to see in how much vocalist Derk had progressed with his new band. Having seen his previous bands like The Hidden, and long time drummer Paul Mendham who was also with UK veterans Salem, both have played in the same bands since the departure of Salem back in the 80s. Salem return without Paul but Innersylum are a pretty good band. Derk is a great singer still shook in a time warp. Derk could be a great singer for a band in Europe or even the U.S. play Power Metal or Progressive Metal. Innersylum are a pretty good band but I don't know why the music doesn't progress or doesn't grasp me as the band are great musicians, no doubt about that. I just feel they need more variation in their music, some faster up temp songs which will grab the audience and label interest I know of this. Sounding like Queensryche the band are good at what they do but like I said more up tempo songs will grab labels attentions, I wish the best of luck. Having heard some of the music on Myspace the demo has a good production and at the festival they went down really well. A good Hull band that need a push in the right direction. Songs played by this 4 piece were: Into the Light, Everlasting, Reason for Living, My World, Hell I am Inside, Arms of an Angel, Forever. Check them out! Next was 'Salem', the band who released a 7" single back in the early 80's 'Reach for Eternity' a classic song that put them on the N.W.O.B.H.M. in the 80's, I even have the single to this date. Why this band never got a deal until now is beyond me. Signed to High Roller records in Germany the band have finally released this song and many more demo songs onto 1 CD and hopefully another album in 2013 of new material. Joining Simon Saby (vocals) is original  guitarist Paul Macnamara with bassist Ade Jenkinson Mark Alison (guitars) , drummer Ricky Squires. This band could of been up there with Tygers of Pan Tang, Samurai, Grim Reaper back in the day but sadly the band didn't make until now. It was great to see the band back together and with a impressive set been: Retribution, Cold as Steel, Fight for the Cause, Rock Fever, Coming for You, The other side of Hell, Hangman's Noose, High Steak, The King, Reach for Eternity. Next up was London based act 'Power Quest', a great band that I have seen come along way since the early days with keyboard wizard Steve Williams left Dragon Force to form this band. I much prefer Powerquest to Dragon Force music any day of the week, but since this show the band have called it a day which is a crying shame as they have worked really hard over the years. With the band recording several albums firstly with Italian label 'Underground Symphony' before the band went onto Frontiers and then Napalm Records. Tonight was one of the last show the band played live and with new singer Colin Callanan handling the vocals and only Gav Owen been the only guitarist that night as Andy couldn't make it the band pulled off a great set of songs from the debut album right up until the last album 'Blood Alliance' in 2011. The band have played with the likes of Symphony X last year and have created a strong following around the UK and Europe. Sadly the band are now more but we remember the good times the band shared on stage with the fans. I wish to send my best regards to all the members of the band and I am sure they will continue to write good music in their musical careers. Great night but sadly the end for Power Quest - R.I.P..  A great festival which I am sure will grow this year and many more to come. 


     &     The Cockpit  - Leeds (UK)  1.12.12  

Well this is the 3rd time I have seen 'Fozzy' live, 1st in my home city of Hull, then in York and now Leeds, my 2nd interview too with the band. But Rich, Frank (Buddy back then) and I go back to the Stuck Mojo days back in the mid 90's having seen them so many times and traveled around Holland and the UK with them was an honour. I have to say I haven't seen Soil before until now so that was a nice surprise. Fozzy have been around since 99 and they really haven't looked back, having started out doing covers for their 1st CD and looking like Steel Panther to some degree the band went from strength to strength. With the band playing some of the biggest festivals like Download, and next year Bloodstock the band have certainly made a name for themselves. With the band recording 5 albums to date, the band latest album 'Sin & Bones' released through Century Media this album proves how successful and strong the album is. Tonight Leeds was ready for Fozzy and also Soil and with a pretty packed turn out was a great show indeed. Chris Jericho is a pretty damn good front man but better still is guitarist Rich Ward who certainly has the moves and plays like a demon. The rest of the band certainly prove they have what it takes and with Frank been an old Mojo drummer both Rich and Frank have a understanding on how they work well together. Getting the night started was 'Breed 77', who I missed but they certainly got the crowd warmed up for Fozzy, who played a great set and the kids loved it!! Songs played were: Spider in my Mouth, Sandpaper, Eat the Rich, Inside my Head, She's my Addiction, God pounds his Nails, To kill a Stranger, Martyr no More, Sin & Bones, Enemy, & Blood Happens. Fozzy certainly proved they are a force to be reckoned with a fine set indeed. Next up was 'Soil', this band were formed back in 97, this band have certainly become a big name for the time they have been around, I mean the song 'Halo' was the starting point for the band, the bands biggest success which has put their trade mark on them, like Metallica's 'Sad but True' , 'Halo' is Soil's trade mark. Formed by vocalist Ryan McCombs who departed the band in Jordan Lee but in 2011 Ryan returned for the 'Scars' reunion tour which pretty much says it all. The band also have a interesting back ground from the ashes of Death Metal band 'Broken Hope' some of which you may know and some not depending on your age, I certainly remember them signed to Metal Blade and sounded like Obituary, Malevolent Creation at times with the rest of the band coming out of a band called 'Oppressor' another Death Metal band, were Ryan came last to join Soil. The band have released 5 albums and a DVD to date, doesn't seem like a lot but with the band having line-up changes I think they are on top form now and ready to take on the world. A new album is due in 2013 so look out for that . Well the crowd were certainly hot by the time Fozzy left the stage so it was only time for Ryan and the boys to show Leeds what they were made of. It only seemed like a short set for both band but then again there were 3-4 band on the bill that night I had missed 2 of them and so there was a curfew so it was finished by 10pm.  Songs that Soil played were: Breaking me Down, Pride, Need to Feel, My Time , My Own, Redefine, 37 Stitches, Inside, The One, Unreal, Halo and a cover of Black Betty. The crowd loved it and so did the band, a nice hot and sweaty night soon to be finished by northen cold winter outside phew... 

     The Relentless Garage  - London 20.11.12    


Well it's always good to see the Metal Queen live, Doro Pesch had started her career with the band 'Warlock' back in 82 when she found her fellow musicians to form a true Heavy Metal band, and with the success of Warlock the band recorded several albums and toured the world. Great success came for the band with albums like 'Hellbound', ' Burning the Witches', and later on 'True as Steel', the band only recorded 4 albums. It was in 89 when Doro released her 1st album 'Force Majeure' and she has never looked back. Like any band they  have line up changes, mainly with guitar players and Doro has had her fair share of them, with the current line up been Johnny Dee (drums), Nick Douglas (bass), Baas Maas (guitars), Luca Princiotto (guitars) and Harrison Young (keyboards) the band's line up could not be any stronger. Having seen Doro live since 99 at Wacken I have seen her progress throughout the years and she certainly knows how to get the crowd going, like Rob Halford, Dio etc.. she is a great asset and superb performer to watch and hear live. With the current album 'Raise your Fist' recently released through Nuclear Blast her tour is still happening as I write this throughout Europe. This was the 3rd time I had visited the Garage in London, having seen Savatage and Galactic Cowboys back in the 90's it was a strange place to visit and see how the venue had changed. Support band 'Seven' I only caught a brief part of so I could not review their set but what I did see they were pretty good for a melodic Heavy Metal band. The band received a decent response from the crowd who waited anxiously for Doro to hit the stage. And it wasn't long before the intro tape started up and the lights went down and a raw from the crowd knew that Doro was about to hit the stage. So it was lights, camera and action!! Great intro and a Doro ran onto the stage were she was warmly welcome by fans that had come from such places as Scotland, Ireland and many others parts of the UK. If you haven't seen the band before then I suggest you do so on their next tour. Like Rob Halford a great front man and performer Doro is without doubt the 'Metal Queen' just as Rob is the 'Metal God', Doro is a great front woman who knows how to get the crowd going, raising her fist in the air and sharing the mic with the crowd is a true metal warrior. The band played a fantastic performance and the crowd love it and much as the band did. The set list was awesome, and yes it must be hard for an artist like Doro to pick the perfect set list which included songs from the 1st Warlock album right up to the new album 'Raise Your Fist' so there was a perfect set of songs that nice. Songs that were included were: Hellraiser, I rule the Ruins, Burning the Witches, Fight for Rock, Night of the Warlock, Hellbound, True as Steel, Raise your Fists, Fur Immer, Metal Racer, Earthshaker Rock, We are the Metalheads, Revenge, Metal Tango, Hero, Breaking the Law, We are All, Love me in Black, & East meets West. Well what can one say? Only to see Doro with Lita Ford would be a dream come true don't you agree? Great gig indeed.

   &       Sheffield Corporation (UK)  8.10.12      


Well this year I haven't done too many gigs, 4 in total & thank God Bloodstock pretty much made up for it. To see the finest in my opinion Thrash metal band live again was awesome, yes folks were talking about Over Kill. Having seen the band so many times since 87 I have always admired the band and their work and see this band as a totally underrated band who deserve more than they get credit for. Ok so we have the big 4 who are good at what they do but are totally overrated, except for Anthrax who deserve more credit. Why don't Over Kill, Testament, Exodus and Forbidden hit the road together now that would be a killer tour right? Well tonight I returned to Sheffield's premier club 'Corporation' to the delights of seen in Over Kill for the 1st time in this city and the band haven't played this far up north since 'Christmas on Earth' gig back in Leeds in 88. Over Kill played 2 shows in the UK this year, London and now Sheffield. Supporting the band were 3 acts but I only saw '3 Inches of Blood', an impressive band from Canada. Formed back in 99 with Cam Pipes, Justin Hagberg Shane Clark and Ash Pearson. Having recorded 5 albums, their current one been 'Long live Heavy Metal' in 2012 through Century Media the band are certainly making waves in the metal scene. Playing to a decent crowd who certainly knew the band was a good sign for the band. These 5 guys play a mixture of Thrash and Speed Metal which in their favour works really well. There music kind of reminds me of 2 Canadian metal acts 'Exciter' and 'Anvil' with Halford/ King Diamond screaming vocals which suit the music that's for sure. The band have come along way since their early days and tonight the band were ready to hit the stage and give Over Kill a run for their money, and in some ways they did. Songs played by 3 Inches of Blood were: Leather Lord, Deadly Sinners, Metal Woman, Night Merauders, Revenge in a Vulture, Trail of Champions, Dark Messenger, Goatriders Horde.

Next came the mighty 'Over Kill' from New Jersey, these guys don't fuck about and they mean business that's for sure. Having formed back in 1980 by Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth (vocals) and bassist D.D. Verni with original guitarist Dan Spitz ex Anthrax and drummer Rat Skates the band recorded demos and after the demos have a record deal by then Dan had left the band to join Anthrax and his replacement was Bobby Gustafson who remained in the band with Rat from 'Feel the Fire' the bands debut in 85 up until 'Taking Over' were Rat left and was replaced by Sid Falck for the next 3 albums. Over Kill however have had their fair shares of guitarist replacements and drummers up until 99 onwards when both Blitz and D.D. found Dave Lipsk (guitars), Derek Tailer (guitars) and drummer Ron Lipnicki to complete the line up. Well I was ready for the show and so were the crowd this night when a nuclear bomb was about to explode and hit the stage, yes it's time for the one and only 'Over Kill'. The lights went down and the intro started only to have your face ripped apart by this awesome band. Playing songs from the classic years up until the new album was a great night and for a band who have released 16 album is really hard for the band to pick their songs for the show but the band did play some awesome songs, a couple that I have never seen them play before. So it was a right treat tonight. With the band just released this year their new album 'The Electric Age' which is typical in your face Thrash Metal is a killer album and worth checking out. It was a great night and a pleasure meeting the guys once again. The set list included: Come & get It, Bring me the Night, Rotten to the Core, It Lives, Electric Rattlesnake, Hello from the Gutter, Ironbound, Save Yourself, Old School, Who tends the Fire, In union we Stand, Elimination, Coma and Fuck You/ Powersurge

      9th August to 12th  - 2012   

Well another past since the festival in 2011 and what a great year that was and to be back again was also amazing. I've only ever missed 2 Bloodstocks since it started and I remember the 1st one indoors with Saxon and Glenn Hughes been on the bill, that was awesome. Really wish Glenn would play again but I think it's a little too heavy for him these days, but then again never say never? Since day one I have seen this baby grow into a teenager and it's now in it's mid 20's, this is a great festival and a very friendly and warm family orientated business. I think the festival should remain the size it is now, maybe a little bigger to keep the atmosphere of a true metal festival without going commercial, I don't think this will happen with this festival. Last year saw some killer acts and again this year has some killer acts too and even bigger names like Alice Cooper and Machine Head to headline this years festival. The weather this year was awesome, hot at times and a little rain on Sunday didn't stop us all having a good time. So now to the review, Thursday was a little warm up night with bands like Viking Skull and a few other names but I didn't see them as I arrived too late but from what I heard the bands were great. I didn;t get chance to see all the band due to interviews but here is a review of the band I did capture live, so enjoy and thanks to the Bloodstock family and Adam @ Noise Cartel, rock on my metal brothers and sisters!!!

Friday 10th:

Well after waken up to a warn morning it was time to get my shit together and head for the main stage to check out the opening act 'Malefice', a band from the UK signed to Metal Blade who have released 2 albums for the label so far 'Dawn Of Reprisal' and 'Awaken The Tides' of which both albums have seen the band opening up for such acts like God Forbid and Devil Driver. The band have also released 2 previous albums prior to signing to Metal Blade called 'Relentless' and 'Entitles' both on other independent labels. The band's current line-up consists of: Dale Butler (vocals), Ben Symons (guitars), Andrew Wilson (guitars), Tom Hynes (bass) and drummer Chris Allan Whyte. For the 1st band of the day and opening act they went down really well considering people were either still half asleep or hung over from the partying the night before. Mixing a style of across  between As I Lay Dying, Devil Driver, the band certainly proved they could wake up a crowd at 11am. Songs played were:  Delirium, Nothing Left, Dreams Without Courage, Omega, only playing a short set was enough to wake and get the crowd going. Next came German Power Metal act 'Freedom Call', the band that once featured Dan Zimmerman (Gamma Ray) on drums. The band were put together back in 98 by Dan and Chris Bay (guitar/ vocals) and with the band having line-up changes the band found to complete the current line up with Klaus Sperling (ex Primal Fear/ Sinner) drummer, Samy Saemann (bass) and guitarist Lars Rettkowitz. The band have recorded 7 albums and with the debut released in 99 under the name of 'Stairway To Fairyland' was the beginning of what is now, and like most bands of this success have played Bloodstock before and in Freedom Call's case this is their 2nd time or maybe 3rd time here, certainly their 2nd on the outdoor festival. The crowd were certainly ready for these guys and the band were certainly ready for Bloodstock, mixing their style of German style Power Metal, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Brainstorm, Running Wild style goes well for these guys and the crowd just loved them. Having several albums released with the bands new album 'Land Of The Crimson Dawn' released early this year sees the band moving forward and to day the band played extremely well and captured the hearts of many. Songs played were: We are One, United Alliance, Rockstars, Tears of Babylon, Power & Glory, Warriors, Land of light, Freedom call. A great band still alive and kicking.

 Sweden Doom metaller's 'Grand Magus' were next to hit the stage on a nice sunny and hot day, this power trio have been around since about 2000 and with the band Janne 'JB' Christoffersson (vocals and guitar) with bassist Fox when there old band 'Cardinal Fang' broke up, they teamed up with ex drummer Fredrik  Liefvendalh to complete the early line up within the band. They recorded some song which appeared on compilation album which song saw the interest of their previous label Rise show interest in the band. It wasn't long before the band entered the studio to record their debut album self titled in 2001. This was the start of this Doom Metal band who remind me of across between Candlemass, Trouble, Witchfinder General to name a few. Yes they are a great band for the music they play and at times it is up lifting for a Doom Metal band. They are now joined by drummer Lugwig Witt, a great drummer and a great addition to the band. Recently signed to Nuclear Blast with the bands new album 'The Hunt' sees the band making progress. Here are the songs they played live: Storm, King slayer, Like the oar strikes the water, Ravens guide our way, Sword of the ocean, I the jury, Valhalla rising, Hammer of the north, Iron will. The Swede's still play quality music and that's a fact. Next came 'Iced Earth', I really shouldn't need an introduction here but here is a very small one. Formed by guitarist Jon Schaffer back in 85, originally under the name 'Purgatory' but changed their name due to another band under the same name, Iced Earth seemed the right choice and move and to this day I believe the choice was right. In 90 the band signed to Century Media and released their debut album which was self titled. A great debut album mixing the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest with hints of U.S. Power Metal band Helstar, which to this day works superb and the band have found their own identity. With 10 albums released and various vocal line up changes including Tim 'Ripper' Owens (ex Judas Priest), Matt Barlow, Gene Adam, John Greely have so far been the front men of the band. Matt has returned and left the band so many times they have now found ex Into Eternity singer Stu Block, a great singer and I suggest you check out his old band who released CD's on Century Media too, a mix of Progressive Death Metal sounding like across between Death meets Fates Warning. The crowd were ready for Iced Earth at Bloodstock and again this isn't the 1st time they played the open air, so it was good to see the band live. The crowd loved them and they played a great set, although the sound was too high and at times sounded distorted was a slight let down. Musically they played really well and with the band promoting 'Dystopia' this is a fine album, shame they were on so early. Songs played were: Dystopia, Burning times, Angels holocaust, Slave to the dark, Watching over me, V, My own saviour, Anthem, Boiling point, Damien, Iced earth. 

Next to hit the stage was 'Sepultura', these Brazilian thrasher's are a fine act and still after 2 decades or more they still prove they have what it takes to rip the stage to pieces. Having seen the band on their debut UK show in 89 with Sodom I have seen this band progress throughout the years and and they really don't take prisoners, despite the Cavalera brother's no longer within the band both Andears Kisser and Paulo Jr have kept the band alive with MAx leaving been replaced by Derrick Green on vocals and new drummer Eloy Casagrande the 4 piece are still brutal to this day with their music. If you look back at the bands debut album 'Morbid Visions' back in 86 it was pretty good for what it was even thought the production sucked the songs are classics, oh and by the time they released 'Beneath The Remains' the band were set for stadium, a true classic thrash album that to this day is a cult classic. With 12 albums the band have progressed and kept their Brazilian roots of music mixed with Thrash metal which works really well for the band. The bands new album 'Kairos' released in 2011 is a great album, and a damn heavy album indeed. This  been the debut performance at Bloodstock was a real treat for fans who had not seen the band before and those of old like myself, so I was excited to see  them live and yes they can still pull it off even if there's only one guitarist. The crowd loved them and they were brutal as fuck, a great performance. Songs played were: Arise (intro), Beneath the remains, Refuse/ resist, Kairos, Convicted in life, Mask, Territory (with Tim Owens), Arise, Roots bloody roots. A awesome set and even better with Tim making a special appearance. Next to hit the stage was Black metal act 'Watain', this band hail from Sweden believe it or not and not Norway like most bands of this style come from. This band were formed back in 98 and with the band releasing their 7" EP The Essence of Black Purity' was just the beginning for the band and it wasn't long before French label Drakkar Productions offering the band a the band soon released their debut album 'Rapid Deaths Curse' in 2000. Rave reviews saw these guys are Sweden's new Black Metal hopefuls and with a popularity growing the band were soon supporting the major Black Metal acts and playing festivals like Wacken. This year saw the band playing Bloodstock and with the band promoting 'Lawless Darkness' released in 2011. Today was a Black Metal day as we had 2 bands playing this style of extreme music. Impressive stage presence made the set worth checking out just for a few moments even if you don't like this style of music it was worth a look at least. Songs played were: Malfeitor, Sworn to the Dark, Total Funeral, The serpents Chalice, Hymn to Qayin, Reaping Death, Stellarvore, Waters of Ain. As the day got on it's way the next band hit the stage, yes it was my old friend Tim 'Ripper' Owens and crew with 'Dio Disciples', as the main stage is dedicated to Ronny James Dio it only seemed fair to have his fellow band mates Simon Wright (drums) Craig Goldy (guitars) and Scott Warren (keyboards) to pay tribute to the man himself. Joining Craig and co was Tim Owens (ex Judas Priest), along with Toby Jepson (Little Angels) and James LoMenzo (ex Megadeth/ White Lion) to complete the line-up. I have to say I was really looking forward to see in and hearing the band live after see in some footage on You Tube. The festival and the band were ready and the sun was shining so it was a great day to pay tribute to the man on the silver mountain. Tim has in incredible voice and he really did shine through with his awesome vocals and Toby did a great job too, but I do feel that no disrespect to Toby I think Jorn Lande and Tim would of been the killer vocal duet. Nevertheless, the crowd loved the band and the music was awesome, plenty of crowd singing and fists in the air made this a special time which will always be remembered. I do hope that this line-up do an album of their own material, that would be a killer album don't you think? Songs played were: Stand up and Shout, Holy Diver, Egypt (The chains are On), Kill the King, Magica/ Lord of the last Day/ Only the fools sail Away, Neon Knights, The last in Line, Catch a Rainbow/ Stargazer, Long live rock & Roll, Manon the silver Mountain, Heaven & Hell, Rainbow in the Dark. Well what can one say about this awesome set list? And so the end is almost upon us as the darkness embraces us with yet another Black Metal band, this time headliners were 'Behemoth', this Polish act like Vader, Decapitated have made a success out of their country conquering parts of the world that only some Polish bands would ever dream of. Formed back in 91 having played on the local scene for some time it wasn't until 99 when the band released their debut album 'Satanica' which contained some Middle-Eastern influences like most bands do these days to spice up their music and in some case this works well for most bands. This 4 piece seem to be getting a lot of attention, especially if there headlining such a festival like Bloodstock, and to be honest I'm not really a Black Metal fan but they do play impressive music, compared to Watain in my opinion, and have a sort of Vader style but a lot more darker and faster in places. With the bands current release 'Evangelion' released in 2009 it seems like a while since the last album to still be promoting it so I guess there about to hit the studio soon to start work on their next album. I guess Black Metal music really has to be played later on a night to capture the atmosphere and with this band the darkness did them justice for their stage presence, making the whole show more interesting. Songs played were: Ov fire and the Void, Demigod, Moonspell Rites, Conquer All, Christians to the Lions, Alas lord is upon Me, Decade to Therion, At the left hand ov God, Slaves shall Serve, Chant for Eschaton 2000, 23, Lucifer. Well that was the Friday all sorted and time for a beer before bed, great start to the festival and more tomorrow.

Saturday 11th: 

well another day and time to check out more bands and more interviews planned, so after breakfast it was time to hit the main stage once again, this time opening the main stage was UK Death metal act 'Benediction', the band who sold their life's away to Nuclear Blast and I mean this in a good way as one of the guitarist told me, at least they have a deal with a great label. Early start and most still suffering from hang overs still managed to crawl out of their tents to hit this old school Death Metal band. Having formed back in 89 by Paul Adams with Pete Rew, & Darren Brooks along with Napalm Death's now front man Barney the 4 recorded a demo 'The dreams you Dread' which ended up in the hands of Nuclear Blast and it was in 90 when they released 'Subconscious Terror', pretty much a Grindcore/ Death Metal band and you can hear why Barney got the job in Napalm Death. Impressive reviews for a debut album saw the band moving on and recording yet another 8 more albums, their last 'Killing Music' in 2008. Still with no new album in the works the band have managed to play Bloodstock open air twice now. Vocals now handled by Dave Hunt and ex Cerebral Fix bassist Frank Healy on board with Neil Hutton on drums is now the current line-up. A good 30 minutes or so of ripping Death metal certainly woke the crowd up that's for sure. Unfortunately no songs were placed on the internet but they did a decent job and the crowd would be ready for the next band to hit the stage. Next up was 'I Am I', the new band put together by ex Dragon Force front man ZP, Dragon Force have certainly made a name for themselves over the years playing some of the biggest festivals around the world and selling 1000's of album world-wide and coming across between Helloween, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius they are a force to be reckoned with. I have to admit they did nothing for me, but I do feel that ZP has made the right move leaving the band as I feel that 'I Am I' are a much better band, more controlled music, not all about speed and ZP voice shines through better with his new band. Only just released their debut album 'Event Horizon' which is a great start to a fresh and new beginning for him and his band. This band is more melodic with hints of AOR meets Symphonic Metal with some Power Metal thrown in as well makes the music more interesting. The crowd were certainly ready for the band and I was looking forward to see in just what ZP could come up with and how he got the crowd going. They did of course do a great job playing only 7 songs. The band are about to hit the UK soon touring so keep an eye open for that. Songs played were: This is my Life, In the air Tonight, Cross the Line, Wasted Wonders, Pave the Way, Kiss of Judas, Silent Genocide. A decent new band and I look forward to hearing more in the future.

 Next came 'Chthonic' from Thailand, which was kind of strange to have a band from Asia playing such a festival like Bloodstock, it was a honor to see and hear a band from so far away and I was certainly interested in hearing them and see them live for  the 1st time. Formed back in 95 in Taipei they mixed traditional Taiwanese music with ancient history with Black Metal, a strange combination that works well for such a band from so far away. Not only do this 4 piece bring some interesting music to the table there is also such instruments koto & shamisen, some of which we have never seen before. With the band releasing 6 albums something I knew nothing about they certainly have a history and following around their home country and over seas. It's hard to describe their music , so listen for yourself but in the meantime check them out if you are looking for something different. Songs played were: Ocean Quake, Southern Cross, Broken Jade, Forty-Nine theurgy Chains, Quasi Putrefaction, Quells the souls in sing ling Temple, Takao. 

Next was U.S. Stoner/ Doom Metal act 'Crowbar', a band have been around since 88 by Kirk Windstein (guitar/ vocals), who is the only original member left to this day. Having formed in the deep south of America these guys like Acid Bath, Eye Hate God, Down all have one thing in common, to play heavy Doom/ Sludge Metal and for Crowbar like the rest works wonders. Having hints of Sabbath & COC, Trouble in their music gives it that extra special feel to their music. Kirk is also a member of Down so you get that mixed vibe within the music. With the current line up Kirk on (vocals/ guitar), Matt Brunson (guitars), Pat Bruders (bass) and drummer Tommy Buckley been the current line-up today was a great day for Stoner/ Doom/ Sludge fans alike at the festival. The band certainly got eh crowd going with their impressive set and music which made a lot of fans happy. Their set list included: Conquering, New Dawn, Burn your World, The lasting Dose, Sever the wicked Hand, High rate Extinction, All I Had (I Gave), Planets Collide, The cemetery Angels.

 For me next was a band I hadn't seen since about 90/ 91, the original 'Sanctuary' prior to Nevermore who had supported Megadeth on the 'So Far So Good' tour in Bradford UK. I remember that well, it was a great show and really I went to see Sanctuary more than Megadeth. With the band releasing 'Refuge Denied' who was produced by Dave Mustaine was an impressive debut Power Metal album. That was a great album and a great tour. The band soon came back with 'Into The Mirror Black', even better album than the 1st album, more heavier songs, awesome vocals and sadly their last album for Epic, as the band broke up. Only to reform in May 2010 and to start work on the new album 'The year of the dead Dawn' to be released in 2013, I can't wait for that album. Well the band have played several shows in the U.S. including the ProgPower festival and now I am so happy that Bloodstock had seen the light and booked this awesome band, of which many had never seen before until now. For me like the band it was also a reunion, happy days return. 4 original members reformed the band, Warrel Dane (vocals), Jim Sheppard (bass), Lenny Rutledge (guitars) Dave Budbill (drums) and new guitarist Brad Hull, ex Forced Entry who had released 2 albums on Combat records. 

Yes Sanctuary were awesome and they out on a great show including new songs from the forthcoming album. Blistering set included: Die for my Sins, Taste Revenge, Future Tense, The mirror Black, Sanctuary, I am Low, World is Weird, Battle Angels. Shame they didn't play longer but I do hoe they return to the UK soon for a tour, welcome back guys!! Next came Bay area Thrasher's 'Testament', formerly known as the 'Legacy' in 83 with ex Exodus singer Steve Souza been replaced by Chuck Billy back in 86 prior to the release of their debut album 'The Legacy'. A fantastic debut album which saw the band supporting Anthrax throughout Europe and later on with bands like Judas Priest, Megadeth and many more. The band have come along way since the early days having proved to be one of the finest Thrash Metal bands of all time along side Over Kill, Exodus, Death Angel, Forbidden all of which are the under dogs of Thrash. This was the 2nd time the band had played Bloodstock Open Air, last with with ex Cradle drummer Nick Barker. It was great to see them once again playing in front of new and old Testament fans. With the band just released their new album 'Dark roots of Earth' which is a fantastic album the timing couldn't of been better for the band to play this festival. Back in the drum stool is ex Dark Angel/ Death/ Fear Factory drummer Gene Holgan, also was once in Testament for the album 'Demonic'. Chuck on the boys played some awesome classic tunes and a couple of new songs from the new album. Fantastic set and a great performance. Songs played were: Rise Up, The new Order, Native Blood, True American Hate, More than meets the Eye, Dark roots of Earth, Into the Pit, Practice what you Preach, Over the Wall, D.N.R., 3 days of Darkness. Awesome band and I am sure they will return to the UK soon.

Well it's time for the headliners for today, the mighty 'Machine Head', formed by ex Vio-Lence guitarist Rob Flynn, after the band broke up in the late 80's, early 90's I guess Rob wanted to do something different but still keep it heavy, this was in for the form of 'Machine Head'. Formed back on 12th October, (the day before my birthday), along with Adam Duce (bass) when they found guitarist Logan Mader & drummer Chris Kontos when the band recorded a demo which was sent to Roadrunner records. The label saw potential in the band soon snapped the band up, with the result been the album 'Burn My Eyes', the band classic trade mark to this day. With a tour with Slayer the band went from strength to strength until the band almost destroyed Ahrue Luster left the band leaving them as a 3 piece and almost at breaking point. It wasn't long before Rob called on ex Vio-Lence guitarist Phil Demmel to rejoin for the album 'Through the ashes of Empires' back in 2003. This album pretty much put them back on the map and things have been great ever since. Well it was a pleasure to see the band live, having not seen them since roughly 97/ 98. They were awesome I tell you, heavy as fuck that's for sure!! Blistering through at well heavy set that left the fans amazed and I have to say I was well pleased with their performance. Promoting their new album 'Unto the Locust'. I bet this is properly the smallest festival they have played but a great one at that. Songs played were: I am Hell, Aesthetics of Hate, Imperium, A thousand Lies, Lotus, Death Church, Blood for Blood, Darkness Within, Block, Halo, Davidian. Great act to finish the night off before a beer or two.

Sunday 12th:

Last day of the festival, damn it went so quickly and to think we have another year to wait till it all happens again, well one band has been confirmed so far 'Anthrax' so that's a great start so far. What bands would you like to see? I would like to see some more melodic bands on the main stage, especially Pretty Maids (hint Bloodstock team). So the weather today was fine but a little rain later didn't hurt as we all need to cool down. Well it's been 22yrs since I last saw the opening band for the day, this was 'Corrosion of Conformity' also known as 'C.O.C.'. Formed back in 82 from Raleigh in North Carolina started out doing across between Punk and Hardcore with hints of Black Sabbath. For this band it worked really well and still does today even if the band have gone in a more across between Thin Lizzy, Trouble, Sabbath, groove with of course the odd hint of Hardcore thrown in as well, this works well for this trio. The bands debut album 'Eye for an Eye' was released back in 83 was ok but a little too punky for me. I much preferred the next lot 'Animosity' and 'Technocracy' onwards. With 9 studio albums the band are still going strong. I was really looking forward to today's performance, which started off with classic old school stuff right up to the new material. They call still play like they use to and with no roadie's that's total dedication. The fans enjoyed their set so did I but the old stuff stood out for me the most, been a old schooler. Songs played were: Loss for Words, Mad World, Psychic Vampire, Seven Days, Your Tomorrow, The Doom, Vote with the Bullet, The Moneychangers, Deliverance, Rat City, Holier, Positive Outlook, Technocracy. Next to hit the stage were Canadian Power Metaller's 'Kobra And The Lotus', this young band fronted by female singer Kobra are certainly making a name for themselves having toured earlier this years with Saxon & Judas Priest, a show I attended in London but didn't see this band because I had never heard their music or their name before. I missed a great band but happily to say managed to check them out at Bloodstock. This band have so far released 2 albums to date, their debut 'Out of the Pit' in 2010 and the current one self titled in 2012. This 5 piece band make pretty impressive music, at times reminds me of Cage, Helstar, Hammerfall or even Brainstorm. Nevertheless I would love to hear their albums but from what I have seen and heard I think this band will go along way. Kobra could be the next Doro, who knows? A great tour with Doro and Kobra... would be a great tour indeed. Well the band received a warm welcome from the crowd and they certainly put up a fight as Kobra was certainly spitting venom into the crowd. The band were discovered by Kiss bassist Gene Simmons who later on signed them to his label and to this day are still part of his label. A great young band with a promising future awaits them. Unfortunately no set list was put on the net but they did play 'Holy Diver' by Dio, 'Welcome to my Funeral' & 'Forever One'. Check these guys out!! Next up was Death Metal act 'Nile', hailing from South Carolina who were formed back in 93 by the only original member Karl Sanders (guitars/ vocals). This band have certainly made a name for themselves over the years since the bands debut album back in 98 titled 'Amongst the catacombs of Nephren-Ka' released on Relapse records. With various line-up changes of drummers it wasn't long before they found drummer George Kollias with the rest of the band been Dallas Toler-Wade (vocals/ guitars) and bassist Todd Ellis. Having seen the band at Dynamo festival in the 90's it was nice to see them again, even Georges drum kit was amazing, just wish I had one like that!! With the bands reputation the crowd were ready for Nile and yes the heaven's opened up on their set for a short time as the banks of the river Nile flooded Bloodstock!! This heavy and brutal Death Metal band played a great set with a lot of technical riffs and blast beat drumming. With the band promoting their new album 'At the gates of Sethu', released on Nuclear Blast. Heavy band indeed and worth checking out if you're into Death Metal. Songs played were: Sacrifice unto Sebek, Lashed to a slave Stick, Ithyphallic, Permitting the noble dead of descend to the Underworld, Supreme Humanism of Megalomania, Sarcophagus, Black seeds of Vengeance. 

Next up was 'Evile', this young British band from Yorkshire have certainly made waves in the Thrash Metal scene over the last few years. Formed back in 99 when school mates Matt Drake and Ben Carter met and started talking about forming a band, playing Metallica covers until they decided to find other musicians locally to form a band playing their own Thrash Metal in the form of Evile. Two brother Matt and Ol both guitarist along with Ben Carter and Mike Alexander R.I.P. sadly passed away back in 2010 and was replaced by ex Rise To Addiction. With Evile releasing 3 albums, their 1st 'Enter The Grave' in 2007 with producer Flemming Rasmussen (Metallica) at hand, this really got the band up and moving and with Earache behind them has done the band a great deal of exposure. As Evile were suppose to be on the 2nd stage they were moved when Deicide didn't make it to the festival for some strange reason, shame as I wanted to see them never have. Nevertheless Evile are a great band and they put on a great performance that left the crowd on a high. Songs played were: Five Serpents Teeth, We who are about to Die,  In dreams of Terror, In Memoriam, Cult, Infected Nation, Centurion, Thrasher. 

Time for a break and interviews, so next up was 'Anvil' well what can one say about a band that have influenced me since I was 11 back in 81? I love this band and always have, they really have had it hard throughout the years until recently when the film was released 'The Story of Anvil', which put the band back on the map and I'm so happy for them. Formed back in 78 by Lips and Robb Reiner who had the dream to form a metal band, this dream came true and the band found guitarist Dave Allison & bassist Ian Dickson and released their debut album 'Hard & Heavy' in 81. A great album with a lot of Thrash Metal elements with Robbs double bass drumming pretty much is said to be the ultimate Thrash Metal drummer of all time. This album is heavy for it's time & has certainly influenced Metallica, Slayer & more... The next step was 'Metal on Metal' back in 82 a killer album and heavy as fuck for it's time. having seen this band several times since 82 I have seen this band grow and there on top  form now, having released 2 killer  albums of recent 'This is Thirteen' and 'Juggernaut Of Justice' which I highly recommend. 

It was about time that Bloodstock got Anvil on the bill as it wouldn't be a metal festival without Anvil and the crowd were really hyped up for these Canadian Power Metal trio. With new bassist Sal Italiano (ex Cities the band with Twisted Sister drummer) now in Anvil as G5 left the band they were ready to kick some ass at Bloodstock. I believe Lips was asked not to swear but hey this is Lips and he doesn't give a shit. A great performance which included:  March of the Crabs, 666, Juggernaut of Justice, Winged Assassins, On Fire, This Thirteen, Mothra, Swing Thing, Metal on Metal, Running. A great band you must see live!!

 Next for me was Black Metal kings 'Dimmu Borgir' from Norway, this band have really crown on me, having only liked Venom, Possessed in the Black Metal scene I really don't listen too this sort of stuff but this band do it so well. All the atmospherics and melodies really work well for the band, as they have great productions and the vocals are excess able which I really do enjoy listening too. When I listen too Black Metal I automatically think of shit productions and well not so good music but this band have it made, just what a real modern Black Metal band should sound like or at least have decent productions like this lot. Formed back in 93 by Shagrath & Silenoz, the only 2 original members left to date, having recorded 9 albums with the bands debut 'For all Tide' back in 94 and the current album 'Abranhadabra' in 2010, the band ate still promoting this album very strongly and playing all the major festivals around Europe and now for the 2nd time Bloodstock. It's good to see the band return to this festival and it's funny to see them playing in day light, not very satanic is it? haha!! As always the band always put on a good show and today was no exception with their atmospheric Black Metal I had to say I enjoyed watching them once again. The current line-up is Galder, Daray, Cyrus, Gerlioz along with the 2 already mentioned. A great performance by one of the top if not top Black Metal bands in my opnion. Songs played were: Spellbound, In deaths Embrace, Dimmu Borgir, Gateways, Ritualist, Vredesbyrd, The Serpentine Offering, Puritania, Progenies of the great Apocalypse, Mourning Palace. Well as the festival was almost over it was time for the finishing act, a legend in his own right, yes folks 'Alice Cooper', who career started out back in late 60's early 70's and with such hits like 'I'm 18' and 'Schools Out' been his all time classic and later on 'Poison' making him have chart success in later years. Alice just keeps on going like Lemmy, Ozzy, Rob Halford etc.... and these artist will carry on till they drop, credit it were its due. With Alice's debut album 'Pretties For You' in 69 was just the turning point for him, and with 26 albums to date really does say something for such a professional musician. His latest album 'Welcome 2 my Nightmare' released in 2011 is one of his best albums along side 'Rise Your Fists & Yell', 'Trash'. With Alice's current line-up consisting of ex Michael Jackson's guitarist Orianthi been one of the top guitarist and for a female guitarist she really does rock!!! Yes Alice has 3 guitarist in the band kind of like Maiden so 6 musicians is really cool. I haven't seen Alice before and to be honest I'm not really a fan of his work but with respect I have for him. I must say that he has a great stage show like King Diamond (that would be a great support act) as they both share a horror stage presence, with the guillotine, snakes and dolls on stage was truly great experience. Playing about a hour and half set with some classic songs and new was great, the crowd loved him and the band loved the crowd's attention. Songs played were: The black Widow, Brutal Planet, I'm Eighteen, Under my Wheel, Billion dollar Babies, No more Mr Nice Guy, Hey Stoopid, Is it my Body, Halo of Flies, I'll bite your face Off, Muscle of Love, Only women Bleed, Cold Ethyl, Feed My Frankenstein, Caffeine, Poison, Wicked young Man, Killer, I love the Dead, Schools Out & Elected. Well what a great year, great band and great weather. Be there next year as Anthrax have been confirmed so far. Thanx to Bloodstock team and Adam @ Noise Cartel for their support, horns up!!

     &     Sheffield O2  Academy (UK)   19.12.11    

Well this was going to be the last gig of 2011 for me and what a way to end it. I've seen some awesome gigs this year, especially Helstar, Redemption, Bloodstock and Saxon not to many a few more.. so having a show like Saxon to end on was a great end to the year for me. Having seen Saxon more times that I can remember and only missing 1 tour 'Lion Heart' was the only time in the last 10yrs of any Saxon show and many more years I have seen the band. So tonight was the 2nd leg of the 'Call To Arms' tour, last tour was early this year with support from Wolfsbane and Fury UK. So it was the week of Christmas and with money well spent and people suffering with the credit crunch Saxon still managed to pull a decent crowd along with the help of Crimes Of Passion (local band) opening the show and fellow Swedish Power Metaller's 'Hammerfall', this was a night to remember for sure. Local Sheffield band 'Crimes Of Passion' hit the stage which was pretty much unannounced well I didn't know they were on the bill but it was a pleasant surprise. Having seen this 5 piece in London last year support Jorn Lande the band seemed to get a decent crowd going with their melodic hard hitting Heavy Metal. The band only had about a 30 minute set roughly but what they played went down with the locals and people from surrounding areas. So to have this band opening up for Saxon was a pleasant surprise. Next up was Sweden Power Metal act 'Hammerfall', the band that was formed by Oscar DronJak (guitars) with vocalist Joacim Cans, Fredrik Larsson (bass) who are the only 3 original members remaining to date. The band were formed back in 93 with In Flames guitarist Jesper Stromblad and with their successful debut album 'Glory To The Brave' released through Nuclear Blast back in 97 also saw the band playing such successful festivals like Dynamo (Holland), a year I remember well. Fredrik left the band to join the likes of Evergrey and many more bands before rejoining in 2008. Like most bands Hammerfall have had their share of line-up changes and now with a steady line up with Oscar, Joacim, Fredrik they are also joined by ex The Poodles guitarist Pontus Norgren and ex Yngwie Malmsteen drummer Anders Johansson. The band have released several successful albums such as 'Legacy Of Kings', 'Crimson Thunder', 'Chapter V', and now the band are promoting their new album 'Infected', a great album. If you haven't seen the band before then I suggest you do so in 2012. Tonight was old fans supporting the band along with a new younger audience which rather surprised the band indeed. Hammerfall are a very successful and very talented band with a lot to offer in the future and with more successful albums and hopefully a live DVD in 2012 the future is promising for the band. Songs played were: By Any Means Necessary, Heeding The Call, Renegade, Bang Your Head, Blood Bound, Last Man Standing, Let The Hammer Fall, One More Time, Hearts On Fire. A ripping set, just wish they could of played a little longer. Next was of course the one and only mighty 'Saxon', what can one say about this impressive band like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, Motorhead & Black Sabbath have stood the set of time? Not a lot really, only that these bands have influences so many musicians and fans than any other bands in the genre of Heavy Metal. I mean you only have to look at Metallica who have shared the stages with the likes of Rob Halford, Biff Byford, Ozzy to see just how influences these bands have on such bands like Metallica. Saxon's career goes back to the 70's with their original name 'Son Of A Bitch', but soon changed their name to Saxon towards the early 80's. With the bands debut album 'Saxon' in 79 was the beginning of what is now a very successful and underrated band who deserve more credit for their contribution to the world of Heavy Metal. I mean the song 'Heavy Metal Thunder' pretty much summons up Saxon, what a great anthem!! Biff Byford and Paul Quinn are the only 2 original members left and with Nigel Glockler return to the band in the last 6yrs since the album 'Heavy Metal Thunder' the band are back on top form. Along with Paul, Biff and Nigel is also long time bassist Nibbs Carter, who joined the band back in 88 and guitarist  Doug Scarratt since 96 on the 'Dogs Of War' tour. Many successful albums with their career with 'Crusader', 'Wheels Of Steel', 'Denim & Leather', 'Killing Ground', 'Metal head' and many more and of course the bands new album 'Call To Arms'. There's something about the title song 'Call To Arms' which is a really emotional song, superb music and strong lyrics here is a song that should be released as a charity song for the lost soldiers that have fought for this country past and present. Tonight the band played their classics, some new songs and some songs I haven't seen them play in a long time, so it was a great gig to end the year on. Songs played were: Heavy Metal Thunder, Hammer Of The Gods, Never Surrender, When Doomsday Calls, Chasing The Bullet, Motorcycle Man, Back in 79, Dogs Of War, To Hell & Back Again, Call To Arms, Rock The Nation, (drums solo), Broken Heroes, Mist Of Avalon, Power & The Glory, Denim & Leather (guitar solo), Wheels Of Steel, Crusader, And The Bands Played On, 747 Strangers In The Night, Princess Of The Night. Well what can one say to a killer set list like this? Just incredible!! Look out for the next Saxon DVD out in 2012, can't wait for that one.

   Fibbers Club  - York  (UK)   9.11.11     

Well it's time to check out Fozzy once again, the band but together by American wrestler Chris Jericho as the front man and ex Stuck Mojo guitarist Rich Ward along with drummer Frank Fortsere also once in Stuck Mojo. Along with Frank, Rich and Chris is Paul Di Leo (bass) and guitarist Billy Grey. I have only seen Fozzy once before and that was back in my home city of Hull about 8yrs ago, not sure to be honest. It was good to see old friends like Rich and Frank again after been friends since the Stuck Mojo days. The band have certainly come along way since the days of Chris doing his wrestling and I feel that he now more concentrating on his band more so than the days of his wrestling. With the bands debut album 'Fozzy' back in 2000 which had cover songs such as Judas Priest, Accept, Motley Crue, Krokus, Ozzy and The Scorpions & more... this CD was more of a project until 'Happystance' in 2002 when the band released their 1st full length album. Since then the band have recorded more successful albums with 'All That Remains' and 'Chasing The Grail'. Now the band return to the UK after playing successful festivals in the past like Ozfest, Download and many more.... Chris and the boys delivered a cracking set tonight and also tonight was also Chris Jericho's birthday so a cake and some young ladies made there way to the stage to present him with the cake. The band were supported by 3 other bands, one been 'Jet Black', a band who had an image of 'Airbourne' from Australia and at times sounded like them but only in small doses. The crowd enjoyed 'Jet Black' and were pumped up for 'Fozzy'. The band hit the stage to the song 'Friday The 13th', appropriate considering Friday 13th webzine was at the show!! The crowd loved it and went crazy the turn out was pretty good considering it was mid week. Fibber's has a small stage which is great, more of a atmosphere but I feel more lighting on the stage could of helped the band more. The band however played about 1hr 15 minutes and with Rich Ward jumping about like a rabbit it was hard to keep up with him and especially trying to take some decent pictures was hard enough with little lighting. Still it goes to show that Rich is still full of beans and puts on a great performance. Chris has come along way with his vocals, they have become strong over the last few years and tonight showed how good he can sing. Other songs played were: Eat The Rich, Pray For Blood, Grail, Wanderlust, God Pounds His Nails, Let The Madness Begin, With The Fire, White Chapel, To Kill A Stranger, Feel Burn, Martyr and encores been : USB & Enemy. A decent night had by all, a decent band which still remind me a little bit of Stuck Mojo in places. 

      'The Underworld' -  London 1.10.11      

It's amazing to think my last 2 shows have been in London, 1st with Helstar and now Redemption, the band put together by guitarist Nick Van Dyke, along with Ray Alder (Fates Warning) on vocals and Bernie Versailles (Agent Steel) with bassist Sean Andrews and drummer Chris Quirarte to complete the line-up. It was a year ago since I last visited this club to see Jorn Lande and now I'm back again to witness yet another amazing band. Having seen Fates Warning 3 times in the past & Agent Steel twice I was really looking forward to this show. Been a massive fan of Ray Alders voice I really wanted to see how he would come along with this band and also Bernie's guitar work too. It was also a good time to finally meet guitarist Nick (finally) after speaking on the phone and net in the past it was 1st meeting with him and what a pleasure (Hi Nick!) as well as meeting Sean and Chris for the 1st time. Fates Warning along Psychotic Waltz are my favourite Progressive Metal bands and I also like Symphony X, Redemption of course and many more but those bands I really do like. I have so many bands in the Progressive Metal era I enjoy too many to mention!! I was rather disappointed with the lack of advertising for this show just like the Helstar show, what is it with London? If you're not a big band you never get to hear about bands like this which really sucks as this band are very talented musicians and if you have heard their music you will understand why. If you are a fan of either Fates Warning, Symphony X, Evergrey, and bands of that nature then you will love their music & I suggest you check out this band. With the band just releasing their new album 'This Mortal Coil' released through Inside Out Music it is an impressive 5th album, yes folks 5 albums to date this album is awesome (see my review) of technical Progressive Metal. With a turn out of about 120 people which at the show not a great turn out but these metal heads shows the band so much love and respect live the band felt they received a warm debut UK welcoming which I was pleased for the band. Support came from 'King Crow' from Italy who seemed pretty good but I must say I really wasn't into their music (no disrespect) and the crowd seemed to of enjoyed them. So now it's time to review the show of what I will never forget, an incredible show of top musicianship by all the band members playing so impressive technical Progressive Metal in which you have to understand their music or be a musician to appreciate what they are doing and I totally appreciate what they are doing just wish I could play drums as good as Chris!! The set list didn't seem long enough but at the same time some of their songs are long like most bands playing this music, but saying that I enjoyed ever minute of the show just kike the rest of the audience did too. Ray proved to be on top form with his amazing vocal skills and Bernie, Nick proved the crowd that they can impressive everybody, whilst Chris and Sean proved the crowd with their musical skills. The band were without a keyboardist who quit 2wks before the show the band still pulled it off with keyboard samples. Songs they played were: Threads, The Suffering Silence, Nocturnal, Dreams From The Pit, Walls, Fall On You, Noonday Devil, Leviathan Rising, Black & White World, The Origins Of Ruin, The Death Of Faith & Reason. A superb show, if you missed them don't next time!! For me one of the best gigs so far of 2011 for Progressive Metal!.

   'The Purple Turtle' -  London  28.8.11   

Well it was time for me to witness the great Power Metal band that has ever lived along side of Omen, another band I need to check out at some point. Yes I had waited 27yrs to see the mighty 'Helstar' live. After been a fan at the young age of about 16 I 1st discovered the band on an album called 'Hell comes to your Home' thought Music For Nations, 1 song impressed me I knew something good was going to come out of this band. After hearing 'Burning Star' I thought the album was pretty good but when the band released 'Remnants of War' they sounded like a totally different band, this album blow me away!! So from that day on I have been a  loyal fan of their work. It wasn't until the band released 'A Distant Thunder' and 'Nosferatu' which to me are still their finest albums to date that the band would influence so many up & coming bands in the future. Well been a friend of James Rivera it was a pleasure to meet him again, last time was 1999 Wacken with 'Destiny's End' so a reunion was certainly on the cards. So today was a very exciting time for me to witness Helstar finally and the band almost didn't make the sure due to customs here in the UK and France (thanks a fucking lot you assholes!!) I almost didn't see the band I had waited so long to check out. Well the band did make it with only 15 minutes to spare, a reasonable crowd turn up considering lack of advertising which was a shame really and considering it was a bank holiday didn't help. I have to admire the promoter for getting these guys over (thanx mate). Well the band hit the stage with James, Rob, Larry, Matej Susnik on bass due to Gerry absence due to illness and drummer Mikey proved the crowd that they meant business. Business it was, with their hard hitting Power Metal which is a driving force to be reckoned with the band stole the show and impressed the crowd with their amazing musicianship from start to finish. James Rivera to me is 1 of the finest if not the best Power Metal singer of all time and after all these years he still hasn't lost his voice, top class indeed. With Rob and Larry providing us with with some amazing guitar riffs and twin solos made this a truly awesome show, even stand in bassist Matej impressed the crowd and myself and with the technical drum skills of Mikey made the night for me. I have to say that Helstar are still the best Power Metal band and I do love this music and there's a lot of bands I respect but we all have our favs, for me it's Helstar. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the show, but I would like to thank the band and Mike Exley for letting me film their debut live show, (turned out great). Songs played were: Angels Fall To Hell, Pandemonium, The Plague Called Man, Conquest, Bitter End, Summer Of Hate, Evil Reign, Burning Star, Monarch Of Bloodshed, Dracula's Castle, Angel Of Death, The King Is Dead, Baptized In Blood, Alma Negra, with encore songs: The King Of Hell (dedicated to me), Run With The Pack. Awesome gig, well worth the wait, just hope they come back next year and do more shows over here. If you missed them this time don't miss them next time. Helstar fucking rule!!

        Open Air 'Calton Hall'  Derbyshire   12-14th August 2011  (UK)     

Well another year at Bloodstock was something I was really looking forward to see in some awesome old and new acts that I haven't seen before of hadn't seen in over 20yrs for some bands like Forbidden & Coroner. Unfortunately I missed my 1st Bloodstock last year so I ad some catching up to do with old and new friends. Bloodstock since the early days of the Assembly Room's in Derby has come along way over the last 10yrs, with the debut one been held indoors with the likes of Saxon as headliners with bands like Glenn Hughes also on the bill as seen this impressive festival grow throughout the years. It's not as commercial as Download so I doubt if the festival will ever get as commercial in the future just a family based festival. The way we need it to carry on been. I know last year has some kick ass bands and I really wanted to see and interview Gwar, I guess I will have to wait for that one. Anyway sit back, crack some beers open and read on... If you missed this years festival make sure you attend 2011, we have the mighty Anvil on the bill (finally Bloodstock have seen sense haha!).

Friday 12th:

Well the start of the festival after a night of drink and metal karaoke was all that we wanted the night before. Today the weather held out pretty good so it was a good omen for a start. As the crowd's gathered and more attended this year was also an impressive start to the day, it was 11am as the main stage opened with the 1st band of the day. The opening act for the festival was UK act 'The Defiled', a band I had not heard of seen before but this wasn't the 1st time the band had played  the festival, having played the 'Scuzz Unsigned' stage in 2008 they returned hit deliver an impressive outdoor set. With the bands image reminding me of across between Death Stars, Maralyn Manson but with the music not sounding anything like Manson but across between Soulfly, Sepultura, Death Stars, Slipknot seemed to go down well with the early birds at the festival who awoke to see the UK act. They had a good response for a 11am start, with some metal heads still hung over must of wakened them up with this noisy lot. The band played a 40 minute set which included the songs: In the land of  Fools, Call to Arms, Blood Sells, Metropolis, Black Death, and The Resurrectionist. Fans of the above bands will enjoy this act, not a bad start to the day. Next to hit the stage after a 20 minute turnaround was 'Wolf', yes those Swedish Power Metaller's have returned to our shores again for the 2nd time this year, having supported Accept here in the UK and Europe earlier this year the band return. Wolf are no strangers to Bloodstock, having been here twice before (I believe) this was there 3rd time to the stage. Last time in 2008 the band suffered some electrical problems on stage which left them with a power cut. Now this 4 piece act return to deliver more of a powerful set of old school Power Metal. The band are now becoming more popular with each album and tour and the band are now treating the UK as there 2nd home. With the band already released 6 albums today, 1st with Massacre records and now with Century Media the band are certainly making waves within the Power Metal scene. Singer and guitarist Niklas Stålvind is a great front man who is also joined by ex Tad Morose bassist Anders Modd, with Richard A Holmgren (drums) and new guitarist Simon Johansson. The band played a very impressive set lasting 40 minutes. Their set list included: Evil Star, The Bite, Skull Crusher, Full Moon Possession, Voodoo, K121, Hail Caesar. Always a pleasure see in Wolf live, a great live band. Next came 'Forbidden', well I had waited 21 yrs to see this band once again having seen them in 90 or 91 with Death Angel and Vicious Rumors in the UK I almost had the pleasure of see in them live at Bang Your Head in Germany last year but I arrived too late. I was really looking forward to see in these San Francisco Thrasher's once again. The band have pretty much got the original line-up back together with Russ Anderson on vocals, Craig Locicero (guitar), Matt Camacho (bass) and the band added drummer Mark Hernandez with ex testament, Nevermore guitarist Steve Smyth to complete the line-up. Back in the 80's the band released which to this day is still a cult classic 'Forbidden Evil' in 88 which followed up with 'Twisted Into Form' in 90. I had to say that Forbidden were truly awesome at Bloodstock, of course Russ couldn't quite hit the high screams like he use to but then again he isn't any younger. Still he pulled it off and so did the boys thrashing out some of their classic songs which the crowd really got into. Songs played were: March into Fire, Step by Step, Forsaken at the Gates, Omega Wave, Twisted into Form, Through eyes of Glass, Chalice of Blood. Brilliant live set by a top Thrash bad totally underrated. 

Next came 'Poison Black' for Finland, these Finnish Goth style metal band seemed to go down well with the crowd but if you were to top Forbidden think again! This band who I really don't know much about seemed to have a good following and are pretty much heard of over here so it seems. The band were formed back in 96 by ex Sentenced singer and guitarist Ville Laihiala after his departure with Sentenced he decided to form this new band. The band ha d shared the stage with the likes of Iron Maiden, Dark Tranquility, Lacuna Coil and more... This 4 piece hit the stage and seemed to impressive most of the crowd, despite the singer having to play his  guitar sat down due to a broken leg that didn't stop the crowd applauding the band as they pulled off a decent set lasting 45 minutes of Goth style of metal. With the band promoting their new album 'Drive' released through Hype Productions this year seems to be selling well. Songs played were: Piston head, Casket Case, A good day for the Crows, Raivator, The living Dead, Buried Alive, Soul in Flames, Bear the Cross, Mercury Falling, Rush. Next came ex Celtic Frost fronted band 'Triptykon' led my Thomas Gabriel Fischer, known as Tom G Warrior for those who don't know. Celtic Frost were a very influenced band back in the 80s and early 90's and even today in the world of Death & Black Metal. With bands like Obituary doing a cover of 'Circle of the Tyrants' this certainly put Celtic Frost's name about more. Since Celtic Frost toured in 2007 with Kreator the band went separate ways with Tom forming Triptykon back in 2009 roughly the band were soon recording their debut album in 2010 with former Celtic Frost touring guitarist V. Santura, with drummer Norman Lonhard and female bassist Vanja Slajh to complete the line up. The band signed to Century Media once again and the debut album is a great seller to this day. The band received a warm welcome from Bloodstock crowd with a 45 minute set which included: Procreation of the Wicked, Goetia, Circle of the Tyrants, The Prolonging. A short set list but the songs were pretty long I have to say. Next came 'Coroner', and for me it seemed like a day of Noise Records re-union bands playing Bloodstock, yes former Celtic Frost, Kreator and Coroner all on the same day. See in Coroner again after 21yrs back in 90 with Watchtower was a great day for me, having already witnessed Forbidden earlier now it was time for another Swiss band. This power trio playing old school Thrash were a band that everybody back in the day were talking about their debut album 'R.I.P.', released in 87, this was one of the finest albums from a European Thrash band and today this is an album I highly recommend. Tommy, Ron and Marcus return with a number of festival tours and some clubs shows to show the youth of today what they missed back in the 80's and for the older generation like me it was a great reunion. The band released a further 4 albums before disbanding back in 93 with their last album 'Grin' which pretty much finished the band off, shame really. I think a lot of the younger kids wanted to see what they had missed with this Swiss power trio, and after 20yrs or so the band delivered a set that we would not forget. Still on top form the band played a set lasting 45 minutes. Its just a shame the band won't record another album. Impressed we all were the band played: Masked Jackal, Internal Conflicts, Metamorphosis, Semtex Revolution, D.O.A., No need to be Human, Divine Step, and Grin. The bands also want ed to play 'Reborn through Hate' now that would of been a killer song live. 

After a short break, something to eat and drink it was time to check out the next band on the main 'Ronnie James Dio' stage, this was Germany's most aggressive Thrash metal band 'Kreator', there should be no introduction for this act, having formed back in Essen in 82, both Mille (vocals/ guitar) and Ventor (drums) are the only 2 original members left since the band were formed as 'Tormentor' releasing 2 demo tapes with the help of bassist Rob Fioretti. When the band changed their  name to Kreator, they soon were signed to Noise records and in 85 'Endless Pain' was released. Like Sodom and Destruction, the 2 other godfathers of German Thrash Metal, Kreator soon were about to release their 2nd album 'Pleasure To Kill' in 86, the album that pretty much made the band what they are today, aggressive and brutal Thrash, Germany's most brutal metal band in the Thrash scene. More albums would follow with a total of 12 albums to date and the current line-up been Mille, Ventor, Sami (guitar) and bassist Christian to release the bands latest album 'Hordes of Chaos'. Well this was the 2nd time the band had played the B.O.A., last time was in 09. Having seen Kreator back in the 80's and throughout the last 2 decades I knew that this band would be hard to beat at any festival and how true I was. Brutal Thrash at its best here and when Mille scream the crowd go nuts, a superb performance indeed. Playing for 1hr the band played: Horde of Chaos, War Curse, Endless Pain, Pleasure to Kill, Destroy what destroys You, Voices of the Dead, Enemy of God, Phobia, Reconquering the Throne, Violent Revolution, Betrayer, & Flag of Hate. Awesome!! Next came Canada's 'Devin Townsend Project', some you of may remember when Devin 1st came on the scene doing the vocals for Steve Vai, former Dave Lee Roth guitarist. Devin has come along way since the early days with Steve with his own band 'Strapping Young Lad' and now with several projects, you just can't keep up with him. I have to admit that Devin is a talented musician and song writer as well as a decent singer indeed. Playing a mixture of Thrash, Industrial, Progressive, Death Metal has to be said he is a gifted musician even if he is not every body's cup of tea. So were does one start with Devin? Good question. 5 albums with 'Strapping Young Lad' and 14 solo albums says a lot for Devin, all of which each album has a slightly different approach to the last CD. Well this was Devin's debut appearance at the festival and at 7.35pm Devin played an explosive set for 1hr playing various songs from his past which he received a warm welcome. Songs played were: By your Command, Super Crush, Kingdom, Stand, Juular, Truth, OM, Bad Devil, Deep Peace, Vampira. Interesting set and very interesting to watch live. So now it comes to Friday's headliner 'W.A.S.P.', some of which some of you have never seen the band live so if it was you're 1st time was the wait worth it? Having seen the band in the 80's, 90's and recently in Germany 2009 I can't say I'm a big fan really sorry. Yes the band have some great success back in the day with hit singles and some very successful tours but times have changed for some bands when the mighty fall. In Blackie's case he still think he's in the 80's when fame was at their highest, not anymore I'm afraid. The band played for 1.30 minutes which was a good strong set and the crowd seemed to love what they were doing. Formed in 82 in L.A. when bands like Motley Crue were also on the scene with the likes of Ratt and Quiet Riot. Blackie is the only original member left after Chris Holmes, Randy Piper,  and drummer Tony Richards their debut album 'W.A.S.P.' was released in 84. In later years Chris, Randy and Tony left the band and the bands current line-up consists of Doug Blair (guitars), Mike Duda (bass) and Mike Dupka (drums). Don't get me wrong the band played an impressive set but not my cup of tea. Songs played were: On your Knees, The real Me, Love Machine, Crazy, Live to die another Day, Babylon's Burning, Wild Child, Hellion/ I don't need no Doctor/ Scream until you like It, The Idol, I wanna be some Body, Chainsaw Charlie, Heaven's hung in Black & Blind in Texas. Not a bad live band and a decent closing set for the 1st night of metal mayhem. Well I was off for a beer and food after a long day.

Saturday 13th:

Well another and more metal mayhem was about to start, still the weather held out, with rain over the night was better then during the day. So it was another early start so at 11am once again we had the pleasure of 'Skeleton Witch' opening up for Ronnie James Dio stage. This 5 piece act from Ohio U.S. back in 2003 the and they have released 4 albums to date, their debut album 'At one with the Shadows' in 2004 was just the beginning for this Thrash/ Black Metal act mixing the likes of  Mayhem, Slayer, Cradle Of Fifth, with the aggressiveness of Kreator and many bands alike.  The bands current line-up is Dustin Boltjes (drums), Chance Garnette (vocals), Nate Garnette (guitars), Scott  Hedrick (guitar) and bassist Evan Linger. The band are recently promoting 'Forever Abomination' released on Prosthetic Records. I have to say I am not familiar with their music so I really can't judge them. But at 11am the crowd were ready for them so they certainly must have a decent following here in the UK. 40 Minutes of pure extreme metal here, with the set list been: Upon wings of Black, Submit to the Suffering, Crushed beyond Dust, Reduced to the Failure, Beyond the Permafrost, Sacrifice to the slaughter God, Strangled by unseen Hands, Infernal Resurrection, Choke upon Betrayal, Within my Blood. Not a bad start to the day. Next was 'Germany's premier Power Metal act 'Grave Digger', a band that have been around since the early 80's a band that I grew up with and I have to say I love their 1st 3 album, especially 'War Games'. The band 1st appeared on a compilation album 'Rock from Hell' in 1983 and a year later the band were soon signed to Noise records and their debut album 'Heavy Metal Breakdown' in 84. This was the beginning of more successful albums to follow, with 'Witch Hunter' in 85 which a further 14 albums followed. The band are currently promoting 'The clans will rise Again' 2011 released through Napalm Records, a great release indeed. Founder member Chris Boltendhl (vocals) is the only original member left, and with Axel Ritt (guitars), Jens Becker (bass), Stefan Arnold (drums) and the Grim Reaper keyboardist Hans Peter "H.P." Katzenburg completing the line-up that is Grave Digger. This is the band debut at B.O.A., and I was excited to see the band playing our shore the band impressed the crowd despite having technical problems on stage with were soon resolved. Only a 40 minute set didn't seem like a long tiem for such a band that have been around since the early 80's but nevertheless the band delivered the goods. Songs played were: Paid in Blood, The dark of the Sun, Hammer of the Scots, Rebellion, Ballad of the Hangman, Twilight of the Gods, Excalibur, Heavy Metal Breakdown. Great to see them again. Next was Finnish act 'Tarot', formed by Marco Hietala (bass/ vocals), with the help of his brother Zachary Hietala (guitars) with Pecu Cinnari (drums), keyboardist Janne Tolsa and sampler/ vocalist Tommi Salmela to complete the line-up. The band formed back in 82 when the 2 brothers & drummer had the name 'Purgatory' but soon changed their name due to various other bands with the same name. The band were soon releasing their debut album 'Spell of Iron' back in 86, this was the beginning of what is now Tarot. 9 albums have completed the bands releases to date. Marco is also the bassist with Night wish, also sharing the vocals with Anette Olzon. I was really looking forward to see in this band live having some of their albums and knowing that they are nothing like Night Wish. In fact if you like the likes of Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake (early) or even Dio then this is a band that you will surely love. I was wish they had played longer set but there's always time for them to return to our shore again soon. They got a great reception from the crowd. Songs played were: Wings of Darkness, Ashes to the Stars, Crows fly Black, Veteran of a psychic Wars, Pyre of the Gods, Hell Knows (My favourite song), Spell of Iron, Traitor. Great band, great set!! 

Next was 'Ihsahn', a band put together by Vegard Sverre Tveitan from the band 'Emperor', a successful Norwegian Black Metal band who is a multi tasks musician playing keyboards, bass, guitar as well as vocals. This band have recorded 3 albums to date, something I knew nothing about but then again Black Metal isn't my cup of tea with a few bands that interest me in this style of metal. The debut album 'The Adversary' released in 2006 was the beginning of a new band for Vegard. Two albums later and Vegard is about to unleash his new act to B.O.A., and I have to say not been a fan really of Black Metal I did find this band more interesting than Emperor. Having some technical elements I found them a little enjoyable. Songs played were: The barren Lands, A grave Inversed, Unhealer, Called by the Fire,  Misanthrope, Frozen lakes on Mars. Time for food and a beer before I watched the  next act been 'Wintersun', a band that have played this stage before a few years ago. Another band from Finland, this extreme Black/ Thrash' Viking/ Folk Metal band formed back in 2003 by Jari Mäenpää (vocals/ guitars) formed out of his side project Enisferum. Wintersun features Teemu Mantysaari (guitars), Jukka Koskinsen (bass) and drummer Kai Hahto. The band have recorded only 2 albums, their debut which was self titled was released in 2004 and are currently about to release their next CD 'Time' also released on Nuclear Blast. Wintersun are a band that are becoming popular over here in the UK which doesn't surprise me with the mixed styles the band have in their music, something the youth of today seem to enjoy. Extreme metal from Finland played at it's best. Songs played: Beyond the dark Sun, Battle against Time, Sleeping Stars, Winter Madness, The way of the Fire, Starchild. Next was 'Therion', the Symphonic Orchestral metal band put together by guitarist Christopher Johnsson as Therion in 87 were more directed towards the Death Metal era of metal having released their debut album on Peaceville Records 'Of Darkness' in 91. Since then Christopher has come along way, moving away from the Death Metal era to a more symphonic orchestral metal sound, kind of operatic sounding with female vocals and male vocalist. With the band having so many members and line-up changes in the past I could talk forever but I won't. With 13 albums under their belt this does say a lot about a band, their fan base is huge and growing every day. I haven't seen Therion since Dynamo festival (Holland) in I think about 98 not sure but there were pretty good then. The band have come along way with a steady line up been Christian Vidal (guitars), Nalle "Grizzly" Påhlsson (bass), Johan Koleberg (drums), Thomas Vikstrom (vocals) with the help of Snowy Shaw (vocals), with 2 female singers who are very talented and strong singers. The band are currently promoting 'Sitra Ahra' which was released in 2010 on Nuclear Blast. Some people may find this band a bit OTT but for some there very interesting to watch. I thought they did a good job and won a lot of new fans over. Songs played were: Sitra Ahra, Helliquin, Nifelheim, The perennial Sophia, Clavicula Nox, Call of Dagon, Typhon, Ljusalfheim, To mega Therion, The rise of Sodom & Gomorrah. So after a show of Orchestral metal it was time for 'Rhapsody of Fire', these Italian Symphonic Power Metal band have made a name for themselves under the name if 'Rhapsody' back in the 90's but had to change their name to 'Rhapsody of Fire' back in 2006.  The band were formed back in 97 after guitarist Luca formed 'Thundercross' but soon changed their name to 'Rhapsody', influenced by the likes of Manowar and Yngwie Malmsteen the 2 seemed to work well with the symphonic style of metal Luca  and the boys created. One demo tape 'Eternal Glory' was released and it wasn't long before the band singed to LMP Music with the release of 'Legendary Tales' in 97. Impressive debut saw the band ever moving forward with a further 5 albums followed before the name change. Now under the name of Rhapsody this band are becoming very popular in the UK and in Europe. With front man Fabio Lione handling the vocals this guy can sing that's for sure. Joining Fabio and Luca is Tom Hess (guitars), Oliver Holzwarth (bass), Alex Staropoli (keyboards) and drummer Alex Holzwarth. A very exciting time for many fans from the UK & Europe who attended this years B.O.A. to witness this band live on a festival in the UK. A massive crowd applause made the band feel very welcome. With the band promoting 'From chaos to Glory' today was pretty much there day. Songs played: Triumph or Glory, Holy Thunderforce, Village of Dwarves, On the way to Ainor, Dawn of Victory, Lamento Eroico, Unholy Warcry, The march of the sword Master, Reign of Terror, Emerald Sword. So now we come to the headliners of the day, Norwegian Black Metal giant's 'Immortal', formed back in 89 out of the ashes of 'Old Funeral'. It wasn't long before Abbath (vocals/ guitar) decided to form this band with the help of various previous members and they were signed to Osmose Records to were they released 'Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism' back in 92. The band have released 8 albums to date, no signed to Nuclear Blast these satanic 3 piece are making waves on a world wide basis. I have only seen this band once supporting Morbid Angel back in the 90's, I think that was enough for me. Black Metal is a very big market for the youth of today, something I can't get my head around, I think Death Metal is as extreme as I will go with one or two bands in mind like dimmu borgir and Venom been the only bands I like. I guess if this is your style who am I to judge? Some of the riffs that Immortal do are pretty good but the music is too triggered for me. Well the crowd were there for them so who gives a shit what I think? A warm satanic welcome was awaiting this 3 piece act and they certainly delivered to gods that's for sure. 90 minutes of pure Norwegian Satanic Metal awaited the crowd at B.O.A. which I think they were very impressive to new and old fans alike. With the band promoting 'All shall Fall' tonight was their night. Songs played were: All shall Fall, Sons of northern Darkness, The rise of Darkness, Damned in Black, The call of the Wintermoon, Solarfall, In my kingdom Cold, Tyrants, One by One, Blashyrkh, Grim and frostbitten Kingdoms, Withstands the fall of Time. 

Sunday 14th:

Another day, the last day of the festival and how fast the festival time pasted. I've had a couple of really cool days, great music, nice weather and some fine pictures also added. Well today was yet another day of pure metal mayhem and with the weather on top form again it really did help. So it was 11am start again at the main stage were I witnessed Andy Sneap and the boys form the band 'Hell' hitting the stage. Their debut album 'Human Remains' released on Nuclear Blast is a shining example of pure British quality metal, which I highly recommend. After hearing and reviewing the album I just knew the band were equally as good live and how right I was. The band were actually formed back in the early 80's by original guitarist and singer David Halliday with the likes of Kev Bower (guitars), Tony Speakman (bass) and drummer Tim Blower the band recorded a single. Andy Sneap been a fan at a young age loved their music and later on was involved in the rebirth of the band along with Kev's little brother David Bower. Play a set which last only 40 minutes the band hit the stage to a very warm welcoming and with David's theatrical vocals and stage presences made the whole 40 minutes well worth it. From start to finish was just pure magic, I loved every minute of watching the band live, a band I highly recommend live. Songs played were: Let battle Commence, On earth as it is in Hell, Plague & Frye, The Quest, The Oppressor, Blasphemy and the Master, Save us from those who would save Us. Great start to the day indeed. Next up for me was 'Napalm Death', these Brummie Death/ Grindcore metal heads really don't need an introduction as they are pretty much the godfathers of Grindcore, formed back in the early 80's the band have come along way since the days of their debut album 'Scum' released in 87 on Earache Records. For a debut album the world were soon talking about the band and having appeared on BBC2 here in the UK really got them noticed very quickly. More albums followed in fact 14 albums to date and still going strong. This band have influenced so many extreme metal bands and with the loss of guitarist Jesse Pintado in 2004 the band remained a 4 piece with Shane Embury (bass), Barney Greenway (voclas), Mitch Harris (guitars) and drummer Danny Herrera the band are back at B.O.A. for the 2nd time. A 45 minute set of brutal extreme ear bleeding metal was just what the doctor ordered, a nice wake up call for some. Barney and the boys delivered some heavy fucking shit music, enough to wake the dead and yes they were impressive. Songs played were: Strong Arm, Unchallenged Hate, Continuing war on Stupidity, Next on the List, When all is said & Done, Lucid fairytale, Social Sterility, Diktat, Lowlife, On the brink of Extinction, Scum, Life?, Control, M.A.D., You Suffer, Nazi punks fuck Off, Suffer the Children, Instinct to Survive. Time for some food, and then it was time for the next act, Sweden's own Power Metal act 'Hammerfall', the band have had lots of success over the years since their debut album 'Glory to the Brave' back in 97, having seen them at Dynamo festival in Holland was impressive enough. Having also seen the band several times throughout the years I had seen how much the band have progressed over the years and I have to say they are coming along nicely indeed. With 8 albums released the band still have their Swedish roots as well as such bands like Judas Priest, Saxon, and some U.S. roots in their music. With the only 2 original members been Oscar Dronjak (guitars) and vocalist Joacim Cans both have kept the flag rising high for Swedish Power Metal. Like any band line-up's change and Hammerfall have had their fair shares of musicians come and go. Now with Anders Johansson (drums), Pontus Norgren (guitars) and bassist Fredrik Larsson these 5 musician's were ready for Bloodstock once again, having played the indoor festival some time ago. With the release of 'Infected' on Nuclear Blast this album takes the band further a field and step forward. 45 minute set of pure Power Metal was next a comedown after Napalm Death to mellow the ears. Songs played were: Patient Zero, Any means Necessary, B.Y.H., Last man Standing, Hammerfall, Blood Bound, Bang your Head (Quiet Riot cover), One more Time, Hearts on Fire, Let the hammer Fall.

Next was U.S. Thrash Metal act 'Exodus', these guys play some of the most brutal west coast Thrash Metal out there. Formed back in 1980 by Kirk Hammett (Metallica) and drummer Tom Hunting the band went through various line up changes and in 84 the band released their debut album, a cult classic 'Bonded by Blood' with Gary Holt (guitars), Rick Hunolt, Rob McKillop (bass) Paul Baloff (vocals) this was an extremely heavy album for it's time. More albums followed 9 albums in total and after the release of the debut album Paul was forced to leave the band who was replaced by Steve Souza ex Legacy now Testament. More line-up changes and in 2005 'Shovel headed kill Machine' was released when the band found new singer Rob Duke and Heathen guitarist Lee Altus into the band with ex Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph into the band. Paul left after the album and Tom Hunting came back and is still in the band to this day along with bassist Jack Gibson. This was the 1st time for Exodus to play B.O.A., an exciting time for fans and the band, who ripped the stage apart but had their set cut short due to Hammerfall fucking about with the stage, not very professional I must say, leave Exodus a song short in their set. A 45 minute set of Bay Area Thrash Metal that ripped the stage apart and left the crowd wanting more and as hungry as the band were I knew it would be hard for any band to follow their shoes. Songs played were: The ballad of Leonard & Charles, Beyond the Pale, A lesson in Violence, Blacklist, Bonded by Blood, The toxic Waltz, Piranha. Next came Swedish Death Metal act 'At The Gates', formed back in 90 in Gothenburg (Sweden) who released their debut album on Peaceville titled 'The red in the sky is Ours' in 92 which was the beginning of what is now one of the most influenced bands to come out of Sweden as a Death Metal act. Even The Haunted formed out of the ashes of this band. With the band consisting of Thomas Lindberg (vocals), Anders & Johan Bjorler on bass and guitar, Martin Larsson (guitar) and drummer Adrian Erlandsson completing the current line-up. At the Gates have also played the festival outdoors before in 2008 so a lot of people knew what to expect from this band. The band had only recorded 4 albums to date, their last album 'Slaughter of the Souls' in 95 through Earache. No plans for a new album yet but the crowd were here to cheer them on. Impressive Swedish style metal set which included: Slaughter of the Soul, Cold, The Swarm, Terminal spirit Disease, Suicide Nation, Raped by the light of Christ, Under the serpent Sun, Windows, World of Lies, Unto Others, The burning Darkness, Nausea, Need, Blinded by Fear, Kingdom Gone. Time for a drink and chill out until 'Morbid Angel' hit the stage next. Florida's pioneer Death Metal act have been around since 84 and in 86 they released their debut album 'Abominations of Desolation', which was later re-released. In fact most of us know the bands debut as 'Alters of Madness' which was released on Earache in 89. With David Vincent (bass/ vocals) Trey Azagthoth (guitars), Richard Brunelle (guitars) and drummer Pete Sandoval the band recorded 3 albums with this line-up 'Blessed are the Sick' in 91. The band done a few great albums but their productions have yet to be desired. It's a shame the band have not released an official live DVD yet. This was the 1st time the band had played B.O.A. and with the bands mixed feeling album 'Illud Divinum Insanus' released in 2011 on Season of the Mist records. This album has been getting mixed feeling from the press and fans with the Industrial Metal elements which has not done the band any favours. With the current line-up been Dave, Trey and new guitarist Destructthor, and drummer Tim Yeung the band were ready too play some classic Morbid Angel, something I do like to hear. Songs played: Immortal Rites, Fall from Grace, Rapture, Maze of Torment, Existo Vulgore, Nevermore, I am Morbid, Angel of Disease, Chapel of Ghouls, Where the slime Lives, God of Emptiness, World of Shit. great to see them play the classic we all so much love. Well it's now time for Sunday's headliners, yes folks 'Motorhead', their debut for BO.A., and a lot of fans had never seen the band before until now so for those it must of been an exciting time, for others just another day at the office. Lemmy and Phil and Mikkey have kept Motorhead alive now for many years and the band just keep on going delivering quality style hard hitting Rock & Roll and Lemmy would put it. With the release of their current album 'The world is Yours' released last year the band have come up on top with yet another fine album. Motorhead have influenced so many bands you really couldn't start or finish with who they have influenced. Playing tonight for 90 minutes or so it was meant to be was cut short for some strange reason. The band only played for about 75 minutes and just walked off the stage and never turned which really didn't do the band any justice, and to be fair pissed a lot of fans off. I'm not sure why they didn't come back on stage but I did hear they were not feeling too well but loosing such a good friend like Wurzel can't of helped.. I'm not sure about that. I think a lot of fans were disarrayed and left bewildered to say the least. it was a shame to end on such a low note for the band and the festival, but nevertheless the crowd and I enjoyed the whole festival. Songs that Motorhead did play were: Iron Fist, Stay Clean,  Get back in Line, Metropolis, Over the Top, One night Stand, Rock Out, The thousand names of God, I know how to Die, The chase is better the the Catch, In the name of Tragedy, Just cos you got the Power, Going to Brazil, Killed by Death, & Ace of Spade. 

Well if I had to say who were the highlights for me, they would be the follow: Forbidden, Exodus, Hell, Coroner, Kreator, Morbid Angel, Hammerfall, Napalm Death, Tarot, Grave Digger, Wolf. I look forward to next years line-up, especially with Anvil on the bill (and about time). Great festival I recommend you check out.


      Sheffield Corp 21.6.11  & Manchester Academy 3 - 22.6.11 

Canadian metal gods return to the shores of the UK after a years absence when the band entered the studio to record their new album 'Juggernaut Of Justice', which is awesome (so I suggest you grab a copy soon). Last time the band played here in Sheffield the crowd were really into the music and kids as young as 14yrs old attended with their parents, kind of reminds me of when I saw the band back in 82 at about the same age. Girlschool went down rather well back in 2010 when they supported the band, now the band are back with their 2nd leg of a headlining tour, unfortunately the band didn't bring a support act with them so it was just local acts on this tour, some good some not so good from what I saw. Nevertheless, the mighty Anvil as a power trio hit the stage to a responsible crowd attendance, as Sheffield's Corporation Club is pretty big and it was mid week so the band did there best and it was a great set indeed. As soon as the band hit the stage at both Manchester and Sheffield the crowd went nuts, especially in Manchester, just the crowd see in Lips at the stage the crowd shouted Anvil and it really got the night off to a good start. Sheffield was also excellent and at one point the crowd started to shout a scene from the film 'Anvil very good' which made Lips and the boys laugh ands Lip's said 'Where my fucking money, I want paying!!' that was really funny. As soon as the band played their 1st number 'March of The Crabs' the bands instrumental the crowd at both shows loved it, this soon went into '666' a heavy head banging tune. After which the crowd were full of energy and shouting for more, of course Lips and the boys were happy to assist and play more for the young and older Anvil fans who showed up at the shows. More songs from the new album and older albums were soon to follow and with a band like Anvil who have a huge back catalogue of songs it must be hard for them to pick a strong set list without upsetting the fans, something the band seemed to pull off well. When it came to new songs such as Juggernaut of Justice, New Orleans Voodoo, On Fire, and more into the set really went down well considering the album had only been released the day before the UK tour had started, so it was a good job the band were selling their CD's at the show. I am sure they sold a few at a bargin price of £10. As the nights came to an end the band were so happy they played both shows and at one point in Manchester the crowd started a mosh pit with some slam driving which was pretty cool to see despite Lip's guitar lead been pulled out at one point it didn't stop them carrying on. Anvil are a awesome live band and after 3yrs the band are still meeting their fans after the show, now that's fucking dedication and loyalty to their fans, something not so many bands do these days. So my hat goes off to them for that. Songs played were: March Of The Grabs, 666, School Love, Juggernaut Of Justice, Winged Assassins, On Fire, This Is Thirteen, (Dildo guitar solo), Thumb Hang, White Rhino (drum solo), Fuken Eh, Forged in Fire, Conspiracy, Metal on Metal, Jackhammer, Running. All hail Anvil, if it wasn't for Anvil there would be no Thrash or Speed Metal that's for sure, you better fucking believe it!!!

      &  Sheffield Corp 27.4.11  

Another show ahead, this time it's back to Sheffield's premier metal club 'Corporation', to which I have seen some great bands come and go from this venue to which the last 2 this year was 'Accept' and 'Symphony X' and tonight was Kamelot with Evregrey 2 bands I have not seen in a while and with special guest 'Amaranthe' another band from Sweden. I wasn't too sure how many people would show up and I really didn't even know there was a 3rd band on the bill so I  kind of missed half of 'Amaranthe' set, but what I did see was pretty impressive. Having 3 singers on stage was I thought a little over the top to be honest, 2 yes but 3 did they really need that many? I guess for this band it certainly worked well enough. With the line up been Elize (female vocals), Andy (screams), Jake (clean vocals) with the following musicians Olof (guitars), Johan (bass) and drummer Morten making the complete line-up. This band have only released their debut album recently through Spinfarm which is self titled. This band seem to be doing rather well for themselves according to Kamelot and Evergrey, after (I believe) Elize has done some vocals with Kamelot. The band mix the symphonic metal thing that sounds across between Scar Symmetry, Rhapsody of Fire, to whcih a lot of the younger kids enjoy at the show. Songs played that night from the band were: Leave everything Behind, Enter the Maze, 1.000.000 light Years, Automatic, Call out my Name, My Transition, Hungry. A band worth checking out. Next was yet another Swedish metal act 'Evergrey', who have been around for some time now always deliver the good, after see in them live in Bradford about 4yrs ago it was time to catch up on this impressive act. The band have been around now since 95 formed in Gothenburg (Sweden) the band have continued to carry on making fine quality music since the bands debut album 'The dark Discovery' in 98. The band back then were pretty good at what they did but over the last decade the band have progressed into a top quality band making such albums as 'Recreation Day', 'Torn' and now the new album 'Glorious Collision' which has just been released on SPV. Having seen the band before they are top musicians like Kamelot, but here in the UK the crowd just don't seem to get into them, I really don't understand why? There a great band and for me rather easy to adapt too. The band have had a line-up change since the last studio album, with Tom S. Englund (vocals/ guitars), Rikard Zander (keyboards), the band have recruited former Therion bassist Johan Niemann, along with drummer Hannes Van Dahl and Royal Hunt guitarist Marcus Jidell to create a find line-up. The band hit the stage and certainly delivered the goods to which the crowd seemed to applause them and welcome them with a warm friendly reaction. Songs played by Evergrey were: Leave it behind Us, Monday morning Apocalypse, Wrong, Blinded, The Masterplan, Recreation Day, Frozen, Broken Wings, A touch of Blessing. A great performance by a great band. If you haven't seen them live yet I suggest you do so, impressive indeed. Next was Florida's finest epic metal act 'Kamelot', a band that have a history dating back to 91 when Thomas Youngblood hooked up with singer at that time Richard Warner to create some fine music that would be close to that of fellow Florida act 'Crimson Glory' but with their own identity and sound. This seemed to work well for the band indeed, mixing the likes of C.G. with maybe some hints of Savatage, Maiden, Priest which worked wonders for the band. The band in 95 released their debut album 'Eternity' through Noise Music, and soon the band were taken by storm. Albums such as 'Dominion' was released, the last album for Richard before Roy Khan (Ex Conception) joined the band to release 'Siege Perilous' in 98. I remember Tom asking me what I thought of Roy joining the band when I stayed at his house and I suggested he would be a great replacement. The band went through a different sound and had larger visions which worked out that the band released albums like 'Epica', 'The Black Halo', 'Ghost Opera' and now 'Poetry for the Poison' in 2010. The band have certainly come a long way and they deserve such a great success in the future. Tonight saw Simone Simone from Epica joining the band on stage along with Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire) on vocals as Khan had left the band. Fabio did a excellent job and I think his voice is more suited to Kamelot rather than his own band. I do hope he stays in the band. Songs played were: Rule the World, Ghost Opera, The great Pandemonium, The human Stain, Center of the Universe, Nights of Arabia, A Sailorman's Hymn, When the lights are Down, Soul Society, Hunters Season, Eden Echo, Necropolis, The Haunting (Simone Simone), Forever, Karma, March of Mephisto along with a drum and keyboard solo. Fantastic night indeed, a night to remember that's for sure. Next stop? Pagans Mind.

&       Leeds 02 Academy (UK)  17.4.11 

Well it is always great to see Saxon live, there a band that have a history and are 1 of the pioneers of the NWOBHM along side Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. It was also good to be back at the 02 academy to see Saxon once again. Tonight was a 3 bill line-up, the first band 'Fury UK' is a new band for me, never heard them before so I wasn't sure what to expect but when I did hear and see them I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. This band hail from Manchester (UK) the band was first formed around 2002 by Chris Appleton with the release of an EP "Hear No Evil / Alarms" & the demo album "My Tomorrow". In 2007 the band played some shows with Diamond Head and in 2007 the band signed a deal with the label 'Rocksector records' and released the album 'Face Of Adversity". The band later on played such festivals as Bulldog Bash, Bloodstock and many more and soon the band were certainly been recognized within the metal community and played also dates with Y&T later on among others like UFO, Saxon and many more. This 3 piece power trio consist of Chris Appleton (guitar and vocals), Martin McNee (drums), and bassist Luke Appleton. I was impressed with the songs they played which were: I See Red, Fall From Grace, Alien Skies, Manslaughter, Call To Arms, Death by Lighning. Impressive band worth checking out. Next was 'Wolfsbane', a band that started back in the early mind 80's by Blaze Bailey who went on to sing for Iron Maiden before leaving the band and forming Blaze band. Wolfsbane formed back in 84 originally and in 89 the band were signed to Rick Rubin's label 'Def Jam' the label who brought you Slayer, Trouble, Run DMC and many more... To which they released 'Live Fast, Die Fast', which received some impressive reviews and in 90 the band supported Iron Maiden on their 'No Prayer on the Road' tour (I remember that tour) which did the band more justice and with sales figures. The band released their 2nd album 'Down fall the good Guys' in 91. Well the band are now back in 2011 with Blaze on vocals, Jason Edwards, Jeff Hateley, Steve "Danger" Ellett, so the original line-up is now complete. The band are about to record their new album after the tour, which should be out later in the year. I have to say I have never been a fan of the band but I do respect them for returning a decade or so on. The songs played were: Limo, Black Lagoon, Killing Machine, Did it for the Money, Loco, Kathy Wilson, I like it Hot, Temple of Rock, Manhunt. Not  a band set list. Now for the mighty 'Saxon', Yorkshire's finest metal act and there's no doubt about that. Originally formed back in the 70's under the name of 'Son of a Bitch' the band toured the local circuit and then later on changed their name to 'Saxon' to which the name has remained. Like all big bands, line-up changes to happen. Now with a steady line-up since the 'Dogs of War' tour, both Biff, Nibbs, Paul, Doug and Nigel have continued to keep the flame alive for Yorkshire's most important metal act ever. Saxon have never let their fans down and tonight was no exception, with the band about to release their new album 'A Call To Arms' which will be released in May 2011 the band did however play 3 new songs live which were really good despite none of us really knowing the songs. One song sounded a lot like Kamelot in places, the song in general was 'When Doomesday Comes', a very impressive song indeed. Biff is still one of the finest front men in metal and Nibbs is just a crazy head banging maniac (I often wonder if he has any brains left lol) only joking Nibbs!! Both Doug and Paul are fine guitarist indeed and their twin guitar work just works perfectly whereas Nigel's pounding drums speak for themselves. Tonight was a night to remember, playing classic Saxon with some of the newer material over the last 5 yrs made the night one hell of a gig. I mean Saxon are not going to stop till they drop and so rightly so they fucking rule, my up most respect for the band. Songs played were: Hammer of the Gods, Back in 79, Never Surrender, I've got to Rock, Call to Arms, Solid ball of Rock, Demon Sweeny Todd, Hungry Years, Play it Loud, Dogs of War, To hell and back Again, When Doomsday Comes, 20.000 Feet, And the bands played On, Denim and Leather, Princess of the Night, Crusader, 747 Stranger in the Night, Strong arm of the Law, Wheels of Steel, Motorcycle Man. Are you ready for the call or arms? Be ready my friend, awesome band!! 

  &   Sheffield Corporation (UK)  24.3.11    

Yet another gig 2 days later at the same venue was fine but I just wish the gig was the day after Accept, could of saved me some cash in traveling. Never mind the the gig was worth it. Tonight I was a little curious to see how many people would turn out just after the Accept gig, and to be fair I wasn't sure if Symphony X had a big enough following to tour as headliners here in the UK, after all they just finished the tour with Nevermore and Psychotic Waltz in Europe I really was disappointed that they never made the whole package to the UK, I just love and miss Psychotic Waltz music and if you've not heard them then I highly recommend them. Anyway back to the show, Symphony X actually did get a good turn out with a lot of people attending the show, so for both bands on the night they both went down really well. Opening act was UK Symphonic/ Power Metal act 'Power Quest', these guys have been around since 2001 when former Dragon heart keyboardist Steve William's left the band to form his own band under the name of 'Power Quest'. The band like any other have had their fair share of line-up changes, and vocalist Alessio Garavello became the singer on the bands debut album 'Wings Of Forever' which was released on Italian label Underground Symphony records, released in 2002. The band recorded 2 more albums before releasing the new album 'Blood Alliance' in 2011 which features former Firewind singer Chitral Somapala, along with new members Andy Midgley (guitars), Gavin Owen (guitars), Paul Finnie (bass), and drummer Rich Smith. Now the line-up is complete and this new album in my opinion is their finest release. Steve and co delivered the good tonight that was for sure, all musician's pulled through and made a great set which certainly got the crowd going. Songs the band played were: Battle Stations, Rising Anew, Human Machine, Crunching The Numbers, Better Days, Survive, Another World, Wings Of Forever. great live band indeed. Next came the 1 and only 'Symphony X', a totally underrated band, forget the likes of Dream Theater, these guys blow them off stage a few years ago. All the musicians, Jason, Russell and 3 Mike's are extremely talented musician's, and all shine through. I mean you listen to Mike Romeo, what a fine guitarist, mixing his sound that comes across between Yngwie Malmsteen, John Petrucci, Dimebag Darrell all seems to work really well for him and with Russell working with Jorn Lande on the Allen/ Lande project has also made a name for himself. With the band releasing 7 previous albums and a new album out soon through Nuclear Blast titled 'Iconoclast', which we are all looking forward to hearing very soon. I know I am. The band played an explosive set last about 1hr 45 minutes which was good going and the crowd wanted to hear the 'Odyssey', I mean if they played that it would be almost the whole show, a 30 minute or so epic, come on man!!! Russell and the boys delivered the goods and played 3 new songs, which the crowd seemed to like considering nobody knew the songs at all. An awesome band well worth see in. Songs played were: Of Sin & Shadows, Domination, Serpent's Kiss, End Of Innocence, Inferno, Smoke & Mirrors, Prometheus, Evolution, Set The World On Fire, Dehumanized, Eve Of Seduction. Looking forward to see in them again for the 4th time.

    &       Sheffield Corporation (UK)   22.3.11    

It's been a while since I last visited Sheffield Corporation Club 09 for Cannibal Corpse gig, which was awesome. Tonight was a night to remember, after all I had in 30yrs been a fan never seen Accept live, believe it or not but the closest I have got is to see in U.D.O. in Germany a couple of times. So I was pretty excited to see 1 of Germany's finest and biggest metal acts, and if you think about it The Scorpions and Accept were to 2 biggest metal bands to come out of Germany. So tonight was a special night for me to see such a legendary band. It was also good to see my old friends 'Wolf', who apparently have a big following here in the UK, according to the band. Last time I saw this band was at Bloodstock festival a couple of years ago. Well tonight had a very good crowd attendance packed full of old school metal heads as well as some young metal heads showing support for both bands. Wolf hailing from Sweden have been around for sometime now and have released 5 previous albums and a new album due to be released shortly titled 'Legion Of Bastards' through Century Media, which is a decent album indeed. The band consist of Niklas Stalvind (vocals & guitar), Anders Mood (Bass), Johannes 'Axe man' Losback (guitars) and drummer Richard A Holmgren. Together they make quality old school metal, which some would describe them as across between Iron Maiden, Saxon, Judas Priest, Accept so I think you get the picture. With a 40 minute set roughly the band played to a warm welcoming crowd that just wanted more and more. The set list included: Evil Star, The Bite, Voodoo, Steel Winged Savage, Venom, Skull Crusher, Hail Caesar, I Will Kill Again, Speed On, Genocide. A Fantastic opening band for Accept indeed and the band will be back to the UK in august for yet another slot at Bloodstock, so check them out. Well next came the one and only mighty 'Accept', with such a back catalogue of classic albums such as 'Metal Heart', 'Balls To The Wall', 'I'm A Rebel', and my all time favourite 'Restless & Wild', I mean that album fucking rules, and if you listen too 'Fast As A Shark', it was 20-30yrs ahead of its time and still in my opinion to be 1 of the best if not 1st Thrash songs ever!! It's just a pure classic that can't be touched. The band formed back in 1970 with UDO been the original singer, along with but the band career didn't kick off until 76 with Wolf Hoffmann and Peter Bates and drummer Frank Friedrich, who left to be replaced by Stefan Kaufmann with guitarist Jörg Fischer staying in the band until 82/83 when Herman Frank joined the band. The band have done so many albums and some fine classic tunes that the band are pretty much faultless and tonight the band were back and hungry as ever with new front man Mark Tornillo, formerly with New Jersey act T.T. Quick (Metal Of Honour) album which is a fine album indeed. Mark is a fine example and is a very talented singer that's for sure, sounding a little like U.D.O., but at the same time having his own style so I can see why the band picked him. The bands new album 'Blood Of The Nations' is an awesome CD, and pack on top form with very songs just been perfect. I was really looking forward to see in the band tonight and I was disappointed at all, every song played was awesome and Mark made sure the crowd enjoyed every minute of the set list. About 1 hour and 45 minute set was pretty good going and I just wish they played for longer. Tonight was the last night of the tour so I guess they were happy to leave on a high. Songs played were: Teutonic Terror, Bucket Full Of Hate, Starlight, Breaker, New World Coming, Restless & Wild, Son Of A Bitch, Metal Heart, Neon Knights, Bulletproof, The Abyss, Aiming Higher, Princess Of The Dawn, Up To The Limit, Burning, Fast As A Shark, Pandemic, & Balls To The Wall. Awesome live band well worth the wait of 30yrs!!.

&    &   London Islington Academy (UK) 3.3.11 

Well it was good to be back at the Islington Academy in London for yet anther Over Kill show, a year on and the band still come to out shores with the 'Kill Fest' tour. Last time they had Savage Messiah & Suicidal Angels, which was  a great tour. This time around we had 4 bands on this tour, with the opening band 'After All' from Belgium, which unfortunately I missed, and that isn't like me to miss a support act, but I have to say that I have seen them before opening up for King Diamond in London, so it's wasn't a total disappointment, but saying that i would of liked to of seen them again. Well like always Over Kill do pull a great crowd together here in London as always and tonight wasn't a disappointment either. Tonight's 2nd act was a band that I haven't seen since 91 when they opened up for Sepultura and Sacred Reich, yes it was San Francisco's 'Heathen', put together by only 2 original members left in the band been David White & Lee Altus (also in Exodus), who is also joined by drummer Darren Minter who also played on the 'Victims Of Deception' released back in 91, along with Prototype guitarist Kragen Lum & ex Grip Inc Bassist Jason Viebrooks. it was great to see them alive again and also cool that both David, Jason & Darren remembers me from the day. The band played to a very welcoming crowd, in which the old school thrasher's opened their arms to embrace this impressive thrash act. The band only had a pretty short set list but still I really enjoyed them just as much as the crowd it. Only 4 songs I'm afraid that night which included: Dying Season, Controlled by Chaos, Arrows of Agony, No Stone Unturned. A great band back and going stronger than ever. Check out the band latest album through Mascot Records 'The Evolution Of Chaos'. Next to hit the stage were that German power trio 'Destruction', these guys have been around since the early 80's banging out full in your face German Thrash Metal, both Schmier and Mike are the forefathers and the band, creating some of Germany's finest thrash metal along side Kreator and Sodom. This band have a really good following of loyal fans that are true to the band as so are the band to their fans. Schmier, Mike and new drummer Vaaver deliver a heavy, powerful and energetic set from start to finish. The fans love their music and tonight was a great nite of pure European metal. Playing about 50 minutes the band hit the stage and the fans went crazy. With the band's new album 'Day Of Reckoning' this awesome album sees the band moving forward to another step in their career. Songs played were: Curse of The Gods, Mad Butcher, Armageddonizer, Tears Of Blood, Thrash Till Death, Devolution, Bestial Invasion, Soul Collector, Hate Is My Fuel, Nailed To The Cross, The Butcher Strikes Back. Awesome live, a band I suggest you check out. Next up was the one and only and best Thrash band ever in my opinion 'Over Kill', never mind the big 4, I mean these guys alone will certainly give Megadeth, Metallica & Slayer a run for their money. I guess these bands don't take Over Kill on tour for 1 reason, because Over Kill will blow them the fuck off stage. Ok people listen to Lemmy's bass and say 'That's Meta', yes it is but don't forget D.D.' bass sound either, like Lemmy he has his own identity. Fuck this bass just shreds and putting it along side Blitz vocals you have a chemical that is lethal and could cause devastation. If there's one thing that makes Over Kill it is D.D.s bass and Bobby's vocals, without them there is no Thrash or Over Kill. I just love the sound they create and with Blitz vocals its just a match made in heaven or hell, depends on how you look at it. Over Kill have come a long way since the days of 'Feel The Fire' and 'Taking Over', with various guitarist come and go and drummers too, I feel the band have a perfect balance of talented musicians within the band right now. With Derek, Dave handling the guitars and Ron handling the drums they all come together to create some kick ass metal. With the band still promoting 'Ironbound', a fine album indeed packed full of hard hitting thrash tunes that pretty much defines Thrash Metal. There's no stopping Over Kill, the crowd loved them and I tell you they sounded awesome, heavy as fuck and crystal clear sound. Great band, great front man, what more can I say? Songs played were: The Green & Black, Rotten To The Core, Wrecking Crew, Infectious, Bring Me The Night, Bastard Nation, Hammerhead, Ironbound, Blood Money, Endless War, Hello From The Gutter, Give A Little, Nercoshine, Old School, Deny The Cross, Elimination, Fuck You. If you don't like Over Kill, then 'Fuck You!!'.

&      Leeds 02 Academy (UK)  26.2.11   

Well this was the 1st gig for 2011 for me, a little slow I know but there hasn't been any decent gigs for me until then. Having seen Europe at Bloodstock open air and in Leeds last year I knew I had to see them again. Ok so they might not be everybody's cup of tea granted, but you cant deny the fact that they are top musicians and superb live. When I 1st heard 'The Final Countdown' back in the 80's everybody in the UK were pretty much talking about how cool the song was, having not heard they released 2 album prior to this song, I was pretty much blown away by the riffs on this record. I kind of went off them for a while but after hearing John Norum's solo albums (they totally blow me away) I got back into the band and I have no regrets to this day. John is without doubt a guitar wizard or god!! Europe are great musicians which I cant fault. Well enough of the chit chat, so tonight was another change to see the band with support from UK act 'Voodoo Johnson', a name I haven't heard of before and to be honest I think a lot of people were curious to know what their music would sound like. To be honest, I was a little surprised to hear how decent the band were, with the band consisting of 5 musicians hailing from Midlands, where most of the tops acts hail from like Zepplin, Priest, Sabbath etc... and with 2 previous albums the band seem to be known  and with them playing the High Voltage festivals is certainly given the band a raised profile. Playing music that sounds like Blackstone Cherry, seemed to go down pretty well with the crowd that showed to support them. I really feel for support acts as the main bands hardly give the support acts hardly any lighting on the stage and this really does annoy me, what's the problem? Anyway the band pulled over some new fans, great vocals also added. Songs played were: Headstone, Feel Karma, Sin, Nowhere In-between, Black Skies, Seven Years. Well next of course were the might Swedish Hard Rock/ Metal act 'Europe', all musicians Joey, John, John, Mic and Ian hit the stage to a pretty much packed crowd as the lights went down and the intro started to 'Last Look At Eden', the crowd screamed and cheered as Ian first hit the stage and the rest followed. The lights hit the stage and well that was pretty much it... Joey is a great frontman who at times thinks he's David Coverdale, with this swinging of the mic stand just like Coverdale does, but hey the crowd loved it and Joey like to certainly pose for the photographers which is great in my opinion. This is a great opening song, which has a heavy raw edge to it, a classic opening song for the band. Other songs soon followed and with a tribute to Gary Moore by John Norum was emotional for him & the fans, a superb guitar solo followed by Mic's keyboards to help out, so hats off to the band for doing that. There a great live band that I recommend you check out and I've even heard some Thrash bands like Over Kill praising the band for their musicianship. Other songs played were: The Beast, Rock The Night, Scream of Anger, No Stone Unturned, Carrie, The Getaway Plan, The Loner, Seventh Sign, New Love In Town, Love Is Not The Enemy, More Than Meets The Eye, Drum solo, Always The Pretender, Start From The Dark, Superstitious (my all time Favourite song), Doghouse (new song) and of course The Final Countdown. Yet again the band delivered the good, so I'm looking forward to the next album, I guess it will be a dark heavy Blues Hard Rock album.

    London Underworld (UK)  4.10.10.      

Well I've only ever seen Jorn once and that was with Masterpaln at the Bloodstock festival when it was indoors back in the 90's and that was a great show. I've always liked Jorn's voice even before Masterplan were formed. If you take this unique Norwegian singer Jorn Lande, who's career pretty much started with such bands like Company of Snakes who soon changed their name to 'The Snakes', which was pretty much Whitesnake's old classic line-up minus Dave Coverdale. Later on Jorn went onto such bands like Ark featuring ex Conception guitarist, Beyond Twilight, Vagabond, Millennium, Yngwie Malmsteen, Allen/Lande and so on... This guy has come a long way to finally form his own band and have lot's of success throughout the years and to this day he is becoming a very sort after singer by so many bands. Jorn has released 6 studio albums, 1 tribute to Dio in which he played in London doing the tribute gig with the members of Heaven & Hell, 1 live DVD and 3 compilation albums. Well I've always been a fan and also admired Jorn for such a long time and it was about time I saw the man himself doing what he does best, playing his won material and I was really looking forward to the show. Jorn only played 2 dates in the UK, the London show and 1 in Glasgow which was a shame really, more dates could of been added but I believe he will return very soon for more UK dates, so keep an eye open. Having been to the Underworld a few times it's a pretty good venue but not great for taking professional pictures I can tell you. Tonight was a great night but only about 300 people turned up to a club that holds a lot more, so the atmosphere was pretty good but at least I got some decent pictures. Support act came form Sheffield's 'Crime of Passion' which sadly I missed due to trying to interview Jorn, something I didn't get but he has promised me to do email interview. So watch this space!!! I really wasn't sure how long Jorn would play a set for but it was amazingly rather long and some impressive songs and with Jorn having some awesome songs to choose from it must of been hard to please all, but the overall set list was good enough to impressive the enter crowd form start to finish. Jorn is joined by Tore Moren (guitars), Willy Bendiksen (drums), Tor Erik Myhre (guitars), and bassist Nic Angileri from the band Gotthard. The night for me was a night to remember that's for sure. Songs that were played are: Road to the Cross, Shadow People, Below, We brought the angels Down, Storm Crow, Spirit Black, Rock & roll Angel, (Tor guitar solo), The inner Road, Man of the Dark, Black Song, (Tore guitar solo), Tungur Knivur, Soul of the Wind, (Willy drum solo), Are you Ready (Thin Lizzy), Song for Ronnie James, War of the World. A great night and I look forward to see in live again in the near future. Jorn is a master of Rock & Metal and I wish him loads of success and great future releases.

     Bang Your Head - Balingen (Germany)  16th - 17th July 2010   

Well another had past since the 1st BYH festival I had attended and I was really looking forward to coming back again. This festival might be pretty small but the atmosphere is awesome, it really is a family festival just like Bloodstock here in the UK. I really at first wasn't sure if I would be attending this years with lack of money but I managed to get some cash together and how glad I was that I attended. 2 days of pure hard edge 80's metal really does say a lot for this festival, even the newer bands that play this festival are playing 80's style metal or early 90's, either way it's one of the best festival I've been too and I've done a few. Unfortunately I missed the warm up show on the Thursday night which featured Blitzkrieg, Saxon as headliners with 2 more acts, something I would of liked to of seen, maybe 1 day. This festival like most festival had bands dedicating songs to Ronnie James Dio who died this year, whom all of us will sadly miss.

Friday 16th:

Well arriving on the Friday was a warm and pleasant day which was a good start to any festival, and unfortunately I missed the 1st few bands such as the 'New Black', but did arrive to capture 'Forbidden', these west coast U.S. thrashers have been around since the later 80's under the original name of 'Forbidden Evil' but soon changed their name for their debut album which believe it or not was entitled 'Forbidden Evil' back in 88. This debut was a classic album and still today stands the test of time mixing vocal influences by Rob Halford, Chuck Billy (Testament), mix well and so does their music. The band recorded 'Twisted Into Form' in 90 and  soon followed 'Distortion' and 'Green' which were to say the least pretty disappointing  and soon ended the bands career.  Well the band formed other bands and returned in the last couple of years and will soon release their new album through Nuclear Blast in 2010. The line-up consists of 3 original members Russell, Craig, and Matt along with Mark (ex Torque) and Steve (ex Testament/ Nevermore). Well the band only played a roughly 40-45 minute set of mind blowing classics and 1 new songs just to temp you for what is yet to come. Songs played that day were: Infinite, R.I.P., Step By Step, Thought Eyes Of Glass, Adapt To Die (New songs), Children Of The Sea (Black Sabbath), Chalice Of Blood. Great band and I welcome them back and look forward to their new long awaited album shortly. Next up to hit the stage was Swedish Power/ Symphonic Metal act 'Sabaton', who have been around for a few years now and have become popular more recently since signing to Nuclear Blast Records and having played festivals like Bloodstock, Wacken and now BYH is making the band even more popular. The band for a 6 piece are pretty good and they remind me of such bands like Stratovarius, Rhapsody Of Fire, Nocturnal Rites, and maybe hints of early Gamma Ray/ Helloween. Now the sun was shining the band certainly got a good reception from the audience with plenty of head banging and beer consumed. I don't mind their music but it's nothing I would go out of my way to listen to on a daily basis, but still who am I to judge a band who are doing extremely well. besides there decent guys and front man is funny when pissed up haha!! Songs played by this Swedish act were: Ghost Division, Panzer Battalion, Coat Of Arms, Saboteurs, Cliffs of Gallipoli, The price of a Mile, Screaming Angels, The art of War, Primo Victoria, Metal machine/ Metal crue. 

Next up was Japanese melodic metal act 'Loundess', like Anvil these guys also have a history that have also influenced so many acts from around the world including the likes of 'Hammerfall'. I remember see in the band live at Dynamo festival in Holland back in (I think) 97 but don't quote me on that just yet. I also remember the band supporting Saxon in the mid 80's but for some reason they never played in my home city that night, they reckoned they could not get all of their amps on stage (an unlikely story). Nevertheless, today was a day that for some was the first time they had experienced the band live, for some like me it was a day to reflect on how they were back in the day. The youngsters who attended seemed very interested in this band which was a really good thing considering guitarist .... was well respected back in the 80's by so many. With the sadness of their original drummer Munetaka Higuchi, who passed away last year must of been a special day for the band. With the band releasing such classic albums like 'Thunder in the East' making them very popular in Japan and on a international level too. The band consist of 3 original members to date, those been: , the band pulled off an impressive set list. This included: Crazy Nights, Crazy Doctor, Esper, Heavy Chain, In the Mirror, Let it Go, S.D.I., Loudness. I do hope the band release a new album soon in the classic style.

3 good bands I caught to start off the festival and next was the one and only 'Anvil', yes these Canadian metaller's have been trying so hard since the late 70's to get a record deal before the band released their debut alum 'Hard & Heavy' through Attic records, a good strong album for it's time which really started the whole ball rolling for such acts like Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Over Kill and many  more Thrash acts, you really could say that Anvil are the original Thrash band. With the success of the debut album the band recorded 'Metal on Metal' which was even more stronger and heavier, more double bass drumming by Robb, who has certainly influenced the likes of Dave (Slayer) and Lars (Metallica). This album received some awesome reviews but let me tell you for me it had to be 'Forged in Fire' that did it for me, after see in and meeting the band back in 83 as support to Motorhead was just amazing!! Things went wrong for the band after the release of that album, the band were dropped by Attic records and the band struggled for a number of years leaving Lips, Robb, Dave and Ian to carry on before Ian and Dave left the band. The band went through various line-up changes with guitarist leaving Lips and Robb to find G5 (Glenn) been their bassist and as a 3 piece today the band are on top form. Yes we all know the band have released 'The Story of Anvil' on DVD and as a book which has really lifted the band profile and today the band are becoming strong than ever before, more so than they were in the early 90's. Thigns are really going well for the band and I wish them the best of luck, they have more support (well at the age of 12) I really cant turn my back on these hard hitting cool fuckers can I? The crowd at BYH loved them and they played some classic trax and a un-released re-vamped song 'Thump Hang'. The rest of the set included: March of the Crabs, 666, School Love, Winged Assassins, This is Thirteen, Mortha, Heaven & Hell (Black Sabbath melody), White Rhino (drum solo), and Metal on Metal. Long live Anvil, they fucking rule!! I've always liked their music and always will. 

Next to hit the stage was Savatage's original singer Jon Oliva with his new band 'Jon Oliva's Pain', and I really don't think I need to introduce Jon to you do I? Oh well I might as well give you a little insight to his background. Jon and his brother Chris Oliva (R.I.P.) formed Savatage back int he early 80's and throughout their career the band have had lots of success with their debut album 'Sirens' and 'The dungeons are Calling' giving the band the lift they so rightly deserved took them from Music For Nation's records to a major label 'Atlantic' to were the band grow and released some of their finest work' It's been 9 years since the band recorded any album for Savatage and it makes you wonder if the band will ever release a new album? I guess the success of 'Tran Siberia Orchestra' has taken a lot of the bands time up. Jon however been the singer for that project since the beginning but has also found the time to form this band too. J.O.P. have recorded roughly 5 albums to date, and with the success of his latest offering 'Festival' through AFM Records sees the band ever moving forward. Florida based Symphonic/ Power Metal band have certainly got it made, and yes there are hints of Savatage in their music, and why not when they had so much success? Songs played were: Lies, Chance, Sirens, The dungeons are Calling, Death rides a black Horse, Edge of Thorns, Gutter Ballet, Believe, Festival, Rainbow in the Dark (Dio), Hall of the mountain King. Next to hit the stage was the queen of metal 'Doro', formerly known for her work with German metal act 'Warlock' back in the 80's. The band recorded such classic albums such as 'Burning the Witches' and 'Hellbound' which is still the bands finest release. Warlock broke up back in the 80's and Doro Pesch went onto a solo career and has never looked back. Numerous albums later and still Doro is without doubt the queen of metal, many have come and gone like Lee Aaron, Lita Ford (Just made a comeback) but Doro and Girl School main at the top of the hill. Doro however has remained a full on metal queen without really going commercial or bowing down to any trends and she certainly knows what she wants her music to sound like. Doro still remains to have Nick Douglas on bass (Deadly Blessing), and Johnny Dee (ex Britney Fox) on drums with new guitarist added to the line-up. With the sun out and the weather getting hotter this was the perfect time for Doro to perform some of her classic tunes from the Warlock and Doro days, a great 1 hour and 10 minute set full of hard hitting early songs to some more melodic tunes of today.

Like Rob Halford or Dio, or even Bruce Dickenson of Iron Maiden, these 3 god of metal know how to get the crowd going and Doro is the equivalent of the above male singers, she knows how to get the crowd going and lets them get involved with fist banging and vocal sing a longs. Tracks that she played were: You're my Family, I rule the Ruins, Earthshaker Rock, Running with the Devil, Burning the Witches, Egypt (Dio), Fur Immer, Burn it Up, Celebrate, Metal Racer, Always live to Win, Breaking the Law (Judas Priest), We are All. I have the up most respect for Doro, may she carry the flag for all female metal heads out there. After a little break for a drink and food I went to check out Switzerland's finest act 'Krokus' another band that have been around since the early 80's and also like some of the bands above recorded several albums throughout their career. Although Krokus have not continued to carry on for years like some bands they did make a come back in the early 2000's with 'Hell Raiser' through AFM back in 2006, the band have also recorded 22 previous albums, and that's something you have to respect the band for. Marc Storace (vocalist) hits the stage with form what I can gather is most or the full original line-up for this special show at BYH. I remember see in the band live with Hammerfall back in 2007 here in the UK and the bands 'Hell Raiser' album was pretty impressive. It certainly had the classic Hard Rock/ Metal feel somewhat mixed between AC/DC meets some of the heavier edge Hard Rock bands, and yes it was good to have a mixture of styles at this festival. Anybody who is a fan of AC/DC would really enjoy this band, I have to admit I don't know enough of Krokus work to judge besides the 'Hell Raiser' album. A hard rocking 1hr 10 minute set was good enough for all that attended and the band left the stage with a good crowd response. Songs played were: Long stick goes Boom, American Woman, Rock & roll Handshake, Tokyo Nights, Fire, Burning Bones, Screaming in the Night, Easy Rocker, Bedside Radio, Heart Strokes, Hoodoo Woman, Born to be Wild (Stepping Wolf) Long live rock & Roll (Rainbow). 

As there was a hall stage indoors I did manage to check out 1 of my favourite Danish bands next, this was my 2nd time I had seen 'Artillery' live, the 1st at Wacken in 2000, so to see them again live left me feeling gather excited. 3 original members from the 'By Inheritance' line-up with new drummer Carsten N. Nielsen, Soren Nico Adamsen on vocals along side the 2 brothers Michael & Morten Stutzer and bassist Peter Thorslund. The band recorded 2 classic albums back in the 80's through Neat Records 'Fear of Tomorrow' and 'Terror Squad' which are still classics and have certainly influenced a lot of bands today. Vocalist Nico is a great singer and I really would like to hear what he did before he joined Artillery, if anybody who's please email me. He has a powerful voice which could fit into Thrash Metal or Power Metal, either way he is a great addition to the band as they are now. The bands current albums shows just how good his voice is. This was the first band I watched in the hall and they were very impressive, just as they were at Wacken in 2000. 

They played an awesome set last 1hr and 10 minutes. I think the crowd were also impressed and for the younger generation this was a real treat for fans young to discover a classic Danish Thrash band. Songs played were:  The Almighty, Time Has Come, Out of the Sky, Fear of Tomorrow, Terror Squad, At War With Science, Khomaniac, Out of the Trash. Awesome band and still one of Denmark's finest. Next to play the main stage were headliners for Friday night 'Hammerfall', Sweden's finest Power Metal band really don't need any introduction, formed by Oscar, and former Jesper from In Flames, vocalist Jocaim Cain. The band have had plenty of line-up changes like most bands, with Anders Johansson (drums) former Yngwie Malmsteen, ex Evergrey bassist, ex The Poodles guitarist both Oscar and Jocaim have managed to keep the flame going strong for the band. I really wouldn't of thought Hammerfall would be headlining the festival on the Friday but they did an excellent job from start to finish. With the bands latest album 'No Sacrifice, No Victory' sees the band hitting out some melodic but heavy Power Metal tunes which pleased the crowd and besides they were loud, so Manowar look out!! I have to admit they are really a good band live and I 1st saw them at Dynamo festival in Holland when they released their debut album and I knew back then they would be a band to look out for. Yes they have some Swedish influences but also some U.S. acts in their music too, for instance 'Warlord', 'Omen', to name a couple. 

Songs played by Sweden's fine metal act were: Punish the Enslave, The dragon lies Bleeding, Crimson Thunder, Hallowed by my Name, Renegade, Last man Standing, Blood Bound, Heeding the Call, Rebel Inside, Any means Necessary, Stronger than All, Riders of the Storm, Secrets, Let the hammer Fall, Man on the silver Mountain (Rainbow), Hearts of Fire. A great set and a great end for Friday nights festival.

Saturday 17th:  

So it was another day to attend 1 of Europe's finest festival, after a long good sleep I was back to check out what Saturday's band had install for all the metal heads out there. Another fine day so far but rain was due to come later in the day, especially on the band I wanted to see the most 'Fates Warning' damn the weather!! So after arriving just in time for the 1st band I wanted to see live and have been  a fan of their work since the 80's was U.S. Power Metal act 'Savage Grace'', it was an honour to catch them live at last and I really thought I would of missed them, but lucky I got their in time for their 45 minute set. Only original member is the singer Christian Loguejoined by a bunch of German musicians who really did pull it off. I'm not sure what band they were from but they did an excellent job from start to finish. This band have influenced a lot of younger Power Metal acts from around the world and with albums such as 'After the fall from Grace', ' Master of Disguise' and their mini CD 'Dominatress' which were released on either Metal Blade or Black Dragon Records back in the 80's were fine releases, especially 'After the fall from Grace', great songs but the production suffered a little. Now these releases have been re-issued and re-master and released recently by LMP Music, something I need to check out. Well the band received a warm welcome from fans from all over the world. They really did a great set and I just wished they played an hour at least. Having spoke to vocalist  (Fill IN) I descovered that Ronnie James Dio was involved with the bands early material. Anyway songs played that day were: Bound to be Free, Into the Fire, After the fall from Grace, We came we saw we Conquered, Master of Disguise, The Dominatress, Sins of the Damned, Exciter (Judas Priest). A great starter for the day and yet more good metal was to come that day. I do hope that Savage Grace record a new album this year or early in 2011. 

Next act to hit the stage was German Thrasher's 'Sacred Steel', these 5 guys play old school Power/ Thrash Metal featuring ex Tragedy Divine front man Gerrit P. Mutz, with the only original member of Sacred Steel joining him is drummer Mathias Stranls. The band original signed to Metal Blade records released such albums as 'Wardogs of Metal', which opened a new door way for the band as 1 of the new bands from Europe to sound like the older bands also signed to Metal Blade such as Helstar, Omen, Liege Lord, early Fates Warning and so many more. Well now the band have signed to Massacre records have released a number of albums for the label. Today was the 2nd time I had seen the band in Germany, the first been Wacken 1999 as special guests. That same year the band supported Wardog in Europe. Now the band return to play BYH, this was a good sunny day to see an impressive German act who manage to keep their U.S. cult style of metal and nowadays with some heavier influences. Gerrit and the boys hit the stage for a 50 minute set of blistering Power/Thrash Metal that the majority of metal heads enjoyed, fist held high and plenty of headbanging. Songs the band played were: War is Metal, Battle Angel, Open wide the Gate, Heavy Metal to the End, Denial the Judas, Maniacs of Speed, Kill the King (Rainbow), Carnage Victory, Slaughter Prophecy, Wordogs of Metal. Great band just wish they would play in the UK, especially Bloodstock. 

Next up was New York/ Jerseys 'Hades', good friends of mine who I've known for many years and only seen the band once at Wacken was an honour to catch them live again. Still Dan (guitars), Alan (vocals) were the only 2 members that played with Hades at Wacken but for this line-up original drummer (Fill in) returns with original guitarist (Fill IN) and new bassist Kevin Bolembach on bass, these guys delivered a powerful hard hitting set. With the bands debut 'Resist Success' saw metal from the U.S. take a new turn, this was and still is a classic and their best album to date. The album was soon followed by 'If at first you don't Succeed' another classic Hades album, more followed later  in years and with the break up with  Dan and Alan forming 'Non Fiction' it looked as if Hades were over. I'm glad to see the band live again and catch up with old friends, so it was a great day for me. I just hope that the band record a new album soon back in the style of the 1st 2 albums, I'm sure they will. The crowd loved them and so did I, and it was great to hear Alan dedicate a song to me 'I to Eye', cheers Alan!! This guys play technical Thrash Metal with soaring vocals which really do jell well together. Songs the band played were: Exist to Resist, Widows Mite, The Leaders?, I to Eye, Rebel without a Brain, Voodoo (Black Sabbath), Opinionate, On to Laid, Night Stalker. Great set by a fine metal act. 

Next to hit the stage were Swedish melodic rockers 'Treat', a band that have been around since the late 80's and recorded with several labels such as Vertigo records. This pretty fine act have certainly stood the test of time. Their music reminds me of those bands like Pretty Maids, Skagarack, Europe (early days), to give you some idea. I have to admit I was really impressed with their music as I haven't heard much by this band before and yes the crowd really enjoyed their music too. Recently signed to Frontiers Records from Italy this label seems to be the top of the list for melodic Rock/ Metal at the moment with such bands as Pretty Maids, Journey, Survivor, Jorn, and many more fine acts. For a band that played mid afternoon they played a good solid rocking set which lasted 50 minutes. Songs played were: The war is Over, Ready for the Taking, Paper Tiger, Rev it/ Party all over/ Too Wild, We own the Night, Sole Saviour, Conspiracy, Skies Of Mongolia, World of Promise. Next up was the main reason I had come to BYH, to see 1 of my all time favourite bands 'Fates Warning', besides Psychotic Waltz I have to say these 2 bands rule the Progressive Metal world, not to forget such other fine bands out there, too many to mention. But for me fates Warning have always been 1 of those bands who have made a big impact on my musically upbringing. Ever since I heard the bands 2nd album I have been pretty much been hooked on their music. Back in the day Jim and the band were pretty much a Power Metal version of Iron Maiden meets Queensryche but nowadays more so much directed to the likes of Queensryche meets Rush, Dream Theater. Ray Alder in my opinion is the finest Prog Metal singer and with the music been technical and powerful it's a great step forward for the band. It's been a long time since the 'Parallels' line-up has been together, but now there touring with the finest line-up and playing a few shows in Europe and BYH was 1 of them. I had to say at this point it rained so luck wasn't on my side but that wasn't going to stop me watching a fine metal act. With 10+ albums under their belt does say something about this fine, and acts who like  Dream Theater (who are influenced by Fates Warning) says even more. All members of the  band Ray, Jim, Mark, Joe, Frank pulled off a great set despite the rain and I really do hope the band record a new album soon with this classic line-up and why not? Songs played were: One, Life in still Water, A Pleasant shade of Gray, We only say Goodbye, 11th Hour, Point of View, Through different Eyes, Monument. A great set only short but with their songs been long and complex takes a lot of time and effort. I was so pleased I had seen them live with this line-up since the early 90's.

 Time for a break and I was soon getting ready for catch another 1 of my favourite band, this time long time friends 'Nevermore', Seattle's Thrash master's return with their new album 'The Obsidian Conspiracy' which was released a few months ago and like any Nevermore album it's is up to it's usual standards delivering a powerful hard hitting punch. With Warrel Dane delivering his unusual style of vocal range somewhat across between Geoff Tate (Queensryche) mixed with Rob Halford style screams works well with the powerful musicianship of Jim Sheppard, Jeff Loomis and Van Williams making this band a well worthy band to hear and see live. Nevermore have been joined by a young guitarist from Eastern Europe who certainly does an excellent job. Formed put of the ashes of Sanctuary both Warrel and Jim met Jeff and later on Van to making 1 of the finest metal acts to come out of Seattle in a long time. With the rain stopped almost the band were ready to hit the stage and play an impressive set which lasted 1 hour and 10 minutes. Like any band the more albums you do the hard it becomes to choose which songs are to be played live. In the case of Nevermore set was pretty much balanced out their set to a fine tuned set list which included: Beyond Within, The River Dragon Has Come, Your Poison Throne, Born, Emptiness Unobstructed, Inside Four Walls, The Seven Tongues Of God, The Termination Proclamation, This Godless Endeavor, The Heart Collector, The Obsidian Conspiracy & Enemies Of Reality. Fine band indeed and worth checking out live and their CD's too.

ext up was yet another Seattle band to hit the main stage, co headliners 'Queensryche', with no introduction really needed here, but these guys really have opened the doorway for a lot of bands. Just like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, Queensryche released their debut mini CD 'Queen of the Reich' which was something outstanding and pretty much opened the door way for such bands like Lethal, Crimson Glory, Fates Warning and so many more fine acts which would now be called Progressive Power Metal. Thanks to the Ryche new doorways have now been opened for so many acts. For me 'The Warning' is and will always be my favourite album by this band. The band have had some line-up changes with form what I can gather 3 replacement guitarist since Chris left the band.  His new replacement is young and  fresh and looks rather gothic in looks but is a great guitarist. Geoff Tate, is 1 of the finest vocalist in metal and been joined by Scott on drums, Mike on guitar and Eddy on bass these 4 guys have kept the band alive for over a decade. It was great to see the band live again, as it was 3 yrs since I last saw the band live in the UK, never seen them at a festival was something different and new. Although the band have several albums released it must be hard for the band to complete a fine set list and been in Germany you would of thought the band would of gone for a more heavier set, not playing songs from their debut mini CD, 'The Warning' or 'Rage for Order' was a little disappointment to say the least. Nevertheless, the band did however play some classic later songs and newer ones too, making the set rather impressive. Playing a hour and 10 minute set was all the band had to offer, but the songs played were: Hit the Black, Sacred Ground, Man Down, The Hands, Damaged, The thin Line, Breaking the Silence, The right side of my Mind, Neon Knights (Black Sabbath), I don't believe in Love, Jet city Woman, Empire. A great band and a decent set list. 

Last band to hit the main stage was 'Twisted Sister', these New Yorker's are a band I have never seen live until now. Yeah I've seen some live DVD's but I think it was about time I experienced the band live for a change. The band have had plenty of chart success both here in the UK/ Europe as well as the U.S. with MTV but those days of metal been played are pretty much gone now. Yeah those lip stick hard rocking glam/ Metal whatever you want to call them are back and I think it's about time they recorded a new album instead of living in the past. After all they have been back on the scene for a few years now but no new albums from what I can recall. Well it was the end of this years festival for BYH and so Twisted Sister had to live up to their name and show the audience just how good they can deliver a powerful hard hitting set. I have to say that I think they pretty much pulled that off at BYH. Dee and the boys hit the stage to play some of the classic tunes that made Twisted Sister who they are today. Of course the show wouldn't end without any festival ending on a high with fireworks, so as the main stage ended to the last song the fireworks sprayed the midnight air and light the stage and crowd up, impressive stuff. For the band not much lipstick was required this time around, maybe a little around the eyes but not as much as I thought they would apply. A 1 hour and 40 minute set ends the year off with such a good ending. With the following songs been played was a treat for new, old and 1st timers of the band to see and hear, good band either way. Songs played were: Come out and Play, The kids are Back, Stay Hungry, Shoot um Down, You can't stop rock & Roll, The fire still Burns, I am I Me, Were not gonna take It, The Price, Burn in Hell, I Wanna Rock, Under the Blade, Long live Rock & Roll (Rainbow) and S.M.F. 

Well it was time to check out the end of all ends in the hall with one of Germany's finest Thrash band 'Destruction', this trio act have been around since the early 80's and still Schmier and Mike hold the flame burning for the band. At one point the band went to be a 4 piece but only for 'Released from Agony' album and maybe 'Cracked Brain'. Scmier left the band and formed Head Hunter whilst Mike tried to carry the bands name on but really didn't have a chance after Schmier's departure. Marc their drummer recently left the band and is now replaced by a new talented drummer at the point of this show I didn't catch his name. After all the beer and loud music you would of thought Twisted Sister would of tired everybody out, but no Destruction was the band to do this job, and it was also good to see members of Queensryche watching the band from the side of the stage must of meant they were fans of the band or heard a lot about this fine German act. I really can't fault this band for a 3 piece there 1 of the few who can pull it off live like Motorhead, Rage, Destruction have what it takes to rock the place to hell and tonight was what this band did. Schmier, Mike and the current new drummer delivered a fine set of old classics and some of the bands later material. 

The hall was pretty much packed and fans form around the world wanted to see this band for the first time for just for the fact that wanted to see them live again. The band recently signed to Nuclear Blast again, away from AFM Records, so I guess they got a better deal like most tend to do. Songs that they played were: The Antichrist, The butcher strikers Back, Curse of the Gods, Mad Butcher, Nailed to the Cross, Reject Emotions, Total Disaster, Eternal Ban, The alliance of Hellhoundz, Soul Collector, Life without Sense, Thrash til Death, Unconscious Ruin just to name a few. Still one of the great Germany thrash bands like Kreator Destruction deliver and they mean business. 

Other bands that played but I didn't see were: The New Black, Enforcer, Grand Magnus, Toxin, Bullet, Quireboys, Dew-Sentenced, The Haunted. A great year and a great festival which I highly recommend, not the biggest but a real family festival like Bloodstock indeed. if you haven't been before then do so next year, you won't be disappointed, 1 main stage, 2 days and 1 hall you really cant go wrong can you?

&       Sheffield 02 Academy (UK)   7.7.10   

Well it was great to see Anvil last year in the UK as support to Saxon and I have to thank Saxon for giving them the chance they deserve, and it certainly has done the band some good. It's all very well people on the 'The Story of Anvil' saying how good they are like Slayer, Metallica but have these bands taken them out on the road to I've them the break they need? Like fuck they have which really annoys me, so Saxon have my up most respect and they always have done. Well 9 months later I'm see in the band live again as headliners and Its' a great feeling to see them rocking as they do. I really don't think that Anvil have done a full UK before, only playing a 1 off show here and there, but the film has made them like metal gods they so rightly deserve to be. Tonight they were playing the all girl metal act 'Girl School' another band that have been around for years and still manage to keep going and delivering classic metal tunes. There's not many female acts left these days, Doro, Lita Ford and Girl School seem to be the only one's left so hats off to Girl School. Well tonight the bands played the Sheffield 02 Academy upstairs and it was a great night, pretty much packed with a lot of young kids who had seen the film and now wanted to experience the band live which was a real treat for a lof of the younger generation, who seem to be pretty much had enough of the newer shouting bands. See in young kids aged 12 was like me see in them when I was 12 with Motorhead, it certainly put a smile on my face. The first band was of course Girl School, which no introduction should be necessary as these 5 female UK rockers have played a major part in the NWOBHM just like Motorhead and with the band doing a duet with Motorhead with the classic single 'Please Don't Touch' made the band what they are today. Only original members are Kim (vocals/ guitar), Denise (drums) and Enid (bass/ vocals) joined by 2nd guitarist Jackie who has been with the band for a number of years. I have to respect this band for continuing the play classic metal and back in the day they took Anvil out on tour as support act. The crowd however respected them even the younger generation and received a warm welcome only to play the following track: Demolition, Cmon let's Go, Not for Sale, Hit N Run, I Spy, Never say Never, Everything the Same, Screaming blue Murder, Future Flash, Yeah Right, Race with the Devil, Emergency. They certainly went down well enough by fans old and young. Next of course was the mighty 'Anvil', Canada's finest metal act and I really didn't realize that they are the 1st original Thrash Metal band, forget Metallica and Slayer as Tom Araya states 'They are Thrash man before the big 4' and how right he is. So forget the big 4 these guys were here 1st like Motorhead. Anvil have never got the respect they deserve until now and things are just getting bigger for the band and I wish them loads of success. The younger crowd tonight were very excited to see this power trio, both Lips, Robb and G5 delivered a powerful set from start to finish playing songs from their classic era and songs from the current album 'This is Thirteen'. Lips was so excited to see such a bunch of young kids there with their parents head banging as their parents were properly young Anvil fans back in the day. Lips loved the crowd and the crowd loved him, so all in all this was a superb night of total metal mayhem and yes we are were forged in fire!! Songs played included: This is Thirteen, March of the Crabs, 666, Winged Assassins, Mortha, Metal on Metal, Jackhammer, Tease me Please Me, Forged in Fire, Butter bust Jerky, Toe Jam, Smokin Green, Five knuckle Shuffle, White Rhino, Bombs Away, Burning Bridges and many more... This is Anvil it was great to see them again, next stop is BYH a week later so it's party time for me and Anvil cant wait!! if you have the chance to see them on the next tour in 2011 I hope do so you wont be disappointed. Long live Anvil!!

              Leeds 02 Academy (UK)  26.5.10    

It's been a while since I have seen Slayer, in fact it was Dynamo festival back in the 90's so to see them live again was certainly on the cards. Leeds Academy is a pretty good venue to say the least, having seen Slayer their with Machine Head in the 90s and such bands like Queensryche, Europe and Saxon so far for me. I knew tonight was going to be a pretty packed venue full of metal heads, but saying that this tour has been postponed a couple of time in the past, with the original UK tour suppose to of been in November 2009. All was cancelled due to Tom Araya's back problems, all is well now. Well tonight's opening band was Swedish Thrash/ Death Metal act 'The Haunted', who were pretty much formed out of the ashes for At The Gates and Seance, Invocator. With the 2 brothers Jonas & Anders formerly with At The Gates, Patrick Jensen (Seance) Per Jensen (Invocator) and singer Peter Dolving makes an extremely heavy going band. Several albums under their belt and still going strong the band are currently promoting 'Versus' released in 2008 through Century Media records. Well tonight the band were opening for the mighty Slayer, and I am sure The Haunted must be buzzing knowing that they opening for Slayer. Well the lights went down and The Haunted hit the stage to play a 45 minute set of pure Swedish style metal that was totally amazing from start to finish. Peter is a great front man who got the crowd going and it wasn't too long before a mosh pit was soon developing. The only bad thing about The Haunted set and any other support band is, they suffered very little lighting on stage which really sucks as it's really hard to see the band on stage. I just wish the main acts would give support bands more stage lights so the crowd could at least see them on stage. Anyway The Haunted ripped thought their set and delivered a powerful punch in the face upon the crowd leaving the crowd wanting more. They are a great live band packed full of energy and well worth check out. Songs played that right were: Dark Intentions, Bury Your Dead, 99, Trespass, The Flood, The Medication, Iron Mask, Bloodletting, Little Cage, D.O.A., No Compromise, Moronic Colossus, The Guilt Trip. Check them out if you can, there still on tour in Europe with Slayer right now. Swedish metal certainly isn't dead and The Haunted are certainly proving just that. Next was 'Slayer', yes the might Slayer along side the likes of the other top3 Anthrax, Megadeth, and Metallica, Slayer take no prisoners and certainly go for the throat from start to finish in any of their concerts. The band like Metallica are the godfathers of Thrash Metal or so they claim! This band have never bowed down to any record label or management or fan since their career started back in the early 80's. The bands debut album 'Show No Mercy' in 83 was only the start of more mayhem to come. From what I can gather Slayer were once a Judas Priest tribute band before finding their own identity. For a debut album this was an impressive album which Metal Blade put out their first 2 albums out, and their 2nd album 'Hell Awaits' saw the band finding their heavier side and more was to follow. Tom Araya, Kerry King, Dave Lombardo and Jeff Hanneman have stayed strong together throughout the years pretty much so expect Dave leaving to be replaced by ex Forbidden now Testament's drummer Paul Bostaph. Well tonight's performance was well over due and the crowd there hungry for the band to hit the stage. With a massive picture screen behind the drum kit showing videos and pictures of the band was pretty decent indeed. Well the lights went down and the crowd went nuts, screams and shouts for 'Slayer..Slayer' until the intro and the band hit the stage. Their performance was decent indeed as always but there seemed to be lack of stage presence and interacting with the crowd by Tom was pretty much lacking. It was as if the band had pretty much giving up and really didn't want to be there, and with Tom forgetting the lyrics for 'Raining Blood' was a little disappointment to say the least. I can understand that Tom can't head bang anymore due to his back problems but he really didn't say that much to the crowd. Overall it was a decent gig but Slayer just seem to be pretty much past playing live, it's as if they have givin up and really can't be bothered with it now, shame really. Songs played were: World Painted Blood, World Painted Blood, Cult, Disciple, Disciple, War Ensemble, Jihad, Payback, Beauty Through Order, Seasons in the Abyss, Hell Awaits, Mandatory Suicide, Chemical Warfare, Raining Blood / Aggressive Perfector. Encore was: South of Heaven, Silent Scream, Angel of Death. 

        Hull Lamp (UK)    21.5.10   

It's good to see a local band doing so well for themselves, having only seen the band in their early stages of their career play at the Metieval festival near Hull (Beverly) about 3yrs ago. The band have come along way since the early days of the band. Formed back in September of 2002 but didn't play live till 2004 and won the unsigned Kerrang Unsigned 'Snickers' competition of 2005. In 2006 the band appeared at the legendary Bloodstock festival (indoor) on the main stage with the likes of My Dying Bride and many more acts... In 2007 the band singed to Risen Records and recorded their debut album 'And So It Begins', which was a pretty impressive album for a young band under the age of 20, they received some impressive reviews for the national press here in the UK. Like Re-Animator another Hull band who recorded several albums in the 90s and tour with the likes of Nuclear Assault, Exodus, Candlemass, Dark Angel Sworn Amongst are following in their footsteps playing with the likes of Bonded By Blood, Gama Bomb and also appearing at the Hemmerfest here in the UK. The and released their 2nd album 'Severance' in 2010, which in my opinion is a very strong album and certainly doesn't sound like the bands debut album at all. The band consist of Liam Liddell (guitar/ vocals), Rob Ellwood (bass), Jonny Harper (drums) and Jonny Barker (guitar). Yes this band are certainly on their way up, and I think a return to Bloodstock, and maybe festivals like Wacken, Download, Bang Your Head could be on the cards in the very near future I am sure of that. Well tonight was a night full of local metal heads that stayed around and give the band a very welcoming home response after been away from home for some time now. The band certainly have the old school thrash in their music with the likes of Megadeth, Over Kill, Testament, Exodus, Re-Animator, Demolition Hammer all thrown in and yes it really does work well for these young thrashers. I really think that the next album will have more diversity in their music, a little more variation making the album flow easier and they will try to make each song different, but for a young talented band they have what it takes to show that this can pull it off with a lot of hard work and good promotion. Songs played tonight were: Exploited (Systematically) Denounced, The Storm, Unleash The Power, Crimson, The Rules Of Engagement, Darkness, Useless, Rejection, Severance, Numb, I'm Broken (Pantera). A great band well worth checking out, they have bags on energy live and their latest album kick ass!! Check them out!!

       London Islington Academy (UK) 18.5.10    

Well twice this years I've attended the Islington Academy in London, which is a pretty  good venue to say the least.  Tonight was  a night to remember not only because it's been 20yrs since I've last seen Death Angel but to also see my old friends Nevermore once again, 4 years on since Bloodstock. Also tonight we saw a impressive band from Canada, known as 'Cauldron' who are signed to Earache Records. This power trio play some impressive old school Power/Thrash Metal which comes across between such bands as Savage Grace, Liege Lord, Halloween, Omen and so on.... so if you know your 80's underground metal then you should know these bands. Canada has produced some impressive metal acts over the years with bands like Sacrifice, Exciter, Anvil, Annihilator, Savage Steel, Voi-Vod and many more here is no wonder why more impressive acts are still popping up here and there. Cauldron however consist of the following members: Jason Decay (bass & vocals), Ian Chains (guitar) and drummer Chris Steve. With the band releasing their current album 'Chained To The Nite' sees the band receiving promising reviews and building up a decent fan base in the UK. A good 30 minute set to start of the whole night with some fist banging metal mayhem which was a great first opening band for the evening. Songs played were: The Striker Strikes, Conjure The Mass, Chained Up in Chains, Into The Cauldron, Dreams Die Young, Making Noise and Drinking Beers, This Torture's Too Kind. A decent little power trio from Canada worth a listen. 

Next to hit the stage was San Francisco's 'Death Angel', and well it's been 20yrs since I last saw the band live back then with Forbidden and Vicious Rumors on the 'Act 3' tour and what a great tour that was. In the late 90's the band called it a day and Rob started 'The Organization' who I believe recorded 2 albums that I am aware of. Death Angel only recorded 3 albums before they broke up but soon return in 2001 onwards and recorded 2 albums 'The Art Of Dying' and 'Killing Season' through Nuclear Blast Records. Today the line only remains with 2 original members as  been Mark Osegueda (vocals, Rob Cavestany (guitar) and Gus Pepa (guitar) & new members consist of Will Carroll (drums), Ted Aguilar (guitar) Damien Sissom (bass). It was great to see the band live again and to hear some of the bands classic tunes along with some newer songs and 1 new song from the forthcoming new album. There was no doubt about it Death Angel still delivered a fine set and powerful Thrash Metal with the whole set was dedicated to Debby Abono which was very touching for the band and people there who knew her like myself. Songs played were: Lord of Hate, Evil Priest, Buried Alive, Seemingly Endless Time, Dethroned, Kill As One, The Ultra-Violence, Carnival Justice & River of Rapture. Top act worth see in for sure. Next but not least to hit the stage was 'Nevermore', Seattle's very few surviving metal acts, along side Queensryche. As some of you may already know that Nevermore formed out of the ashes of Sanctuary who released 2 albums through Epic in the 90's, shame they didn't record a 3rd album before breaking up. However, Nevermore's debut album in 95 was an awesome debut album that certainly received some impressive reviews world-wide and a fan base soon followed. The band have recorded 6 previous albums to date and with the band almost releasing their new album 'The Obsidian Conspiracy' in June 2010 is truly awesome and very powerful album. Tonight was a night to remember as the band also filmed the show for a promo video which will be played later on in the year. With the band recruiting new guitarist Attila Vörös form what I remember hailing from Eastern Europe and yes he really has the style that the band so rightly require. Well the rest speaks for themselves, Warrell, Jeff, Jim and Van are the nuclearous of the band and always deliver a powerful hard hitting punch in any set they play live. At 1 point Warrell decided that 1 of the songs was been played too fast or not fast enough so they decided to play it again and this time get it right, rather funny indeed. But on a serious note they played 1 heel of an impressive set and I really hope they come back soon in 2010 to the UK. Songs played were: Beyond Within, The River Dragon Has Come, Your Poison Throne, Born, Emptiness Unobstructed, Inside Four Walls, The Seven Tongues Of God, The Termination Proclamation, This Godless Endeavor, The Heart Collector, The Obsidian Conspiracy with the encore been Enemies Of Reality. Nevermore still are the heart collectors of Seattle Metal so check them out when you can!!

       Hull Ringside (UK)    21.3.10   

Of all places would you expect to see a band like 'Born From Pain' coming the Hull of all places, not that it's a bad city, but we really don't get many shows around these parts. So when we get the chance to see a band like Born From Pain play here well you really have to grab the bull by it's balls sort of speak. These Dutch Hardcore/ Crossover 5 piece play impressive music mixing the likes of such bands like The Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, Slayer, Hate Breed and maybe the likes of Lamb Of God are all thrown into oen then you really do get the sound of Born From Pain. These 5 guys are not new to the scene but have been around now for a number of years playing in various bands before becoming Born From Pain they have however released 5 releases to date and with more in the future. Tonight was a night packed full of hardcore kids from the local scene, I myself and a couple more felt out of place having long hair but we all were there for one reason to support B.O.P. and the local scene. Tonight had 5 support bands, a couple of local bands and some bands that the band brought on tour with them, so for £7 it was a bargain for all. I really didn't catch any of the support bands expect for local band 'Blood Red Dawn' who I have to say were impressive and even their debut mini CD has impressed me (check out the review soon). Hardcore has come a long way since the early days of the local New York scene with the godfathers 'Agnostic Front' holding the flag high.  The music for tonight was a mixture of either hard edge Hardcore or a mixture of Thrash meets Hardcore and 1 band sounding like Meshuggah meet Korn was a little different. Anyway B.O.P. hit the stage and in a small stage they really did get the crowd going playing songs from the bands previous releases and form their current album 'Survival' released through Metal Blade. With roughly about 100 kids packed into a up stairs pub there were plenty of slamming and the band certainly got the crowd going. Songs played by B.O.P were: Final Nail, Rise Or Die, Behind Enemy Lines, Sons Of Dying Work, The State Of Mind, New Hate, Death In The City, Relentless, Hydrai, and Stop At Nothing. A great night and I just wish more band would come through our way, we really need bands here. I do however hope that B.O.P. will return one day to Hull. Check them out great live band full of energy.  

    London Islington Academy (UK) 25.2.10 

It was great to see the best Thrash band (Over Kill) again live, and it was a year ago since I last saw them at the same venue in London. Over Kill are the most  underrated band in the Thrash scene, forget Metallica and the big 4, these guys will blow any of them off or at least give them a run for their money. Tonight saw the likes of 4 band, but unfortunately I missed the opening band 'Cripper' from Germany as I was interviewing Bobby from Over Kill, but I did manage to capture a very cool British band under the name of 'Savage Messiah', a very interesting band featuring 4 Thrasher's from London which consisted of Dave Silver (lead vocals and lead guitar), Sy Taplin (lead guitar), Sasha Cron (bass) and drummer Ernie Nogara. The band recently released in the last year their debut album 'Insurrection Rising' through Plastic Head in the UK and from what I have heard on Myspace sounds pretty intense and interesting stuff. Mixing the likes of Exodus, Forbidden, Heathen, and maybe the likes of Evil Dead. Either way these guys totally rock, and I really would like to hear their debut album. For a young 4 piece they really are a talented act which certainly entertained the crowd and got the crowd moving. Songs played were: Spitting Venom, The Serpent Tongue of Divinity, In Absence of Liberty, Enemy Image (Dehumanization), He Who Laughs Last, Insurrection Rising. Check out this impressive young Thrash metal band out with their debut album. Next to hit the stage were 'Suicidal Angels' from Greece, formed in 2001 in Athens with members Nick Melissourgos (Vocals, Guitar), Orpheas Tzortzopoulos (drums) , Angelos Kritsotakis (bass), Panos Spanos (guitar) to which the band released their debut demo in 2002 titled 'United By Hatred' which was soon followed up by their 2nd demo 'Angels Sacrifice' in 2003 with a further 2 EP's and the bands debut album 'Eternal Domination' in 2007, which was released on Old School Metal Records. Now the band return with their 2nd album, their 1st for Nuclear Blast titled 'Sanctify The Darkness' in 2009. This album sees the band moving forward and is a pretty decent album, mixing the likes of Slayer, Sindrome, Evil Dead, Kreator, the music is pretty good but at times the music and vocals remain the same throughout the album. Live the band came across really well and certainly impressed the crowd with a mosh pit and plenty of thrashing around. This band went down pretty well with the Over Kill fans. Songs played were: Bloodthirsty, The Pestilence Of Saints, Inquisition, Lies, Mourning Of The Cursed, Dark Abyss (Your Fate Is Colored Black), Apokathilosis.

Last but not least was the mighty 'Over Kill', these New York/ Jersey thrashers really don't take any prisoners, so really have to be ready for a Over Kill show, because their set is so intense and powerful. Over Kill throughout the years have come a long way with their road been a up and down hill over the last 2 decades, but still the band manage to carry the flag for Thrash Metal. Since their debut album 'Feel The Fire' back in 85 the band were soon been noticed by such labels as Atlantic / Megaforce records and soon (in my opinion their best album) 'Taking Over'  87 was soon to follow. I remember see in the band supporting Helloween back in 97, what a show that was. Since the early days of the bands 1st 2 album the band have recorded a further 13 albums and 1 DVD. The bands latest offering 'Ironbound' on Nuclear Blast records is one of the bands finest releases since 'Horrorscope' in 91. Tonight I was really looking forward to the band that put the Thrash into Thrash Metal, just like me and a few 100 fans who attended were in for a real treat, playing songs from the new album classic tunes from the past and some rare songs off the bands debut album made this a night to remember. Bobby and the boys ripped the stage to fucking pieces and left the crowd wanting more, they are and will always be the best Thrash metal band in my opinion. Songs played were: The Green And Black, Rotten to the Core, Wrecking Crew, Battle, Hello From The Gutter, Feel The Fire, Ironbound, In Union We Stand, Bare Bones, Gasoline Dream, Over Kill, Bring Me The Night, Elimination, Nercoshine, Old School, Fuck You/Sonic Reducer. If you haven't seen the band yet or even heard their music and you're a Thrash Metal fan, well where the fuck you where you been hiding?  Over Kill have 1 thing to say to you and that's 'Fuck You', and to the fans who turn up at their shows, well the band says 'hello from the gutter, we've been expecting you!' Awesome show by the best, so fuck the rest!!

  &     Leeds 02 Academy  (UK)  18.2.10   

Having seen the band 'Europe' at last years Bloodstock festival I was very impressed with their performance, and there was no denying it that they were pretty much the highlight of the festival as far as headliners go. Last year I was really looking forward to see in the band live at the festival and now this time I was also looking forward more so to see in them in their own environment, something that had to be seen. Having only been the Leeds 02 before for Saxon/ Anvil I was wondering what kind of turn out the band would get, to which they had a impressive crowd attendance. It was kind of strange getting ready in the hotel before the show only to see them been interviewed on the local TV network, which was funny to watch. So when I met the band later on that evening I mention I had seen them on the local TV. Anyway back to the review, this was a night that so many old and new fans had been waiting for and like myself I was also looking forward to the show, and if it wasn't for John Norum's solo albums then I wouldn't be a fan of the band now, John Norum is a guitar god! Support act came from 'Diamond Head', a band who started out back in the early 80's who influence the likes of Metallica. Formed by Brian Tatler in 1976 along with Duncan Scott, recruited Sean Harris and eventually, Colin Kimberley. As so many bands change their line-up's 'Diamond Head' also went down the same road. The bands debut album 'White album' was released in 1980, which led a deal with MCA Records and their 2nd album 'Borrow Time' in 82 was the beginning of a successful career. Nowadays the only original member is Brian on guitar who has recruited Nick Tart (vocals), Karl Wilcox (drums), bassist Eddie Moohan and 2nd guitarist Abbz. Nick has a really strong voice and he certainly impressed with and I am sure he did the same with the rest of the crowd. Metallica as some of you will already be aware of are much influenced by this band in which they covered the song 'Am I Evil' on the 'Creeping Death' single, this must of giving Diamond Head a lift in their profile. I have only ever seen the band once before at Bloodstock indoor festival with Brian and original singer Sean Harris. I wasn't sure if Diamond Head would of been the ideal support act for Europe, but they did a really good job by winning some fans over and there certainly seemed to be a few fans of their own giving the band a helping hand. Songs played were: Intro/ It's Electric, Give it to Me, Alimony, Devil his Due, In the heat of the Night, Victim, Sucking my Love, Helpless and Am I evil. Impressive little set indeed. 

Next up was of course 'Europe' and as the band hit the stage the crowd hit the stage, the fans cheered and screamed as the light's went out and the intro started. It was certainly time for 'lights, camera, action!', as like Bloodstock the crowd gave them a overwhelming welcome to the stage. This band have come along way since the bands debut album back in 83 and with their most successful album 'The final Countdown' back in 86 which had more successful hits for the band than ever before. Joey, John, Mic, Ian and John have come along way since the days of their major label success, with the band breaking up in 92 only to be reformed back in 98 with the reunion show and later on in 2004 the band recorded their successful comeback album 'Start from the Dark in 2004. I think for me, after listening to the whole John Norum solo collection and Glenn Hughes 'From now On' (which featured Ian, Mic and John Leven) album has really made me become more of a fan now then ever before and I really do respect and appreciate the band more now. Joey and the boys played one hell of a awesome set which lasted about 1.30 playing new songs from the bands current album 'Last look at Eden' in 2009 as well as classic tunes from the bands past collection. They really are a fine live act and I really don't care if you like them or not, you can't deny how superb they are live and well John Norum is a guitar god. The crowd loved every minute of the show, just wish they played a 2 hour set but there you go!! Songs played that night were: Prelude, Last look at Eden, Love is not the Enemy, Superstitious (My favourite song), Gonna get Ready, Scream of Anger, No stone Unturned, Let the good times Rock, Carrie, Optimus (john Norum cover), Seventh Sign, New love in Town, Start from the Dark, Always the Pretender, Rock the Night, Only you can rock Me (UFO cover), The beast, and of course it wouldn't be a Europe gig without 'The final Countdown'. Awesome band live and I look forward to see in them live again soon and hearing more from this act. Now it's time for John Norum next solo album.

   &     Sheffield Corp (UK) 7.12.09  

Having Seen these 3 bands separately throughout the year, I was surprised to see them all being put on the same tour…We have a Old Style Melodic Metal Band in Edens Curse, A Brutal Death Punk Metal band in The Rotted and Headliners Alestorm, who by the name you can guess are a bunch of beer drinking pirates. To put these 3 together may seem a little crazy at first but ended up being a surprisingly great show.

First up were
Eden's Curse, a Multinational band to say the least, with every member being from a different country: Michael Eden (Vocals, USA), Paul Logue (Bass, Scotland), Thorsten Koehne (Guitars, Germany) Pete New deck (Drums, England) and Newcomer Alessandro Del Vecchio (Keys, Italy). Edens Curse play Melodic older style metal similar to anything you would find in the 80’s, and on record they do it well, with their Self titled debut album being one of my favourites of past years. Having seen them at Bloodstock earlier in the year, I wasn’t too impressed with them but I put this down to the tent set up as all the bands that played in it sounded awful. Having seeing them again in a proper gig environment I cant say my opinion of them has changed to greatly,  The sound didn’t do them justice for a start and I felt that Michael Eden at times seemed to lack enthusiasm in his performance, sometimes full lines from songs were missing and he looked a little uncomfortable when Instrumental solo’s were happening. The band themselves seemed  good at best , but Guitar Solo’s were Drowned out by the rest of the band, again this maybe down to set up but the bands that followed didn’t have this problem. Regardless of this the crowd that were watching seemed to give them a warm response which they were grateful for. All in all a little disappointing as on record Edens Curse are a great band to listen to. Songs included:  Eyes of the World,  Fly Away, Don’t Bring me Down, Masquerade Ball. Lost in Wonderland, Angels and Demons and a cover of the Steelheart ballad We All Die Young.

Next up were
The Rotted, who were obviously known as Gorerotted in previous years. I have to say they are quite a unique band to listen to, a mixture of Death Metal with a Punk attitude, having enjoyed their set at the Leeds Deathfest earlier in the year I was quite looking forward to seeing them again.  The crowd seemed to double in size when the Londoners hit the stage and  a decent sized mosh pit erupted. Mainman Ben McCrow is a great front man, getting the crowd hyped up and equally thanking them after every song. Other Members Tim Carley (Guitar), Nate Gould (Drums) and Reverend Trudgill (Bass) do an equally great job at backing him up, with tormenting riffs and some impressive drumming to say the least. I think like most bands of the Death Metal genre live, a lot of the songs can sound kind of similar but when you see how the crowd reacts to songs like “Angel of Meth” and “Nothin but a nosebleed” all is forgiven. 

Although the majority of the crowd had obviously come for the Headliners tonight as the crowd looked like a Pirate invasion, I think most enjoyed The Rotted without even knowing who they were, a great support choice even if on paper it shouldn’t work together. Songs included : Angel of Meth, Nothing but a Nosebleed, Get Dead or Die Trying, Kissing you with my Fists, Its like there’s a party in mouth (and everyone’s being sick) and Fear and loathing in Old London Town

After The Rotted Left the stage, '
Alestorm' a horde of fans dressed as pirates and wenches rushed to the front of stage in waiting of Scotsmen. Say what you will about them, there’s no doubt their popularity has somewhat skyrocketed over the past months, having seen them at Olivers Bar in Newcastle in March to maybe 100 people at most and now here with a few thousand. When Alestorm Eventually do hit the stage the crowd goes wild with the whole club turning into a mass of mosh pits and pirate dancing, it really is a sight to behold. The great thing about a band like this is that you can tell in their performance they actually enjoy whet they do, and yes they maybe a few notes missed and  not always in time but when your part of a crowd as mental as this, no one really cares. Vocalist/Keys Chris Bowes is a perfect front man for a band like this, a little crazy and gets the crowd going a right treat. 

Songs such as “Wenches and  Mead” “Famous old Spice” and even the mid paced “Nancy the Tavern Wench” have the crowd singing along like their life depended on it, but the real gem of the night was latest single “Keelhauled” opening with the foot tapping keyboard tune into a great almost dance like song, they played it to perfection with both Crowd and Band smiling from ear to ear. Guitarist Dani Evans  is maybe a little underrated I feel, some of the solos and guitar work I saw from him was of a greater standard then I think people know and he was a Hugh part in how good the performance was. All in all Alesorm’s Performance was second to none and they are definitely on the Cards to get even bigger. A great end to the year and I think the rest of the crowd thought so too. 

Songs they included were: The Quest, Famous old Spice, Keelhauled, Nancy the Tavern Wench, Over Seas, Captain Morgan’s Revenge,  Wenches and Mead,  Pirate Song, Wolves of the Sea, Hunt Master, Terror on the High Seas,  Leviathan,  Set Sail and Conquer, Black Sails at Midnight and No Quarter (Paul Brady)

      &      Leeds 02 Academy (UK)  10.11.09     

Tonight was a special night not only for Saxon fans and Anvil fans but for me it was a re-union to meet Anvil after a 28 year wait, which I first met Anvil back in 83 when they supported Motorhead on the 'No Remorse' tour in my home city. To finally meet Anvil once again was a special moment and to see Lips & Robb's faces when showing them the picture of us together in 83 when I was 12 yrs old was just amazing!! So as you can tell I was pretty hyped to see Anvil after 28yrs. Not to forget about the mighty Saxon and I don't care what anybody says about this band, they fucking rule!! This band have stood the test of time and still keep going strong just like myself, you can try to put the bands like Saxon down but they will be around till the next of their dying days just like Priest and Anvil, Motorhead etc.... There were tonight plenty of Saxon and Anvil fans to give both bands the support and warm welcome they both deserve.

Canadian Heavy/ Power Metal act 'Anvil' hit the stage to a warm welcome from young and old fans alike to show their support to one of the finest and most underrated acts of all time. With the band releasing their debut album 'Hard & Heavy' in the early 80's was just the beginning to a long hard road for the band and with such classic albums such as 'Metal On Metal' and 'Forged In Fire' were the bands most successful albums. The band continued on along the road to success and with the DVD 'The Story Of Anvil' has certainly given the band the uplift the so rightly deserve. With the thanks of Saxon taking the band on tour has also giving the band more success. The band played a 45 minute set of pure Canadian Metal which would capture the hearts of those old and new to their music. I myself was so impressed to see the band once again since their appearance at Download festival this year in the UK, that was the only reason I went to Download. Lips, Robb & G5 hit the stage to a screaming audience who from the start to the end wanted more, but only 45 minutes didn't really seem like a lot considering the back catalogue this band have. I missed the 1st band so I only saw Anvil and of course Saxon. Lips has this unusual way of playing his guitar, with the vibrator like back in the 80's and also talking to the crowd through his guitar picks up, strange but was funny to watch. Nevertheless, Anvil hit the stage and delivered a 45 minute set of pure Canadian metal to the messes and I have to say there are truly awesome live, very powerful and I can see why they have inspired and influenced so many metal bands. Set list included: March of the crabs, 666, School Love, Winged Assassins, Flying Blind, Forged In Fire, This Is Thirteen, Mothra, White Rhino, drum solo and Metal on Metal. Awesome and a band you must check out!!

Next was of curse 'Saxon', one of England's finest bands, like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, Sabbath, Motorhead they are the top 5 bands that every metal head must see before there too old or break up. Saxon have been around since the 70's but only really broke it into the UK charts in the early 80's and have continued to deliver quality British metal music ever since. There is no doubt that Saxon are totally underrated and deserve more respect in the UK this is something which I fully support. Classic albums such as 'Denim and Leather', ' Strong Arm of the Law', and later albums such as 'Crusader' , 'Metal Head', & now their stunning new album 'Into The Labyrinth' which sees the band ever moving forward. Still keep the traditional Saxon sound the band have moved forwards to a more European Power Metal feel, something which really works well for Saxon. Biff and the boys have my up most respect for been true to their music and also for taking Anvil on tour and giving those guys the break they so rightly deserve. I am sure Saxon fans alike will certainly agree with me on this. Playing a set lasting about 1 hour and a half which included Lips from Anvil performing 'Denim and Leather' on stage with Saxon was a great end to the tour. As always Saxon perform to the highest standard and never let the fans down, and you really need to check out Saxon if you have never seen them before. The set included: Battalions Of Steel, Heavy Metal Thunder, Dogs of War, Dallas 1p.m., Strong Arm of The Law, Travelers In Time, Power & Glory, Solid Ball of Rock, Backs To The Wall, Lion Heart, And The Bands Played on, Crusader, Wheels Of Steel, Live To Rock, Denim & Leather, 747 Strangers In The Night, Princess Of The Night. What an awesome show, a band you must see before it's too late, these guys aren't getting any younger!! Saxon are the metal crusaders that's for sure.

  & - Sheffield Corporation (UK) 30.10.09  

Well I really haven't been to a Death Metal gig in years, especially since I haven't seen Cannibal Corpse in about 10 years, so tonight was something special for me to catch up with old friend. I don't care what you say about Death metal, but the old school bands rule, always have and always will! Along side Cannibal Corpse are such classic bands like Death, Malevolent Creation, Morbid Angel, just to name a few. Tonight was s special gig for me, as I haven't seen them live in years, so I really had to check out 1 of my favourite Death metal bands and I certainly wasn't disappointed to say the least. Cannibal Corpse have gone from strength to strength and with several fine bloody cut albums behind them there is no stopping these guys of gore/ death metal. 

The first band I managed to catch live after interviewing Alex & Rob was 'Dying Fetus' from the U.S., another band who certainly are no strangers to the Death Metal scene. This 3 piece act play some pretty impressive and fine Death Metal which is technical and brutal with blast beats and also has some chuggy guitar riffs which makes their music pretty impressive. I have to admit I am not a great fan of blast beat death metal, and I do know how difficult is can be to play I much prefer the chugging riffs that C.C. do.

Dying Fetus have released 5 albums to date and since their debut album 'Purification Through Violence' in 96 the band have concisely grown with each album, and if you listen too their current album 'Descend Into Depravity' you can see how much the band have become more of a technical Death Metal act. 

Tonight, saw both C.C. and Dying Fetus play to a hungry full packed crowd of die hard death metal fans from the old school to the new breed of death metal kids. Yes, Dying Fetus received a overwhelming response from the crowd. Playing a 45 minute set of hard hitting death metal which left the fans hungry for the headliners Cannibal Corpse. Songs played by Dying Fetus were: Retribution, Your Treachery Will Die With You, Grotesque Impalement, Intentional Manslaughter, Justifiable Homicide, One Shot One Kill, Shepherd's Commandment, Pissing In The Mainstream, Kill You Mother Rape Your Dog, Praise the Lord.

Now it's time for the headliners, yes 'Cannibal Corpse', been 1 of the godfathers of Death Metal these guys just get better and better with each album and the band's current album 'Evisceration Plague' has to be the bands finest release, no doubt about it, it's just the perfect Death Metal album for 2009. I was really looking forward to checking out the band, to see how much the band have progressed in the last 10 yrs or so and I have to tell you they are certainly on top form. Since the band were formed back in 88 out of the ashes of 3 bands 'Leviathan' & 'Beyond Death' & 'Tirant Sin', only Leviathan were the only band to really be known on the Metal Forces compilation LP 'Scream Your Brain Out', which is extremely hard to find. Cannibal have had their fair share of line-up changes, Chris Barnes now with Six Feet Under, Jack Owen with Deicide, and Rob Barrett moving back and fourth from Malevolent Creation and Cannibal Corpse, the band have now a steady and powerful line-up with George Corpsegrinder on vocals, ex Monstrosity and former Nevermore guitarist Pat O'Brien to complete the bands line-up. 

I was really looking forward to this gig and as always C.C. never let the fans down with their heavy brand of Death Metal which not only carries speed but also a powerful chugging guitar riffs that certainly get your head banging too. I really can't fault C.C., there just amazing live, full of energy and power & the music speaks for itself. An hour or so of brutal death metal left everybody walking away in amazement. C.C. are 1 of the Death Metal Gods, no doubt about that. Songs played were: Evisceration Plague, The Time To Kill Is Now, Disfigured, Death Walks Terror, I Cum Blood, Fucked With A Knife, Sentenced To Burn, Evidence In The Furnace, The Wretched Spawn, Scalding Hail, Make Them Suffer, Pit Of Zombies, Vomit The Souls, Priests Of Sodom, Unleashing The Bloodthirsty, A Skull Full Of Maggots, Hammer Smashed Face & Stripped, Raped & Strangled. If you haven't seen C.C. live then your missing out on one of the finest Death Metal bands around. Fucking shredding metal!!

  The Lamp -  Hull (UK)   13th October 2009   

Malefice are a pretty new band and were formed back in 2003 in Reading, Berkshire (UK), with the band forming whilst at college, Dale Butler, Alex Vuskans, Craig Thomas, and later on met up with Tom Hynes and Ben Symons. The band played a show in their home city were they began to build a strong local fan basis and soon released a e.p. titled 'Relentless', which was soon released through 'Hangman's Joke' records. As of this, the band were soon releasing their debut album 'Entities', which was released through Anticulture records. The band now are signed to Metal Blade, the label who brought you Slayer back in the day, also helped Metallica with the 'Metal Massacre' CD's, as well as more up to date bands such as 'Cannibal Corpse', 'As I Lay Dying' etc... The band released their new CD 'Dawn Of Reprisal' in 2009, which is doing remarkably well and of recent the band are supporting Devil Driver within the UK in October/ November 2009. Tonight, well this was a warm up gig for the forthcoming tour, a little taster for Hull, a nice pleasant surprise. Last time we had a decent band in Hull was 'As I Lay Dying' in 2008. Anyway, the band played only a 35 minute set, as there were 2 other support bands which I didn't get a chance to see, but I heard they were pretty good local acts. Malefice however, play a mixture of Meshuggah, As I Lay Dying, Strapping Young Lad, Soilwork, which really does work well for the band. Ok, so the turn out wasn't great, but that's Hull for you!! Nevertheless, the band played a head ripping set which included: AS I Bleed, Midas Effect, Risen Through The Ashes, An Architect Of Your Demise, Sickened, Embers Ignite, Hatred Justified, Dreams Without Courage. A promising band, I do hope they return to Hull, as the word can only get out and hopefully more people will turn out next time. Check out the bands new album. In the meantime, check out the band on tour throughout the UK now as well as their Myspace page.


    Catton Hall - Derby (UK)  14 - 16th August 2009    

Yes another has past since the 2008 open air of Bloodstock, this festival has been going for the last 9 years now and I can remember going to the first one at the Assembly rooms also in Derby (UK). Over the years the festival has grown just like Friday 13th, and still supporting the underground metal scene. Well from what I can rather next year is their 10th anniversary, so expect to see a few bigger names, so far confirmed are: Rage, Obituary, Ross The Boss (ex Manowar). Well this year in 2009 saw a 3 day festival of good weather and very little rain which is an added bonus. Arriving Thursday it was time to set up the tents and get ready to party with karaoke metal and plenty of beer, well cider in my case. Next morning was a bright and early start so let the metal mayhem beginning, read on metal heads!!! 

14th Friday:

Well the first band to hit the stage and open the festival was 'Million $ Reload', a band that have seemed to become rather popular of recent and as the crowd were pumped up this band certainly got the crowd up and running playing a groovy style of Hard Rock/ Sleaze which reminded me of across  between Thunder, The Black Crows, with a hint of AC/DC a good combination to set the whole festival up and running. They really did a great job I can't deny that, a good crowd pleaser to say the least. Promoting their debut album ''Anthems of a Degeneration', which is a album worth checking out. Songs that the band played were: Fire your guns, Goodnight New York, Freeloader, Livin in the city, Give it all, Killing Ghosts, Superslave. Phil's vocals remind me of across between Faster Pussycat meets Bon Scott. If you haven't already seen the band live and you like the hard rock/ southern feel then check out Million $ reload. Next up to hit the stage after an impressive set me the above was 'Imsominium', a band from Scandinavia playing a cross between Viking and Black/ Death Metal seems to be a big thing right now with the kids of today. Hailing from Finland the band signed to UK label Candlelight and released their debut album in 2001. These 4 guys seem to be pretty well known and respected with the metal scene and playing a head ripping set just showed the crowd what they were made of. High energy Scandinavian metal seemed to go down well which left the crowd wanting more in the form of such bands to follow like Enslaved. Songs that this band played were: The Gale, Mortal Share, Where The Last Wave Broke, Daughter of the Moon, The Killjoy, Drawn to Black, Devoid of Caring, Weighed Down With Sorrow. Some the bands music has hints of such bands as Mercenary, In Flames, so if you're a fan of these bands then I am sure this band would appeal to you. 

Next to hit the stage was 'Blitzkrieg', a name that old school metal heads like myself should really know about, been around since the early to mid 80's and releasing albums through Neat records (Venom) saw the band influencing the likes of Metallica 'Blitzkrieg', found on their 'Creeping Death' single. These boys from Newcastle proved that they still can play with the best,  playing old and new songs. The only original member left is Brian Ross, who has continued to carry the flag for the band. I know a lot of kids at the festival were so looking forward to see in the band, especially with the band about to play the song 'Blitzkrieg', it sort of give the kids an idea to what the original version is all about, never mind the Metallica version. The band received a good response from the crowd playing their old school metal mixed with hints of a modern power metal feel to their music. Songs played were: The Phantom, Dark City, Theater Of The Damned,  My Life Is My Own, Escape From The  Village, Blitzkrieg. All in all a good old school band still playing what they do best. Next band I caught live after a break was U.S. Thrashers 'Municipal Waste', signed to Earache Records, these old school thrashers are really making a name for themselves within the underground metal scene. I keep hearing about this band from kinds of metal heads asking to check them out, so I guess it was about I did so and this was the perfect place to see such a band. If like me, you're into the old school Thrash scene then this band is pretty much what you would expect to hear and like. There are two bands that come to mind when I hear this band, they been: Evil Dead & Sacred Reich, musically S.R and for the vocals it has to be Evil Dead. I think when I told the band who I thought they sounded like they were very pleased and surprised. Yeah these crazy fuckers really got the crowd going and turned the place into 1 shit storm. Plenty of moshing and thrashing as these guys delivered 1 hell of a awesome set, ripping through the stage like a crazy tornado, the crowd obviously loved their music. I was impressed to say the least, so here's a set list of thrashing tunes the band played:  Mind Eraser, Head banging face rip, The thrashin of Christ, Thrashing is my business, Terror shark, Wrong answer, Sadistic magician, Black ice, Beer Pressure (Broke the Guinness World Record for largest number of crowd surfers during one song), I Want to Kill the President (Lyrics changed to) "I Want To Chill With The President" for Obama, Unleash the bastards, Blood drive, Acid sentence, The Inebriator, Bangover. Well what can 1 say after the crazy munch of fuckers left the stage? 

Next up was 'Katatonia', were next to hit the stage, with this band playing their brand of Goth, Metal, Rock which in their case seems to work pretty well. They remind me of across between Type O Negative, The Gathering, and kind of vocals like Fear Factory when clean, and at times there pretty mellow with their music and at other times they do manage to capture the Scandinavian feel that so many bands out of that way sound. The crowd were very pleased with their performance, and songs played were: Consternation, Soils Song, Teargas, Dead house, Ghost Of The Sun, My Twin, July, Evidence, Murder. Not too bad, but a little too slow for me at times. Next up was German Godfathers of Thrash 'Sodom', like Kreator and Destruction, these 3 bands have influenced so many acts around the world and fans alike. Sodom career started in the early 80's with Tom Angelripper been the only original member left. Sodom have seen line-up come and go like so many bands but have also stood the test of time with their aggressive form of Thrash Metal. Their label SPV have pretty much stood by the band throughout their career. With a good career behind them, Tom and the boys still manage to deliver hard edge Thrash Metal the way the German's intended it to be, certainly not for the faint hearted. Playing a 45 minute set of awesome Thrash, Sodom left the stage with the crowd wanting more. Shame they didn't really, but here's the songs they played: Napalm In The Morning, Surfin' Bird, Outbreak Of Evil, City Of God, The Saw Is The Law, Agent Orange, Blasphemer, Obsessed, M16 Play, Sodomy & Lust, Remember The Fallen. Sodom like Kreator and Destruction are the 3 pioneers of the German Thrash movement, awesome Thrash at it's best!! Next to hit the stage was the mighty 'Saxon', no introduction here required, after all Saxon are like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden up their hailing the flag for Britain. Starting out under the name of 'Son Of A Bitch' back in the 70's Biff and the boys have continued to up hold the tradition of the N.W.O.B.H.M. that is second to none. Over the years Saxon have updated their style mixing the classic Saxon sound with a modern European Power Metal feel which comes close to that of Primal Fear etc.. and mixes extremely well. Saxon for me are one of the finest and underrated bands to come out of the UK and like myself been a fan there were plenty more fans out there ready to watch Saxon at Bloodstock once again. As this is the 1st time the band have played the open air version it was great to see them outdoors. Biff, Nibbs, Paul, Doug and Nigel delivered one hell of an awesome 1hr set which really should of been the head liners to be fair. Nevertheless, Saxon hit the stage, delivered a powerful head banging set of their classic tunes as well as some new songs too. Follow Saxon and become a crusader of real British Heavy Metal. Songs played were: Battalions Of Steel, Heavy Metal Thunder, Demon Sweeney Todd, 747 (Strangers In The Night), Let Me Feel Your Power, Crusader, And The Bands Played On, Wheels Of Steel, Live To Rock, Princess of The Night, Denim & Leather. 

Next to hit the stage was Sweden's pretty much finest extreme metal act 'Arch Enemy', with the band been around for a number of years and releasing several albums and 2 live DVD's . There something about this band that appeal to me, I think it has to be the unique twin guitar riffs and solo of bothers Chris and Mike Amott, 2 fine musicians. Not to forget about Angela's sick and insane voice, Daniel's impressive drumming and Sharlee's ripping bass riffs make this band one of the best Swedish extreme acts. Well Arch Enemy are no strangers to Bloodstock, having played there 2 yrs ago the band are proving they still have what it takes. Playing a 75 minute set the band played some of their finest material old and new and set the stage alight. From start to finish the band ripped into some heavy yet melodic tunes which included: Blood on Your Hands, Ravenous, Taking Back My Soul, Dead Eyes, See No Future, My Apocalypse, The Immortal, Revolution Begins, Drums Solo, I Will Live Again, Burning Angel, Guitar Solos, Dead Bury Their Dead, We Will Rise, Snowbound, Nemesis, Fields of Desolation. Great band with some kick ass tunes, check them out!! Joining Arch Enemy as co-headliners, was British  Death Metal/ Grindcore act 'Carcass', formed by ext Napalm Death guitarist Bill Steer, along with Jeff Walker (bass/ vocals) and drummer Ken Owen. The band released 2 albums with this line-up before introducing now Arch Enemy Mike Amott to the band and the band had risen to higher standards. With the classic album 'Heart Work', still their finest release the band recorded their final album 'Swan Song' in 96. Well how times have changed, the band have returned for re-union shows thought out Europe and the rest of the world, a chance for the youngsters to catch the band live at last. Yeah I was excited to see the band since the 'Heart Work' tour, so tonight was a night of good old memories. Joining Jeff, Bill, Mike was Daniel from Arch Enemy on drums and also Ken Owen (original drummer) to the set. Ken unfortunately isn't well after suffer illness for some time but still he managed to get up on stage and play a drum solo (bless him). Carcass are a fine band and I just wish the band would record a new album in the very near future. Explosive set from a fine UK band playing a 75 minute set, which included: Corporeal Jigosre Quandary, Buried Dreams, Carnal Forge, No Love Lost, Empathological Necroticism, Incarnated Solvent Abuse, Edge Of Darkness, This Mortal Coil, Embodiment, Embodiment, Keep On Rotten, Genital Grinder, Rotten To The Gore, Death Certificate, Exhume To Consume, Ruptured In Purulence, Heartwork, Carneous Cacoffiny. Kick ass fucking metal!! Well the show had ended for the night, just a few beers before bed and another metal day ahead.

Saturday 15th:

Well another day breaks and it's time to head to the main stage to check out my 1st band of the day, this been 'Battlelore', this band hails from Finland, with the band been based on J.R.R. Tolkien's ' Middle Earth'. Mixing female vocals with harsh male vocals is across between beauty and the beast. Their music is a mixture of Gothic, Folk, Power, and with hints of Death Metal seem to jell well. These guys are becoming rather popular and today the crowd loved their set of the mixture of music that they play. Bloodstock seems to have a lot of Folk/ Viking style of music, I just wish there was more Power Metal. Anyhow, 7 members in all in this band, which could be as almost as many as Slipknot members but the band seemed to do an impressive set which is certainly loved by the Bloodstock crowd. With 5 albums released this band certainly do mean business. The set list was: Storm Of Blades, Third Immortal, We Are the Legions, House Of Heroes, The Great Gathering, Sons Of Riddermark, Journey To Undying Lands. Next to hit the stage was 'Wolf', a 3 piece band in the beginning from Sweden who released 5 albums on Massacre records but are now signed to Century Media. Formed in Örebro, Sweden.  in 1995, and has has toured with the likes of Saxon, Tankard, and Trivium. With original singer Niklas Stalvind who also plays the guitar pushing the band ever forward. Wolf play the classic Heavy Metal sound mixed with a modern Power Metal, across between Saxon, Accept, Judas Priest, with the likes of Primal Fear which really does work for the band. Throughout their career the band are now becoming a steady and powerful unit. The band now consists of ex Tad Morose bassist Anders Modd, along with Johannes Losback, Richard Holmgren. The band like Arch Enemy are no strangers to Bloodstock, also playing 2 yrs ago. There set this time around consisted of: Speed On, The Bite, Hail Caesar, Voodoo, Genocide, Evil Star. Great Power Metal more at Bloodstock please!! With the band releasing 5 albums there is no stopping this band now, their current release 'Ravenous' is hitting the charts and the band are making waves within the metal scene. Their come back in October to the UK should see the band claiming more fans. Next up was 'The Haunted', formed by ex At The Gates and ex Seance members. The Haunted have been around now for a few years too and also hail from Sweden,  maybe Bloodstock  should be called 'Scandiestock' or 'Swedstock', only joking. But here certainly are a few bands from Scandinavia who play this festival. Formed in Gothenburg (Sweden) in 96 when brothers Jonas and Anders Bjorler met formed Witchery guitarist Patrik Jensen to form what is now known as 'The Haunted'. The band were soon signed to Earache records & their debut album was the light in 98. The bands current line-up is Peter Dolving (vocals) Per Moller Jensen (ex Invocator) as well as the 2 brother. Both Jonas and Anders have played Bloodstock 08 with At The Gates, so like some of the previous bands mentioned there no strangers to this festival. Playing a classic set which included: Little Cage, The Drowning, Trespass, The Flood, The Medication, Moronic Colossus, 99, Trenches, Dark Int, Bury Your Dead. 

Next up was 'Entombed', another Swedish metal act that like At The gates are the pioneers of the Swedish Death Metal movement. These 2 acts have influenced so many bands like In Flames, Children Of Bodom, The Haunted, and so many more. The such classic albums like 'The Left Hand Path' which was released through Earache, saw the beginning of a new bred of Swedish metal that still remains to this day. The only original members left are Lars Goran Petrov (vocals) and Alex Hellid (guitar), whom have managed to keep the spirit of the band alive. With the band promoting their current album 'Serpent Saint' which was released in 2007. Well today was pretty much owned to Sweden, as like The Haunted, Entombed delivered a powerful hard hitting set of pure Swedish Thrash/ Death Metal they way it was intended. 40 minutes set of pure powerful metal, sorry I don't know their material so there's no set list for these guys. 

Next up was 'Candlemass', one of the survives of Doom Metal, along side Black Sabbath, Trouble and now Down, Candlemass they survived the test of time. Formed in 85 in Sweden by bassist Leif Edling, who has managed to keep the band going from strength to strength. Like all bands, especially trouble, Candlemass have had their fare share of bad luck, slip ups and members leaving the band. There line-up is almost the original line-up minus Messiah Marcolin (vocals) who is now replaced by Solitude Aeturnus singer Robert Lowe (Wolf). Robert is a  powerful singer and a good choice for the band, but it will be hard to beat Messiah's vocals. These guys played a awesome set of heavy slow but very energetic Doom Metal. Another 40 minute set of Sabbath feel of metal made the day break up with a different feel to the day. With the band promoting 'Death Magic Doom', the band are in fine spirit. Songs played were: Emperor Of The Void, Samrathian, If I Ever Die, Hammer Of Doom, At The Gallows End, Solitude, Kill the King (Rainbow Cover). Next up is 'Enslaved' Norwegian Viking/ Black Metal, another band who have inspired a lot of Black Metal band and kids world-wide, I guess you could say their Progressive Black metal but they still carry that Viking Metal feel. To be honest there not as bad as I thought they would be, considering I am not a fan of Black Metal. They kind of remind me of Opeth, Bathory. Formed in 91 by Ivar Bjornson & Grutle Kjellson who are still within the band, and keeping the flame of the band alive. Their early albums were released through French label Osmose, who were known for signing extreme Black Metal acts. These guys were welcomed by the Bloodstock crowd and they played the set of: Intro/ To the coast, Fusion of sense and earth, Ruun, As fire swept clean the earth, Ground, The Watcher, ISA. German thrasher's 'Kreator' were about the leash their fury of extreme Thrash Metal, a band that like Sodom & Destruction have inspired fans and band wolrd-wide these guys really don't take prisoners as if you saw them at Bloodstock then you would of seen why. If you have seen them live then you will know what to expect, brutality!! Where do you begin with such a band like Kreator? Well Mille and Ventor are the original members left since the days when they formed back in 82 under the name of 'Tormentor', soon to change of course. Such albums as 'Pleasure To Kill', 'Endless Pain', 'Extreme Aggression' would change the world for ever!! The band played a ripping head banging set of pure heaviness lasting 45 minutes. Sami Yli-Sirno (guitar) ex Walteri and bassist Christian Giesler were on top form, playing such a awesome set which included: Choir Of The Damnedintro, Hordes Of Chaos (A Necrologue For The Elite), Phobia, Enemy f God, Pleasure To Kill, The Patriarch, Violent Revolution, Extreme Aggression, Coma Of Souls. 

Next up was 'Apocalyptica', playing their unique style of Metal with only Cello's, and drums. No vocals mind you expect for 1 or 2 songs from their albums, mainly sung by guests. These Finnish consist of 4 musicians playing covers by Metallica, Sepultura, David Bowie, and a few other cover tunes. I have to admire these guys for playing something different even though I don't think i could listen to a full album in full. The crowd loved them and they went down a storm, great musicians to say the least. Songs played were: Wherever I May Roam, Refuse/Resist, Grace, Fight Fire With Fire, One, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Betrayal/Forgiveness, Bittersweet, Last Hope, Seek & Destroy, Inquisition Symphony, Enter Sandman, Hall of the Mountain King. Next up was 'Blind Guardian', German Power Metal act with hints of Folk thrown in are very popular throughout Europe, and with a history going back to mid 80s when the band were formed. The band released their debut album 'Battlions Of Fear' in 88 through No Remorse records, the band recorded a further 2 more albums with that label before signing to Virgin records. Later on with Nuclear Blast. Their latest release A Twist Of Myth' is selling well and is also gather new fans along the way. The 3 original members Hansi, Andre, Marcus have kept the band alive and strong all these years. Blind Guardian are no strangers to Bloodstock, playing here at the indoor festival many years ago it was certainly time to have them back as co-headliners. Playing a set of 75 minutes they played a awesome set of pure Power Metal which included: Time stands still, Another holy war, Nightfall, The script for my requiem, Fly, The quest for Tanelorn, Valhalla, Sacred, Lord of the rings, Imaginations from the other side, Bard´s song, Mirror, mirror. Great band. 

Last but not least were 'Cradle Of Filth', one of the premier Black Metal bands who have inspired many people world-wide within the Black Metal scene. Having supported Cradle in 1 of my old bands many years ago 1990, it was good to see how they have progressed. Many fans were excited to see Dani and the boys play this festival, but for 1 narrow minded wanker they set was cut short due to the fact that somebody decided to throw something at the stage and injure guitarist Paul early on in the bands set and was rushed to hospital. This was a disappointing night for the band and fans alike, I just wonder if they caught the dick who did it and beat the shit out of him? before this happened, the band hit the stage to a dark atmospheric stage and delivered a pretty impressive set. I have to say Dani isn't by far my favorite singer, but still manages to scream his little lungs out. Songs played were: Shat Out Of Hell, Gilded C**t, Dusk & Her Embrace, The 13th Caesar, Nymphetamine, The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh, Honey & Sulphur, Under Huntress Moon. Well that was Saturday over. 

Sunday 16th:

Another day and any head banging full filled day of metal to the max. First band of the day of me was 'Sabaton', these 5 guys from Sweden are starting to make a name for themselves both here and in Europe. Formed back in 1999 the band have recorded 5 CDs, most of which were recorded by Hypocrisy guitarist Peter Tagtgren. The band consist of Joakim Broden (vocals), Rikard Sunden (guitar), Oskar Montellius (guitar), Par Sundstrom (bass), Daniel Mullback (drums), and keyboardist Daniel Myhr. I really didn't know how popular these guys really were until I saw them here in the UK. This style of Power Metal with symphonic roots is extremely popular and to be honest I am not really into this style of metal, it just all sounds the same, Stratovarius style metal, way too many of them sounding the same and Sabaton are another band that fall into that category. Great musicians don't get me wrong but the songs remain the same. The crowd love and enjoyed them so they can't be that bad. Songs played were: Ghost Division, The Art Of War, Cliffs Of Gallipoli, Primo Victoria, Metal Machine / Metal Crüe. Next up was British female rocker's 'Girlschool', a band that you really should know been if it's just the name and the fact that they tour and have recorded with Motorhead. Kim McAuliffe (vocals/ guitar), Denise Dufort (drums), and Enid Williams (bass/ vocals) are the only original members left and with the death of Kelly Johnson took the band down a narrow and winding road. 

The band have also recruited guitarist Jackie Chambers since 2000. These girls really do deserve the respect for keeping the flame alive for female rock and metal bands world-wide. Since the release of their debut album 'Demolition' in 1980 the band have progressed and hit singles world-wide. The band are currently promoting 'Legacy' which was released in 2008. Well for a early start and a performance that had to be beaten after Sabaton was going to be pretty hard, but was it? These girls hit the stage and played a ripping 40 minute set playing some of their finest hits and some new tunes too. Set list included: C'mon Let's Go, Not For Sale, Hit & Run, I Spy, Screaming Blue Murder, Coming At You, Everything, Race With The Devil, Demolition Boys, Emergency. 

Next up was yet another British band this been 'Anathema', Liverpool based band have been around for a while now since the 90's and were signed to Peaceville Records back in the day. Like My Dying Bride, Anathema were also put into the category of the Doom style of Metal and were pretty popular back then. Since then I really didn't even know the band were still around until I heard they were playing Bloodstock. These guys recruited formed Cradle Of Filth drummer Nick Barker to stand in for the drumming position on the day and as also Nick came up trumps filling in at last minute. Songs played were: Fragile Dreams, Empty, Deep, A Natural Disaster, Sleepless, A Dying Wish, Phantom of the Opera (Iron Maiden). Next up was 'Moon Spell', these guys from Portugal have been around since the mid 90's mixing Black Metal with Gothic Metal seem to jelly well and after 17yrs and still going strong must be saying something for the band. The band signed to Century Media and released their debut album 'Wolf Heart' in 1995. This was just the beginning to what is still going strong. 8 albums later the band return with their latest release 'Night Eternal'.

It was good to see the band again after the 'Wolf Heart' tour when they supported Morbid Angel, so I was curious to see how the band had progressed. They certainly seem to have a pretty good following here in the UK, and the Black/ Gothic Metal thing seems to really mix well together. Fernando and the boys played an impressive set and left the stage with the crowd been impressed and excited. Songs played were: At Tragic Heights, Night Eternal, Finisterra, The Southern Deathstyle, Opium, Blood Tells, Vampiria, Alma Mater, Full Moon Madness. 

Next up was 'Amon Amarth', Swedish Viking/ Death Metal, a band who are extremely popular with the kids of today and with the metal scene alike. Having supported the likes of Slayer the band are becoming one of the new god of Swedish metal, and with 8 albums under their belt does really say something about this band. I have never been a fan of the Viking Metal thing but the kids of today really do enjoy this style of music. Having seen the band at Wacken in 2006 they really did put on a great show with a Viking battle on stage. Today at Bloodstock was not so battle influenced but they played one hell of a storming set which lasted 1 hour. Since 92 the bad have certainly come a long way building a popular fan base world-wide. Songs played were: Twilight of the Thunder God, Free Will Sacrifice, Asator, Varyags of Miklagaard, Runes To My Memory, Guardians of Asgaard, Live for the Kill, Victorious March, The Pursuit of Vikings, Cry of the Black Birds, Death in Fire. These guys meant business and they brewed up one hell of a storm, a storm which I am sure Odin would be proud of. 

Next up was 'Satyricon', Norwegian Black Metal, a band who are no strangers to the Black metal scene, having supported Pantera in the past must of given the band a massive boost for their fan bases. With the release of their debut album 'Dark Medieval Times' released in 93 on Moonfog records the band have come along way and now signed to Roadrunner records. With 7 albums released the band have like Enslaved, Cradle Of Filth, Immortal, Bathory etc.. influenced so many new bands and fans alike. This was the 1st time I had seen the band live and they are very popular here in the UK and they went down a storm like Amon Amarth, yeah they were impressive for a Black metal band. Songs played were: Commando, The Wolfpack, Now, Diabolical, Black Crow On A Tombstone, The Pentagram Burns, Den Siste, K.I.N.G., Fuel For Hatred, Mother North. Next for me was 'Eden's Curse', who played the Sophie Lancaster stage, these melodic rockers hail from various parts  of Europe, & the UK which also feature U.S. singer Michael Eden. The band have recorded 2 albums to date and are signed to AFM records. Bassist Paul Logan and Mike started the band and their debut album which is self titled is a pretty impressive album that the band were to soon record their follow up album 'The Second Coming' which saw the band supporting Firewind and Stratovarius earlier this year here in the UK. I was looking forward to see in the band live and for s small stage the band played an impressive set even though the sound wasn't great, it was too loud for such a small stage. They deserved a better sound, something the sound man didn't have a clue about. A strong message was given out by Michael about the name of the stage, after Sophie Lancaster was killed because she looked different and was set up upon by thugs and was killed. He really touched a lot of people who were watching the band with his message. So that is why the stage was named after her. A good band who will return to the UK soon. Songs played were:  Masquerade Ball, Just Like Judas, Fly Away, Lost In Wonderland, Don't Bring Me Down, Sail On, Angels & Demons. 

Last but no least were headliners 'Europe', a band that have had tons of success in the 80's and with the song 'The Final Countdown' hitting the charts world-wide this song made their trademark. These Swedish rocker's played a storming set and I was concerned about the mix feeling I thought they would have at this festival with them not been a heavy band like the previous acts that had played this year. In fact Europe pretty much stole the show with Arch Enemy. I was really looking forward to see in the band live and I tell you they were awesome and yeah the crowd loved them, especially when they finished with 'The Final Countdown', which saw the whole crowd jumping up and down and singing along, now that's what I call a end to any party!! With the release of their new album 'Last Look At Eden' just been released the band hit the stage to play a hour or so set which included their hits and 1 new songs from the last album. Joey and the boys played a spectacular set which left the crowd wanting more and with a encore made the festival end with a bang. Great band which I highly recommend live and would like to see back at Bloodstock. Songs played were: Last Look At Eden, Love Is Not the Enemy, Superstitious (my favourite song), Scream of Anger, Sign of the Times, Always The Pretenders, Girl From Lebanon, Sevens Doors Hotel, Let The Good Times Rock, Optimus, Seventh Sign, Start From the Dark, Ready Or Not, Rock The Night, The Gateway Plan and The Final Countdown. Well what a great festival and a great year. Rock on next year!! Metal for ever!!!

,   Bang Your Head Festival  -  26 - 27th June  2009    

Well this was my first time at the famous 'Bang Your Head' festival in southern Germany, a place called Balingen  close to Stuttgart. I was excited to be going to the festival and been the UK's ambassador was an honor. Traveling from the UK was a complete fucking nightmare, well KLM airlines really fucked my luggage up, leaving me to spent a further 60 Euros for a new rook sack, after they destroyed mine on the way to Germany (idiots!). Anyway I wasn't going to let them spoil my trip and on arrival I met some cool German metal heads along the way to made me feel welcome and we had a blast, Cheers Rene, Stefan and the crew!! After a long day of traveling I was glad to be at the camp site and ready for a good drink and that's what I did!! Arriving on the 25th and the Friday 26th was a day to remember. This is truly a great festival and I hope to be back in 2010, in the meantime please check out the review and support this cool festival!!

Friday 26th:

A warming Friday morning was ahead and warming in the afternoon. Most people at 9am were still asleep after a heavy nights partying at the 'Metal Camp', but I really wanted to be there for the opening act who were 'Hatstik', a 3 piece act from Reutlingen (Germany), who won a band contest. The band consist of Maroin (vocals and guitar), Sven (drums) and bassist Niko. Not heard anything from this act before I wasn't sure what to expect, but with a reasonable gather of people they seemed to get the attention of the few that were out at 10am. The band seem to play a modern style of  metal, more directed towards the newer style, maybe not my cup of tea as they seemed to be directed towards the shouting cross over style of metal. The band do however have an album released titled 'The Way Beyond Help', which I am sure will do good by the right sort of crowd. I am not convinced there were on the right festival bill to be honest. Songs that they played were: Gone Away, The Reason Why, Footsteps, GO!, Broken Hope, Deep Black Hole, Through My Eyes Again, Watch Out. If you like the likes of Paradise Lost, Type O Negative then I'm sure this band would be up your street.

 Next to hit the stage were Scottish Metal act 'Alestorm', a band whom seem to be making a name for themselves. I really didn't  know anything about this band until I saw them at Bloodstock festival last year. I was surprised to see so many pirate flags within the crowd, and I was kind of hoping the same would of happened in Germany. Unfortunately the German's didn't seem to follow the footsteps of the English, shame really!! Anyway back to Alestorm, this band have had some positive reviews world-wide and some decent support acts with the likes of Grave Digger and many more.. I have to admit that Alestorm do some wicked album covers, there just great!! Well these 4 guys are now promoting their current album 'Black Sails At Midnight', which was released in 2009 is a great album, nice melodic riffs and a great production. The band consist of Chris Bowes (vocals & keyboards), Dani Evans (guitar), Ian Wilson (drums) and bassist Gareth Murdock. Playing an impressive set of 40 minutes from 10.50 in the moring the band played the following songs: The Quest, Leviathan, Famous Ol' Spiced, Nancy The  Tavern Wench, Wenches and Mead,  Pirate Song, Keelhauled, Capatain Morgans Revenge. Oh Orr me hearties!! Next to hit the stage was a young band that I have never heard of until now, this been a young German metal band with a average age of between 17-19 yrs old and I wasn't sure what to expect from this lot, but I have to say I was really surprised with their playing abilities and attitude. This band is called 'Kissin Dynamite', a great up and  coming band playing classic metal with a singer who look so young but has an incredible strong voice makes this band well worth listening too. Yeah there's a certain degree of German heavy metal in their music, but there is the likes of Judas Priest, The Scorpions, Dream Evil, Skidrow, Gamma Ray in their music and it all seems to jell well together and I feel with the right push this band could become pretty big. The band consist of Hannes (vocals), Andi (drums), Steffen (bass), Ande (guitar), Jim (guitar). A great band well worth looking out for, and here's the set list the band played: intro, My Religion, I Hate Hip hop, Out in the Rain, Steel of Swabia, Zombie, Iron Fist, Let's get freaky, Ready steady thunder, Addicted to metal, Welcome to the Jungle. Next to hit the stage was the mighty 'Ross The Boss, formerly known for his work with Manowar back in the bands early stages, who recorded such albums as 'Hail To England', 'Into Glory Ride' etc... Ross left the band and recorded his solo album and after which was never heard off until now. Ross still lives in New York and his band come from Germany. His current line up consist of: Patrick Fuchs (vocals & guitar), Carsten Kettering (bass), Matthias Mayer (drums). The band was formed back in 2008 and were soon picked up by AFM Records (Doro/ U.D.O.) and their debut album 'New Metal Leaders', which is an impressive album mixing the old Manowar style of metal with the likes of Primal Fear style of modern metal. Vocalist Patrick sounds close to that of Eric Adams in some ways but still manages to keep his own identity, a strong and powerful singer. As a 4 piece the band play their music well which is strong and powerful Power Metal. 

It was good to see such a well known name make a comeback with a great reception from the crowd. Songs played are: I.L.H. (intro), Blood Of Knives, Death & Glory, Death Tone, Gloves Of Metal, We Will Kill, May The Gods Be With You, Immortal Son, Thor (The Power Head), Hail And Kill. Welcome back Ross The Boss!! Next to hit the stage were one of  Canada's finest metal acts from the 80's, 'Voi-Vod', the band who have their unique sound and style, and could appeal to the acquired taste mixing old school Thrash with Punk elements. With the band returning to the almost original line-up, minus Piggy  (R.I.P.), Dennis, Away and Blacky, the  band also features new guitarist Dan Mongrain (Martyr). With the band releasing their debut album on Roadrunner 'War & Pain' in 84 the band soon received some excellent reviews for their debut album and was soon followed up by 'Rrroooaaarrr' through Noise/ Modern Music, were the band stayed for such albums as 'Killing Technology' 87 and later albums were recorded such as 'Nothing Face' 89 and now 'Infini' in 2009. rest assure the band are back and still going strong. The band played an impressive set to a bunch of die hard Vio-Vod fans.

Next up was Irish 'Primordial', whom seem to be  making a name for themselves with their Folk, Celtic, mixed with Metal. According to their biography, the band started out in the late 80s, but never really took it seriously until 91. You could say the band have some elements to that of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and maybe Skyclad. The band signed to Metal Blade records and released 'To The Nameless Dead'. The bands current line-up consist of: Alan A Nemtheanga (vocals), Ciaran MacUilliam (guitar), Simon O'Laoghaire (drums), Michael O'Floinn (guitars), Pol Macamlaigh (bass). An interesting band to watch and made the festival have a variety of styles of music. Songs played were: Empire Falls, As Rome Burns, Gods To The Godless, The Coffin Ships, Heathen Tribes, Sons Of The Morrigan. A band worth a listen and seemd to go down well with the European crowds. Next up was 'Sacred Reich', these U.S. Thrasher's have made a name for them selves back in the 80's when the band released their finest album, their debut 'Ignorance' back in 1987. The band were formed back in Arizona in 85 with members Phil Rind (vocals/ bass), Wiley Arnett (guitars), Jason Rainey (guitars) and Greg Hall (drums). The band went on to record their mini CD 'Surf Nicaragua' in 88 and a European tour with Forbidden was soon set. The band went onto record several more albums before the band broke up in 2000. Seven years later the band reform to play several dates including Wacken Open Air and more dates. The band however still claim they will not record a new album which is a crying shame as these guys fucking rock!! See in the band live again after a 12 grab 1997 Dynamo Open Air was the last time I saw these guys live, so it was great to see and meet them once again! The crowd at BYH were certainly hungry to see this band once again, like old fans the new kids were also ego to see this band that have certainly made a new for themselves in the 80's and 90's. Playing a 55 minute set of pure old school U.S. Thrash was a exciting to see them again playing the bands hits and classics once more. Some of the songs included in their set were: Surf Nicaragua, Death Squad, Ignorance, Rest in Peace, No Believers, War Pigs, One Nation, The American Way, Who's To Blame, and many more. Awesome band and I just wish they would make another 'Ignorance' Pt.2. 

German thrashers 'Sodom' were next to hit the stage, this is a band who should really need no introductions, especially if you're into the underground scene. With main man Tom Angelripper keeping the band alive, Tom and Bernd "Bernemann" Kost (guitars) and Bobby Schottkowski have kept the band still going strong. Several line-up changes have come and gone within the band and with the likes of Frank Gosdzik (ex Kreator), Christian Dudek (ex Destruction) in the bands early stages. Sodom hit the stage to a overwhelming reception from their home country's metal heads and world-wide metal heads alike. For a power trio the band play extremeely well like Motorhead, Rage and so many other trio acts. Sodom are certainly influenced by the likes of Tank, Motorhead, Venom, Accept and Saxon. back in the 80's Destruction, Kreator and Sodom were classed as the big 3 German Thrash metal acts. Playing a 1 hr set the band played their finest hits which included: Agent Orange, Sword Is The Law, Persecution Mania, Blasphemer, Napalm In The Morning, Absence Of Evil, Wanted Dead, M16, Remember The Fallen, Bombahagen and many more. Still going strong, Sodom is the law!! Next up was the band I have been waiting for, the one and only 'Lita Ford', yeah I've been waiting 25yrs to see her live, and I was really looking forward to his as I missed their in the 90's when she was suppose to of supported Bon Jovi but was ill the night I went tot the show, so that really pissed me off. Along side Doro, Lita and Lee Aaron were the big 3 female acts in the 80's, but only Doro survived and now Lita has returned in the last couple of years and I was so happy to hear of this news. I wasn't sure if she would be playing the UK but I wasn't going to wait and find out so a trip to Germany was the answer. With the weather been hot and sunny made the days good but over heated. Lita hit the stage to a impressive and overwhelming crowd reception from fans from all over the world. Still Lita is totally underrated as a guitarist and deserves more respect to say the least, she certainly can play and that's a fact!! Her current line-up is: Ron Thal, Michael T Ross, PJ Farley, Dennis Leeflang, none of which are from her previous line-ups. 

For me Lita's 2nd album 'Dancing On The Edge' is my all time favourite album and for her to play some songs off that album made my day, well almost!!! Lita played a great set but the poor keyboard half way through her set didn't help and her mic which kept falling must of been frustrating for her. I'm pleased I saw her live finally and thank's to Jim I finally  got to meet my female idiol!!, Thank's a lot  an!! You rock Lita!! Songs played that day were: Gotta Let Go, Dancin' on the Edge, Back To The Cave, Can't Catch Me, Kiss Me Deadly, Falling in and Out of Love, Close My Eyes Forever, Broken Dreams, Under the Gun, Hungry. I hope to see and meet her again soon!! 

Yet Another German act was next, 'U.D.O.', known for his work with Accept back in the later 70's early 80's this band made properly 1 of the finest songs ever, yes folks 'Fast As A Shark', and later on in 2008 their song 'Balls To The Wall' made it on the 'Guitar Hero' game. U.D.O. is no stranger to the metal world as he has influenced so many singers and bands alike and still going strong, he is a man and voice to be reckoned with. I missed U.D.O. @ Wacken in I think 2000/01 so to finally see him at last was a great feeling of excitement to see the man and myth at last!! The bands current line-up is: Udo Dirkschneider (vocals), Stefan Kaukmann (guitars), Igor Gianola (guitars), Fitty Wienhold (bass) and drummer Francesco Jovino. Like most bands U.D.O. have had so many line-up changes but they still keep on going and with the band recording  several albums such as 'Animal House' 87, 'Timebomb' 91, 'Mastercutor' 2007 & new forthcoming album 'Dominator' in 2009 sees the band still going strong. There is no doubt that this little German guy has one hell of a voice, rough, distinct, and powerful is as good as Dio and Halford. Set list included: Metal Heart, Midnight Highway, They Want War, 24/7, Vendetta, Princess Of The Dawn, Living For Tonight, Man And Machine, Thunderball, Animal House, Holy, Balls To The Wall, I'm A Rebel. Awesome!!   

Last but not least is the one and only top AOR band 'Journey', well what can one say about this band? Formed back in the 70's Journey have made their name for themselves with top selling albums and hit singles which made the charts world-wide with such hits as 'Don't Stop Believing' and 'Who's Crying Now', the bands tops tunes and basically their themes. These Bay Area rockers (San Francisco) have come along with and with 3 separate singers, their most famous is Steve Perry, who quit the band to pursue a career making solo albums and is now (I believe) making films. The band reformed to make a reunion with Steve but under the conditions that the band fired their management and were soon managed by The Eagles management. Also Neil Schon formed the band 'Bad English' but only recorded 1 or 2 albums. 

Anyway The band reformed with ex Tyketto singer Steve Augeri, who is an awesome singer and a great replacement for Steve Perry but after a bad throat infection was soon to leave the band and Jeff Scott Soto (Talisman) soon stood in for the tour. Now the band are back and stronger than ever with new front man Arnel Pineda from the Asia, who was once in a band called 'The Zoo' playing cover tunes. Neil was so impressed with his vocal abilities he soon hired him for the new front man position. 

I guess the rest is history can of speak!! Journey I guess wasn't really a headlining act for such a festival like BYH, more like special guests or co-headliners, but nevertheless, the band did come out on top form. I wasn't too sure what to expect from the crowd at this festival, but they really did go down a storm. Arnel is a great singer, very powerful like Steve Perry & Augeri as well as Jeff Scott Soto, is is well suited to the bands music. Playing a 1.40 minute set saw the band playing their classics such as: Don't Stop Believing, Who's Crying Now, Wheel In The Sky, Faithfully, Any Way You Want It, Separate Ways, Open Arms, Send Her My Love, Be Good To Yourself, Lovin Touching Squeezin, Chain Reaction, Higher Places, Change For The Better, After All These Years. Great band no matter what you may think.

Saturday 27th:

So the first day had finished and an early start to the day, only to find the day was a dull and wet start, yeah rain had it the camp site and stage hard, but that wasn't going to stop us having a great time was it? Well it was 9.40am by the time I arrived to see the first band on the stage at 10am, which was the only band from the UK besides Scottish act Alestorm was 'Cloven Hoof', a band that have been around since the early 80's and released albums through either Neat Records (Venom) or Heavy Metal Records (Witchfinder General) who were formed back in 1979 in Wolverhampton (UK) and were among the band classed in the N.W.O.B.H.M. with the likes of Saxon, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and many more... Cloven Hoof have inspired a lot of bands world-wide especially in Europe were the band still have a strong fan basis. Relasing albums such as 'A Sultans Ransom' in 89 saw the band at their peak of their career. The band also released albums such as 'Cloven Hoof', 'Dominator', 'Throne Of Damnation' in 2009. Like all bands from the 80's they too have had several line-up changes and the only original member left is vocalist Russ North, once with 'Tredegar' & Lee Payne. The bands current line-up is: Bed Read (guitar), Christian Horton (guitar), Jon Brown (drums) and Lee Payne (bass). As the turn out for the band @ BYH wasn't great, the crowd that did turn up really did enjoy the band and give the band a warm welcoming playing only a short 40 minute which included the songs: Inquisitor, Nova Battlestar, Mutilator, Return Of The Passover, Road Of Eagles, Gates Of Gehenna / Joined on stage by Kalli from Roxxcallibur. Great opening band from the country that started Heavy Metal!! 

next up was 'Laaz Rockit', I've waited 21yrs since I last saw them in Leeds (UK) Christmas On Earth gig, a great festival which saw bands like Kreator, Over Kill, Megadeth and many on the bill. Well Like other bands, Laaz Rockit broke up and Michael Coons and Aaron Jellum formed 'The Gack'. Laaz Rockit formed in 1982 in the Bay Area (San Francisco) were the likes of Exodus, Testament, Forbidden and of course Metallica hail from. This band have released some awesome albums back in the 80's such as 'Know Your Enemy' (My favourite album), as well as 'Annihilation Principle', both released on Enigma Records. The band reformed with only Mike & Aaron continuing to carry the bands name on with the album 'Nothing Sacred' in 91, a great album. Again breaking up and returning in 2008 with the album 'Left For Dead' released on Massacre records. The band returned also with the original line-up putting the band back on the heavy metal map. Playing this festival to a bigger crowd in the slender of rain didn't stop the band having a good time getting themselves soaked in the rain, why should the crowd only get wet was their motto. Playing a 45 minute set of the bands finest Thrash Metal hits such as 'City's Gonna Burn, Caught in the Act, Forced to Fight, Leatherface, Last Breath, Shot to Hell, Self Destruct, Fire in the Hole, Chasin' Charlie, The Omen, Holiday in Cambodia saw the band deliver a powerful punch that left the crowd wanting more, sadly they got 45 minutes. 

Next up was 'Powewolf', formed by 2 brother in 2003 Charles and Matthew Greywolf, the two had a vision to form a band what would give them their own identity and soon they found Romanian vocalist Attila Dorn and later on Stéfane Funèbre (drums) and on keyboards Falk Maria Schlegel. The band have released 3 album, their debut 'Return in Bloodred' through Metal Blade with the bands 2nd album 'Lupus Dei' in 2007 and now the bands latest release 'Bible of the Beast' 2009. This as far as I am aware of is the bands 2nd time to Bang Your Head festival, proving that the band still have the energy and power to bring the band back to the stage of BYH festival. Playing a powerful 45 minute set of songs from various tunes from the 1st 3 albums. The fans alike enjoyed their music and set and I am sure they will return to the festival in the near future. Dark Symphonic metal at its best. Songs played were: We take it from the living, Prayer in the Dark, Raise your fist Evangelist, Saturday Satan, We came to take your souls, Werewolves of Armenia, Ressurection by Errection, Kiss of the cobra king. 

Next to hit the stage was 'Driver', the band put together by Rob Rock, Tony Macalpine, Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge back in the 80's with their only 1 album 'Project Driver' which was released through Shrapnel Records. Shame the band never released a 2nd album with this line-up. All band members went separate ways. Rob of course has worked with Warrior, Impellitteri, and of course his solo career. Now that Driver return with Roy Z on guitar, Reynold Carlson (drums), Edward Roth (keyboards), Aaron Samson (bass). I knew that Rob had a name for himself and what a great singer he is, I was just wondering if he was as good as people made out and yeah he has a awesome voice!! A nice 50 minute set of pure hard rocking metal from start to finish. Rob really does put 100% into his voice and today he just that. The enter band played their hearts out and was a joy to watch. The band are currently promoting their new album on AFM titled 'Sons Of Thunder'. The band played trax of that album such as: Titans Of Speed, I'm A Warrior, Fly Away, Hearts Of Fire, Sons Of Thunder, Winds Of March, Tears That I Cry, just to name a few. Awesome band driven by one of the finest metal singers Rob Rock!! 

Next to hit the stage was suppose to be 'Tesla', but for some unknown reasons they couldn't play the festival, not that I was that bothered as I had seen them at Download festival, but to everybody's surprise German rockers 'Pink Cream 69' replaced them and to my delight I was really looking forward to see in them live once again. I've not seen them since WOA 2000 (I think). So to see them again was a nice surprise. This band are no strangers to the metal world with Andi Deris now with Helloween been the original front man, was replaced by British singer David Readman, an excellent replacement who has an incredible strong voice. Pink Cream 69 have been releasing albums since 89 with their debut which was self titled. The band have released numerous outstanding albums from 'One Size Fits All' to their current albums such as 'Thunderdome' 2004. The band are about to release their debut live DVD which I can't wait to see. The abdns current line-up is Daivd Readman (vocals), Dennis Ward (bass), Alfred Koffler (guitar), Kosta Zafiriou (drums), Uwe Reintenauer (guitar). A 50 minute set of some of the bands classics, a really awesome set and with David giving all he had as a vocalist made the set impressive as well as the great musicianship by the rest of the band. A great surprise to the festival, and a band well worth checking out. Songs played were: Children, Do You Like it, Lost In Illusion, Talk To The Moon, No Way Out, Welcome The Night, Livin' My Life For You, Twisted, Shame. A band worth see in live!! The festival is pretty much old school and that's the way I like it, 

so next up was 80's 'Warrior', these L.A. rockers released a classic in the mid 80's titled 'Fighting For The Earth' which was released on 10 Records I believe. This band was soon to become very popular in the 80's but broke up after just 2 album, a crying shame. The bands 2nd album 'Ancient Future' was a pretty good album but didn't stand the test of time of their strong debut album. These guys kind of reminded me of Malice for some reason. The only 2 original members left in the band is singer Parramore McCarty (vocals) and Joe Floyd (guitars). The 2nd album also features Roy Z who played as special guest spot on one of their songs and also features drummer Dave Ducey from the 'Ancient Future' album. The 5 piece were overwhelmed by the crowds reaction as this guys meant business and they certainly delivered just that. The band don't have a new album yet but I am sure they will have in the very near future. Songs the band played were: Intro/ PTM 1 (tape), Fight Or Fall, Mind Over Matter, Ruler, Day of the Evil (Beware), Defenders of Creation, Tonight We Ride, Cold Fire, Fighting For The Earth (feat. Roy Z). Great performance, lets hope they make a new album soon!! 

Next up was 'Hardcore Super Stars', the band who have also played Download festival, but I missed them there. I wasn't sure what to expect from this band, I was thinking they might be a L.A. Glam band but they came on and did a really good set, kind of like Skidrow style meet The Poodles hard hitting metal. These 5 guys from Sweden proved to be a band were you can't judge a book by its cover. Signed to Nuclear Blast records the band seem to be uplifting the 80's style of Sleeze/ Glam Metal, but with a twist and kind of have a twist that Steel Panther also have. Yeah I really enjoyed watching these guys believe it or not. Some songs played were: Beg For It, Into Debauchery, Shades Of Grey, Dreamin In A Casket, Wild Boys, We Don't Celebrate Sundays. Pretty good stuff!! Next up was Bay Area Thrasher's 'Exodus', Exodus the band who caused choas around the world since the mid 80's with such albums as 'Bonded By Blood' was the new breed of Bay Area Thrash which was to devastate the world of metal and of course this band are no exceptions to taking no prisoners. With several line-up changes within the singing department, with Baloff, Souza and now Duke to the fold the band are stronger and heavy then ever before and I tell you these guys get pissed off on stage and are fucking brutal live.

A band well worth see in if you already haven't. 8 albums released and a new one in 2010 titled 'The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit B' is a follow up this the 2007 release. Get ready for the Exodus Attack!! These guys played a brutal hard thrashing set of 55 minutes of brutal Thrash with a mosh pit for followed their music. Songs included were: Bonded By Blood, And Then There Were None, A Lesson in Violence, Strike of the Beast, Exodus, Piranha, Brain Dead, Seeds of Hate, Brain Dead, Toxic Waltz, Fabulous Disaster, Sealed with a Fist, War Is My Shepherd, Blacklist and more... Awesome shit man!! Another Bay Area band next,

 this time of the more mellow and hard rock era was 'Y&T', a great hard Rock/ Blues band that certainly know how to play and have been around since the 70's. Yeah after Exodus people needed to chill out and these guys delivered an awesome set of their finest hits. Dave Meniketti & Phil Kennemore are the only 2 original members left from the band formerly known as 'Yesterday & Today', now 'Y&T' who are now joined by John Nymann (guitar) and Mike VanderHule (drums). This band have released soem classic albums such as 'Earthsharker' in 81, 'Black Tiger' in 82, 'Meanstreak' 83 and so many more... The band are currently writing new material for the next album, their 1st since 'Endangered Species' in 97.  These guys are great musicians for any festival and concert for that matter and having seen them 3 times in the UK before I know these guys are superb musicians and Dave is a great guitarist and singer. 

They really did pull it off at BYH festival and the crowd just loved them and wanted more. Drummer Mike did an awesome job considering he was playing with 1 arm, he broke his wrist so he really did pull it off, so hats off to Mike!! Songs played were: Open Fire, Lipstick and Leather, Dirty Girl, Wild If I Wanna, Meanstreak, Rescue Me, I'll Cry For You, Eyes of a Stranger, Looks Like Trouble, Black Tiger, I Believe In You , Forever. 

Next to hit the stage was ' W.A.S.P.', led by Blackie Lawess, formed in 82 by Blackie who is the only original member left was which also feaured back in the day Chris Holmes (guitar) and Randy Piper (guitar) Steve Riley (drums) released such classics as 'W.A.S.P' 84, 'The Last Command' 85, 'The Headless Children' 86 and more albums. Blackie has tried to keep the music and band alive since the later 90's and so far s doing a pretty good job. With the band promoting 'Dominator' 2007 release, they finally get to play BYH which was good to see, as it's been a while since I last saw them live. The bands current line-up is Doug Blair (guitar), Mike Duaa (bass ) and drummer Mike Dupke. The band played an impressive set to a die hard audience, songs played were: On Your Knees, Inside The Electric Circus, Hate To Love Me, L.O.V.E. Machine, Wild Child, Chainsaw Charlie, Widowmaker, Sleeping In The Fire, The Idol, I Wanna Be Somebody , Heaven's Hung In Black, Blind In Texas. 

Last band for the whole festival was German Power Metal act 'Blind Guardian', who have played several festivals around the world such as WOA, Bloodstock, Gods Of Metal and many more.... Formed in 84 the band have gone from strength to strength over the years since their debut album 'Battalions Of Fear' in 88 on the No Remorse label, 8 albums in total have been recorded by these German hopefuls. Such labels as Virgin, Century Media and Nuclear Blast have been involved with this band. The bands current line-up is Hansi Kursch (voclas), Andre Olbrich (guitar), Markus Dörk (guitar), Frederik Ehmke (drums) and touring/ studio bassist Oliver Holzwarth. The crowd wanted to see this band live and they certainly came up on top form with their fine work of Power Metal mixed with Pagan/ Folk Metal mixed in together seems to blend well together.  Playing a set for over 1hr and 40 minutes and with a great light show was a excellent show indeed.

The band are also set to play Bloodstock festival in the UK in August 2009. The band will be releasing a new album shortly so keep on eye open for that. Songs played were: Goodbye My Friend, Punishment Divine, From The Other Side, The Forest, Nightfall, Mirror Mirror, Imagination from The Other Side, Agony, This Will never End, Turn The Page, Sacred, Valhalla, Lord Of The Rings, Blood Tears, Time What Is Time, Time Stands Still. Well what a great festival, one that I would certainly like to support in the future. If you haven't been to this festival before then I suggest to check it out!!! One stage , 2 days cant go wrong really for not missing any of the band. 

                              Sheffield  02 Academy  (UK)  30.4.09    

It was nice to be back in Sheffield once again, the home of Def Leppard. I have seen rather quite a few shows in this city now, my last show at this venue was Saxon with Motorhead in 08. Now it was time to see Yorkshire act Saxon return to the same venue, but back in 08 it was named 'Carling Academy' as headliner's. A good turn out of the crowd showed up for this show. Metal Heads of all ages, young, and old were here to support both Saxon and the beautiful Doro. The first band on the bill which I had no idea were playing was 'Sweet Savage', the band which featured Def Leppard's Vivian Cambell. However, German Metal Queen 'Doro' was about to hit the stage and this was one act I wasn't going to miss. Doro has been around since the mid 80's with her old band 'Warlock', who released several classic albums such as 'Burning The Witches', 'Hellbound' (still their finest release), before the band broke up and Doro formed what we saw tonight as the 'Doro' band. Doro has been the Metal Queen and will always be the god mother of Metal music, this is no doubt about that. She has made her mark on metal and still continues to carry the flag for every female out their who is a singer in a metal band. Doro has come along way since her early days with various line-up changes but has now found the line-up that she needs to keep the line-up strong. Doro is now promoting her new album 'Fear No Evil', which is a great album with various hard hitting tunes as well as some nice ballads. OK, so Doro hit the stage to play a roughly 45-1 hr set of pure hard hitting metal magic from songs by Warlock and of course her now material. She really does know how to get the crowd going, like Rob Halford, Doro raises the spirits of the crowd and likes the crowd to get involved with her. She is a great front lady in metal. What an explosive set by the one and only Doro!! Songs played were: Earthshaker Rock, I Rule The Ruins, You're My Family, Burning The Witches, Night Of The Warlock, Celebrate, True As Steel, Breaking The Law (Judas Priest cover), and All We Are. Both Doro, Johnny Dee, Nick Douglas, Luca Princiotta and a new guitarist who I didn't get his name did one hell of a awesome set. Make sure you check out the Doro band in the near future!!

Next up was the mighty 'Saxon', what can one say about Saxon? Rather a lot to be honest, they have been around since the early 80's or the late 70's, starting out as 'Son Of A Bitch', but changed their name to Saxon in the early 80's. Biff and the boys have carried the flag for England ever since and with each album they continue to get stronger with each album. Since the band released 'Dogs Of War', this was a turning point for the band which each album ever since has become stronger. If you take such albums as 'Metal Head', 'Killing Ground' then you will see the band have adapted a more European Power Metal approach, not forgetting their roots of course, the classic Saxon sound which still remains. Re-recording the old tunes for 'Heavy Metal Thunder' was just fucking awesome!! With the band just releasing their current album 'Into The Labyrinth' which was released through SPV. Saxon are just one of those bands that you can't dislike, kind of you take them in like a lost puppy and become attached. Saxon's music is just pure British metal and they're proud of it, like Judas Priest, there both 2 of the finest UK metal acts. Biff Byford, Paul Quinn, Doug Scarratt, Nibbs Carter and Nigel Glockler are a very strong and powerful unit that makes this band so unique. Every time I saw this band live since I was 15 or so they just keep on delivering some fucking great music and they even come across better live. Like Doro and Rob Halford, Biff is a showman, who knows how to get the crowd involved with their music, sing a longs are a good thing for Biff and the boys. A powerful 1 hr and a half of pure head banging metal was delivered with a powerful punch from Saxon tonight, with the band opening up with 'Battalions Of Steel, a song from their new album, which is a hard hitting heavy song, a great opener for the crowd to get stuck into. Other songs included were: Heavy Metal Thunder, Demon Sweeney Todd, Ride Like The Wind, Witchfinder General, Strong Arm Of The Law, The Letter, Valley Of The Kings, And The Bands Played On.., Hellcat, Backs To The Wall, Come Rock Of Ages, Never Surrender, Wheels Of Steel. What a great gig this was, one of the best and still one of the best UK metal bands around, along with Doro. Are you a Crusader?

      Leeds Rio's (UK)  28.3.09   

It's been a while since I last saw Kamelot live, the first time was the ProgPower UK festival in 2007, a great festival sadly missed at the moment. So tonight was a special time for me to catch the band live again upon our shores. This is the bands 1st debut full length tour of the UK and I wasn't sure how well the turn out with the crowd would be. To my amazement the turn out for the show was electrify with a full house of scream die hard kamelot fans, waiting to cathc the band live once again. Unfortunately the support band Serenity didn't play due to illness within the band and so they had to return to Austria, shame really. Kamelot were supported by a local band, who I didn't catch their name but the band tried hard to win over a packed full house but didn't really win them over. London had the best deal with Dream Evil supporting Kamelot, lucky bastards!! Kamelot however, played an explosive set which left fans wanting more and with a encore made this a special and enjoyable evening. Kamelot have come a long way since their early days with such albums as 'Eternity' in 95, a great debut which reminded me of Crimson Glory. further albums followed 'Dominion' in 97, Roy Khan's debut 'Siege Perilous' in 98 to more successful albums such as 'The Black Halo' & 'Ghost Opera'. Roy was once the front man for 'Conception' a great band that I suggest you kids check out. Roy is one of the finest singers to come out of Norway along side Jorn Lande and ex TNT front man Tony Harnell. Thomas Youngblood made the right choice in having Roy in Kamelot, that's for sure!! Back to the show, almost a 2 hour set of pure hard hitting metal which could be described as Epic/ Symphonic Progressive Metal. Nevertheless, this is a great band well worth checking out. Songs played that night were: Rule the World, When The Lights Are Down, Soul Society, Center Of The Universe, The Pendulous Fall, Anthem, Moonlight, instrumental, The Human Stain, EdenEcho, The Haunting, (keyboard solo) Forever, Ghost Opera, Love You To Death, Karma, and March Of Mephisto. A great night by a great band that should be playing Downlaod and Bloodstock in 2009 or 2010, watch this space!!! The band promise to return to the UK for their next album release and they said Leeds was going to be their stop once more, how happy that made us all feel!!.

& & &

London Islington Academy (UK)  20.2.09  

What a great gig is was, 2 legend Thrash Metal bands come head to head with 2 new Thrash Metal bands joining them on the bill. Exodus from San Francisco, and Over Kill from New York/ New Jersey came together top deliver one hell of a show and to show the younger generation just what they missed back in the day they can now see live in 2009. Exodus like Over Kill have released several album since the early 80's and have continued to carry on regardless of the stadium.  These 2 bands deserve more respect than some bands out there and tonight was a good night to see the two co-headlining along side 2 new and up and coming Thrash bands which would appear to the younger generation. 'Torture Squad' hailing from Brazil have come along way for this tour of Europe and recently signed to Earache records. Formed back in 1990 in a line-up with founder Cristiano Fusco on guitar, Wagner "Castor" on bass, Amilcar Christofaro on drums, and Vitor Rodrigues as frontman and singer. They started touring in and around San Paulo and soon recorded a demo, released in 1993, A Soul in Hell. Their first CD was Shivering (1995); their break-through came with Asylum of Shadows (1999). The band have recorded 7 albums to date, and the bands current album 'Hellbound' was released in 2008. The bands current line-up is: Amilcar Christofaro (drums), Castor (bass), Vitor Rodrigues (vocals) and Augusto Lopes (guitar). Mixing classic style Thrash with hints of Death Metal coming across between Exdous, Malevolent Creation, Kreator, Legion Of The Damned, makes a great combination of music which mixes well. Songs played in their short set were: Living For The Kill, The Beast Within, In The Cyber War, Pandemonium, Chaos Corporation, Torture Squad. Next up was yet another Earache recording artist, this time is was Irish Thrasher's 'Gama Bomb', who were formed back in 2002 back in with members Philly Byrne: Vocals, Joe McGuigan: Bass, Luke Graham: Guitar, Domo Dixon: Lead Guitar, Paul Caffrey: Drums of which the band have recorded 2 albums and several demos. I wasn't sure what to expect from these Irish Thrasher's but I have to admit they are impressive young Thrasher's. if you like the likes of Over Kill, Exodus, Sacred Reich, Evil Dead, Re-Animator, Acid Reign then I am sure this band would appeal to you, certainly I enjoyed them!! Current Singer Philly Byrne, is a great front-man who certainly knows how to get the crowd going and is rather comical. Songs played were: Zombie Blood Nightmare, Steel Teeth, Final Fight, Time Crime, Atomizer, Hammer Slammer, OCP, Polterghost, In The Court Of General Zod, Bullet Belt, Hell Trucker, Zombi Brew. Great band with a lot of energy, well worth checking out!!

Next up was San Francisco's 'Exodus', another band that should not need any introduction. Once Kirk from Metallica was once the original guitarist but was replaced by Gary Holt. Exodus originated back in 1982 with Paul Baloff (R.I.P.), on vocals, Tom Hunting (drums), Rick Hunolt’s (guitar), Rob McKillop (bass), and released their debut album for Combat/ Torrid Records titled 'Bonded By Blood' in 86 and the debut album shocked  the Thrash Metal movement with  it's hard and heavy approach which left a lot of fans in shock and hungry wanting more.. Later albums would follow with new singer Steve “Zetro” Souza, ex Legacy (now Testament) and such albums as 'Pleasures Of The Flesh' 87, 'Fabulous Disaster' 89, and Steve leaving the band in 2004 with his last album 'Tempo Of The Damned' Since then the band have recruited singer Rob Dukes. The band have also seen Paul Bostaph (ex Slayer) on drums within the band but now Tom is back within the band, Also in the band is bassist Jack Gibson and ex Heathen guitarist Lee Altus. For this tour Tom didn't play but ex Cradle drummer Nick Barker stood in for the tour. Playing an impressive 1 hour set roughly the band hit the stage to a overwhelming response from the crowd, with a nice mosh pit and plenty of slam diving. Hitting through a head banging, ear splitting set let the crowd hungry and wanting more, but the night was still young as Over Kill were about to unleash their power. Exodus played some classic from their debut right up to the bands later releases. With the band's aggressive and brutal guitar riffs and Rob Dukes attitude made a explosive combination of real Thrash Metal. Impressive set list by 1 of the world's finest Thrash acts. Songs played were: Deranged, Fabulous Disaster, And Then There Were None, Another Lesson In Violence, Brain Dead, War Is My Shepard, Bonded By Blood, Toxic Waltz, Piranha. Can you handle the toxic waltz? Last but not least was the mighty 'Over Kill', New York's finest and what a fucking kick ass band Over Kill are. These guys deserve more respect and even deserve to be placed on such tours like 'Priest Feast', as they would of been a great addition to the bill and even given Priest a run for their money. Over Kill have released 14 albums to date and that defiantly says something about this bands determination to carry on and with the band 1st appearing at such clubs as L’Amours, which was renown for having some top acts in the day of the 80's. Over Kill have carried the flag of true Thrash without selling out and with the devastation bass guitar sound of D.D. Verni and Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth's ripping vocals is the bands trade mark. Formed with Rat Skates (drums) and Bobby Gustafson (guitar) these guys recorded 2 albums with rat and a further 2 albums with Bobby Gustafson before his departure. Over Kill however, have had various guitar line-up changes but D.D. & Bobby have kept the flag flying high for the band and still going stronger than ever!! With the bands current album 'Immortalis' released in 2007, the band were once again ready to play the UK after last years Bloodstock and 1 off London show in 2008. This was a great night for all Thrash Metal fans alike. Ripping the stage and playing a hour explosive set from start to finish left fans wanting more, it was just a shame the night ended early for the club was open as a night clubs to dance shit music!! Once again Over Kill came, saw and conquered the UK once again. Hitting the stage with: Deny The Cross, Evil Never Dies, Hammer Head, Rotten To The Core, Elimination, Skull & Bones, Feel The Fire, In Union We Stand, Over Kill, Horrorscope, and of course their anthem 'Fuck You'!! In my opinion Over Kill are and will always be the best Thrash band ever!! Are you rotten to the core? You should be!!


    &   Sheffield Arena (UK) 13.2.09  

What a night to remember, when 3 top names in metal came together to clash as one. I guess you could say it was 'Clash Of The Titans' all over again, as in 90/91 the 3 played together in the U.S..  Like myself, this was a gig for many who have never seen Judas Priest, or Testament or Megadeth before until now and this was the perfect gig to see all in one night. Sheffield area is a big place and in the last 2 gigs I have attended there with Heaven & Hell and Judas Priest, neither one has sold out, which is a shame. It certainly say's a lot for the big Metal bands not been able to sell out big arena's. Look like boy/ girl band rules the area's sadly. But hey this wasn't going to spoil a good night out was it? With the turn out that did attend the atmosphere was electric!! Bay Area Thrasher's 'Testament' were first to hit the stage and with the band once been on Atlantic records and with such releases like 'The Legacy', 'Souls In Black', 'Low', 'The Gathering' the band have recorded several successful album to date. With the band releasing their 2008 release 'The Formation Of Damnation' through Nuclear Blast, this was one of the bands strongest releases to date. Hitting the stage to play a rough set of about 40-50 minutes of high energy Thrash Metal at it's best was going to be hard for Megadeth to beat!! As tension hits the air the mighty 'Testament' were ready to hit the stage and to deliver one hell of a powerful high energy filled set, that would leave both Megadeth & Judas Priest wondering if you could ever beat such a powerful set.. Both guitarist Alex and Eric played some heavy and impressive riffs just as the rythem section of Greg and the awesome drummer of Paul certainly delivered the goods. Chuck Billy also impressed and certainly got the crowd going from start to finish. After a explosive set, from what I could gather a few people left and were only there to witness Testament in their glory.  Songs that Testament played were: Over The Wall, Practice What You Preach, More Than Meets..., The Formation Of Damnation, New Order, Disciples Of The Watch. Great band what shows how Thrash should be played just like Over Kill and Slayer. 

Next up was Dave Mustain and 'Megadeth', featuring Chris Broderick (ex Jag Panzer/ Nevermore) on guitar, along with James Lomenzo (ex White Lion) on bass and drummer Shaun Drover (Eidolon). Chris replaced Glenn Drover, Shaun's brother who was also with King Diamond & Eidolon last year. Megadeth have been one of the godfathers of Thrash along side Over Kill, Slayer, Testament, Metallica and Dave as most of you will know was once with Metallica before Kirk joined the band. Megadeth started out with 'Killing is My Business...' which was released on Combat/ MFN's and were soon picked up my Capital Records for 'Peace Sells..' which in my opinion is the bands best work. This album was the band rise to fame and the door way for Dave and co was soon open. Further albums were released such as 'So Far So Good', 'Rust In Peace', 'Countdown To Extinction', and later albums such as 'The System Has Failed' and the band current album 'United Abominations' released through Roadrunner Records. Megadeth have struggled over the years with the clashing of Metallica and Dave Mustain, which has caused Dave some discomfort, a sad case but true. I have to say that Megadeth have wrote some good songs, but live there seems to be very little stage presence and Dave always looks so miserable. A brave Megadeth hit the stage and played an impressive set that Megadeth fans loved from start to finish. A hour set proved the band justice but it was going to be hard to beat Testament, but Megadeth did pull off an impressive set from start to finish. Songs that they played were: Sleepwalker, Washington Is Next, Hanger 18, Holy Wars, Peace Sells, Symphony Of Destruction, Machanix, A Tout Le Prisoners, Gears Of War & Wake Up Dead. It was good to see the band live as I haven't seen them since 91.


Next up was of course the mighty 'Judas Priest' which features the Metal God himself 'Rob Halford' once again back to the fold after Tim Owen's departed from the band. The mighty 'Priest' have been around since the later 60's/ early 70's and have been delivering powerful real Heavy Metal music since 73 with 'Rock & Rolla', which was soon followed with 'Sad Wings Of Destiny' in 76, both albums released on Gull Records and were soon picked up by CBS Records and the beginning of the bands success starts with 'Sin After Sin' in 77. Back in those days the band shocked the world or Rock & Metal with their leather & stud approach to the music scene, even when the band supported the likes of Reo Speedwagon, the Amercians where shocked with the stage presence. Futher albums such as 'Killing Machine', 'British Steel, 'Screaming For Vengeance', 'Painkiller', 'Angel Of Retribution' are all classic's in their own right and now with the band releasing 'Nostradamus' in 2008, which is based on the man himself, is a stranger album that takes you through different twist and turns throughout the album. The bands last album 'Angel Of...' saw the return of Rob and the crowd were hungry to see the Metal God back in the band. This time around the crowd were also ego to see the band return with this concept album based on Nostradamus. As the intro tape started the light went down and the crowd cheered and screamed with excitement. Opening up with 'Dawn of Creation' before going into 'Prophecy', a good song but it was and is a shame that the band do not play 'Nostradamus', but they did play 'Death', I guess Rob can't handle the heavy and fast stuff live these days (Bless him). Both K.K., Glenn played some impressive twin guitar riffs as well as Ian & Scott's rythem section played just as an important part of the band. Rob is still the finest metal singer along side Dio, Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, but the days of Rob's over powering screams is pretty much over. Don't get me wrong he still rips like a bitch at screaming but not as good as he use too. Playing a 2 hour set with some awesome light show and stage presence made the whole show electrifying. Songs that the band included in their set were: Breaking The Law, Painkiller, Hell Patrol, Dissident Aggressor, Angel, Electric Eye, Rock Hard Ride Free, Sinner, You've Got Another Thing Comin', A Touch Of Evil, Metal Gods, The Green Manalishi, Hell Bent For Leather. just to name a few songs. Great night by 3 classic bands in Metal!!! (I'd like to thank Glenn for the picture he proved for this review, you're a star!!

& Sheffield Carling Academy (UK) 8.11.08  

This was a night to remember thats for sure, as you really don't get to classic bands from the 80's on the same bill unless it's a festival. Last time I saw Saxon with a band like Motorhead was with Judas Priest in London back in 2001. Having first seen Motorhead at the tender age of 11 (see my pic on my site) I have seen the band through their career along the winding road. Opening act for the show was Danko Jones, but sadly I only caught the last half of the last song, so I really can't review what I missed. This was the first time I had seen Motorhead and Saxon at this venue and it seems to be a pretty good venue and as Lemmy said 'Fuck the City Hall, You can all stand here - right??', a wise word from the man himself. This venue seemed more suitable for Rock and Metal bands alike. Playing to a full house both bands shined through and delivered a awesome show. Saxon, however are one of the finest and underrated acts that have also influenced so many bands along side Motorhead, Maiden, Priest, Sabbath they surely deserve the right to be more honored and respected. Biff and the boys came out to deliver the crowd a hard hitting set and that's what they did, gave the crowd what they wanted. Playing a superb set for about 1 hour Biff, Nibbs, Paul, Doug and Nigel hit the stage and played their hearts out to a full packed audience that knew exactly what they wanted to hear and see. Playing songs from the bands early material, just because the crowd love the classic stuff right up to 2 new songs from the bands forthcoming album 'Into The Labyrinth' which is due to be released in 2009. The band did play 2 new songs from that album. There is no denying that Saxon are a powerful set that take no prisoners, just like Motorhead. Biff is certainly a great front man who knows how to get the crowd going and with Nibbs been a total head banging manic made the show even more enjoyable. All 5 musician's certainly know how the deliver a powerful set. Songs that Saxon played were: Motorcycle Man, And The Bands Played On.., Live To Rock, Heavy Metal Thunder, Never Surrender, Witchfinder General, Denim & Leather,  Backs To The Wall, Hell Cat, Princess Of The Night and & 747 Stranger In The Night. Truly a awesome set by one of the finest British Metal acts around.


Last but not least was the mighty 'Motorhead', Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey were ready to hit the stage. Motorhead have been around since the late 70's and Lemmy been the godfather just keeps on going. Motorhead have pretty much been a 3 piece, but in the mid 90's they became a 4 piece with Werzel been the 2nd guitarist. Phil remained and still continues to be a major part of the band. Mikkey (ex King Diamond) is still one of the finest drummers around and certainly the best Motorhead have ever had is one hell of a awesome drummer, shame he left King Diamond.  Motorhead however, remain the same and will never change for anybody, been the fans, press or any label and so you really have to admire Lemmy and co for their determination to carry on playing what they do best, playing 'Rock & Roll' as Lemmy will say. Call them Metal or Rock & Roll, Motorhead is Lemmy, and Lemmy is Motorhead. If you take a look at the bands history nothing has really changed, and they still manage to play, fast, loud and heavy as ever with no care in the world. There most famous tunes are 'Ace Of Spade', 'Bomber' & 'Over Kill', 3 songs that made the band what they are today. Motorhead have also gathered new fans in their early 20's as well as the aging metal heads out there. All of which makes one happy family of head banging maniacs. Now the crowd were hot and sweaty and ready to hit the stage and deliver a ear blistering set of hard hitting music from start to finish. A quick sound check on the stage was soon opened with 'We Are Motorhead, & We Play Rock & Roll' from the man himself saying out loud. This went straight into the following songs: Iron Fist, Stay Clean, Be My Baby, Rock Out, Metropolis, Another Perfect Day, Over The Top, I Got Mine, (guitar solo), Rosely (Thin Lizzy), In The Name Of Tragedy, (drum solo), The Power, Going To Brazil, Kill By Death, Gonna Raise Hell, Whorehouse Blues, Ramones, Ace Of Spade and Over Kill. Well what can one say about Motorhead? If you haven't seen the band live then you ain't no Metal head that's for sure!! The band are here to stay and are still going strong.

 As I Lay Dying - Hull University (UK) 24.10.08   

Having seen 'As I Lay Dying' in the UK earlier this year at Bloodstock festival, I already knew what to expect, solid hard hitting mixture of Thrash, Hardcore. These 5 guys from San Diego certainly know how to play their music and how to get a crowd going. Of all places I really didn't expect to see the band live in my home city, so I knew I had to turn out to give them support and of course Metal Blade Records. These guys have been around now since the early 2000's and their debut album was released back in 2003 titled 'Frail Words Collapse' for Metal Blade, saw the ready making waves with the local scene and shortly within the international scene as well. The band later on recorded their 2nd album for Metal Blade 'Shadows are Security' in 2005 and their recent  release 'An Ocean Between Us' released in 2007. I wasn't expecting to see as many people turn out for this show as I really didn't know just how many people there were in Hull into this band. Seems like the younger generation certainly seem to be into this band in a pretty big way. Playing to a pretty intense crowd in a small but pretty decent venue, A.I.L.D. performed to a overwhelming crowd of screaming young metal heads, ready to show the band that they were indeed hungry for some real music in this city. 4 Other bands were also on the stage, a couple of U.S. bands and a band from Japan, who like most Japanese bands seem to lack and keep up with the times. Rather amusing to watch indeed. A.I.L.D., unfortunately only played a very short set of 30 minutes which soon pasted and by the end of the set the crowd wanted more, even if they were not the headlining act. Songs played were: Through Struggle, Nothing Left. Forever, The Sound Of Truth, 94 Hours and Confined. A decent band well worth see in live that's for sure. I do hope that the band reutnr to these shore soon and I hope I get to see them live in my home city once again. I'll certainly spread the word for these guys, as it's about time we had some decent bands playing in Hull once again. I'm sure the band will be more than happy to come back and play a longer set just for us die hard metal heads.


    Beverly Memorial Hall - 3rd & 4th October 2008  

Friday 3.10.08

Yet another year had past it it was time for another year of metal mayhem from local and national acts from around the UK. It was good to see some new faces at this years festival as well as the local supporters. This year saw more people attending and I'm sure more people will attend next year with it's new location. Saturday saw some interesting bands and of course Sunday also saw some decent acts as well. I'm sure that next year will see more people attending and with some bigger names on the bill I really can't see why this festival can't keep on going with they get the support they need. Opening act for Saturday was a local band to Hull called 'Divine Oblivion', a young band which features Hoff (vocals), Necromantis (vocals), Rayne Stigmartyr (guitars), Duds (bass) and drummer Joey. The band features a male and female joint vocals which can sometimes work, but in this bands case, things really didn't happen too well for them. After listening too them on their Myspace page I was didn't think much of their music. They tried hard and some of the audience liked them but a lot were left disillusioned. I very short set left the crowd waiting for the next act which were 'Annushka' a band from Newcastle, featuring Skyclad singer Kevin Ridley, who also manages the band. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this band, but I had to say they tried hard but really didn't go down to well. The band consist of: Annushka- piano, vocals, Reece Kerr - lead guitar, Josh - Bass player, Eoghan- Drummer. I had to say that the singer Annushka has a very strange voice and reminds me of a bad version of Kate Bush, Bjorn, and Rennies wife from 'Allo Allo', sorry to say this but a lot of people couldn't help laugh at her voice. The band struggled on and tried so hard, unfortunately today was not there best day I am sure of that. I am surprised they are playing next years festival, I really do hope she gets her voice sorted out otherwise it's going be yet another disastrous day for the band yet again. Next up was 'Hear Ray', now this is more like it, now that people were ready for some real metal music. Chunk and the boys are a good set of lads and play well as ever playing some old school Thrash, mainly heading towards Metallica, with hints of Saxon, Manowar. Chunk is a great front man and he knows how to get the crowd going, this was the start of the day now becoming an uplifting day now that Heat Ray had finally got the crowd up off their feet and some pretty cool head banging start to take place. Songs that Heat Ray played were: 

The Last Ride, Marshall Law, The Night Witch, The Devil Killer, Razor Blade Screams, Heat-Ray. Great  band and if they carry on I am sure the band will get better support slots. Next up was 'Infernal Creation', I wasn't too sure what to expect from these 5 guys, I knew they played Black Metal with some Death Metal thrown in, but just how good could they actually play? Another local Hull band consisting of such band names as: Sin (guitars), Bastard (drums), Neiphrobous (vocals), Deimos (bass), Bard (guitar). I was very curious to what I was about to hear and believe it or not I was pretty surprised and impressed. Mixing the likes of Bathory, Venom, Amon Amarth, Cradle of Filfth, and maybe hints of Cannibal Corpse I had to say these 5 guys pulled of an impressive set and even the crowd loved their music, and even myself enjoyed that I heard and saw. Songs played were: To the gods of desolation, Storm,Upon the black wings of annihilation, Gehenna, Soulless. Next band on the bill were 'Ravenage', a band from Hull which are more directed towards the Pagan/ Viking style of metal. At times they could have a hint of Black Metal like 'Infernal Creation'. The band consist of: Heralder (vocals), Woodman (guitars), Lord Legion (bass), Windrider (keyboards), and drummer Ulver. Where do they get these names from?? This band is lead by one of the organizers for the festival, so doing the festival and playing in a band is pretty impressive stuff. The band have played some pretty big festivals over in Europe and Scandinavia and also have a CD out. Fans of Amon Amarth, Bathory, and many more fans of this style would really enjoy their music. A good band and well worth hearing. Next was the headliners for the Saturday, this was 'Skyclad', from newcastle these Pagan/ Folk Rockers have been around for many years now, which were formed by ex Sabbat  front man Martin, and ex blind Fury guitarist Steve Ramsey.  

Skyclad's 1st found their career starting ion the hands of Noise/ Modern Music, when German label signed up this band and released their debut album 'The Wayward Son of Mother Earth' back in 91. The debut saw the band receiving excellent reviews from the press on a world-wide level and more albums were to follow. The band later on left Noise and were picked up by Massacre records and 'Irrational Anthems' was released in 96. The and have recorded 11 albums to date. The bands current line up is: Steve Ramsey (guitar), Graeme "Bean" English (bass), Georgina Biddle (Violin), Kevin Ridley (vocals/ guitar), and drummer Arron Walton. The band played an impressive set for a hour of Pagan/ Celtic / Metal, of which the crowd certainly enjoyed.

Saturday 4.10.08

Saturday was another day of head banging mayhem and another early start.  1st band which was 'Fado Rock', which features Mr Bob (vocals), Spike (guitar), Andy (bass), Prov (Organ), Dave (drums), and these guys were pretty good for a local band. Mixing the likes of Danzig style vocals (not my cup of tea), but the music made up for it, across between Led Zepplin, Soundgarden, Trouble, not a bad little act to be honest. Formed in Hull, these guys have released 6 releases, either as demos, E.P.s but nevertheless, these guys are pretty good band. Songs played were: Score To Settle, Tables Have Turned, Six Feet South, No Damn Difference, Medusa, Sleep In An Empty Bed,Falling Fifty Floors. Next was 'Soul Flame', these guys had played the festival before, so there were no strangers to the show. Current band line up is: Nikki Flamer - Lead guitar & Vocals Ronnie Rocket - lead Guitar & backing Ashes - Bass Guitar & backing Dave T - Drums & Backing vocals. These guys are yet another impressive addition to the bill playing their style of Hard Rock with some guitar work which is a little bit like Zack Wylde at time. I'm surprised these guys haven't released a CD yet, but I am sure they will within the next year or so. Next to hit the stage was 'Invey', hailing from the West Midlands, I wasn't to sure what to expect from these guys, with the line-up been: Claire Natalie (vocals), Simon (drums), Andy (bass) and Ed (guitars). 

The band brought some CD's to give away which was a good promotion for the band. Playing a more modern style of Metal/ Rock with some industrial influences really didn't grab my attention that much. Claire's vocals were pretty much all over the place unfortunately, but I have to give her credit for have a stage presence despite the bands music lacking in some way. Trying to be original doesn't always work and for this band they tried hard but didn't win me over. Songs played were: Diamond, Release, Easy, Precious,  This Hurts, Grind You, Not Listening, Bring It On, Leave Me. Next was 'Hayokee', a strange band from the North East of the UK, these guys were interesting to watch as a instrumental band. I'm not sure if the band are all related, but for a 5 these guys were probably 1 of the most interesting bands of the day. Not a Metal band but a psychedelic Prog Rock act 4 musicians inspired by the likes of Dream Theater, Ozric Tentacles, Frank Zappa, and other strange but weird acts that make this band interesting and unique to watch. Certainly a band worth checkout out. Songs played by these were: The Ride, Last Camel, Arid Land, Bear Dance, Bouree, Heavens Smile. Next were 'Liquid Sky', hailing from Manchester (UK), this band are front by a female singer known as Tiffeny Joyce, who has a perfectly tuned voice and I wasn't sure what to expect from her, I was hoping she was a more powerful singer than the other female fronted bands on the bill, and how surprised I was to hear such a decent voice from her. She reminds me of the likes of Epica, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil. Tiffeny is joined by Jonathan Craven (guitars), Den Constable (bass), Stuart Wright (drums), Rick Ogden (keyboards), Andy Midgley (guitars). Their music is Progressive Metal, which could sound like Kamelot, Epica, and seem to jell well. The band have released 1 album to date titled 'Identity' which is worth checking out. The band played a great set and came across professional enough. Certainly worth checking out, songs played: Titan, Ghost In The Spell, Dreamstate, Beyond The Divine, Helpless, Love Labours Lost, The Evil That Men Do.

Next up was 'Awake', band who use to go under the name of 'Humanity' released 1 album before changing their name and releasing their 2nd album 'Illumination', a band who supported Evergrey on their last UK tour. I have to say they are a UK answer to Evergrey, obviously not as good but, but still impressive live. The bands current line up is: Simon Shedwell (vocals), Chris Le Motte (bass), Craig Burkitt (keyboards), Alex Townsend (drums), Richard Hall (guitar), Steve Wallace (guitar), these guys like Liquid Sky's came across as good solid musician's and certainly got the crowd going. It seems as if the best bands were kept for the last few acts. Next up was 'Talamasca', this 3 piece from Hull have been around for a few good years now, and recorded several CD's, E.P.'s. With the line up been: Stig (vocals & guitar), Gordi (bass), Garr (drums). This was the last gig that the band were going to perform and only ever seen the band once before today I was pretty impressed with their music abilities the way they performed on stage. Even the music impressed me with the hard edge which reminded me of across between Motorhead and at times Iron Maiden amongst other acts. It was a sad day for the band and fans alike, who have supported the band, but I guess they had their reasons to split up. 

The did the festival and crowd proud and put on a great performance. Well what a way to go out with a bang a? great live show, and I wish the band members the best of luck with their future plans!!. next and last act was 'Blaze Bailey', once with Wolfs Bane and Iron Maiden's front man, now has his own band which have been around now since the early 2000's. Blaze has come a long way since his days with Wolfs Bane and his downfall after Iron Maiden left his to pick up the pieces and form his own band. Today was a special day for Blaze, who has just lost if wife and certainly was a very emotional day for him, the band and the fans.  Throughout the show Blaze put a brave face on and and promised to do the show for his fans and for his departed wife. You couldn't fault Blaze for trying and for a good performance, so he gets my thumbs up. Great live set with some kick ass attitude made this a great night and a powerful end o the festival which I a am sure will grow with the right bands. Songs played by Blaze were: The Man Who Would Not Die, Black Mailer, Smile Back At Death, Identity, Ghost In The Machine, Tenth Dimension, 10 Seconds, Kill & Destroy, A Crack In The System, Samurai, Robot, Futureal, The Launch, Lord Of The Flies, Speed Of Light, Man On The Edge, Born As A Stranger, and While You Were Gone. I just hope next year gives Skyclad a break, as it's been 2 years in a row with them as headliners and it's time for them to step down, at least give somebody else a break... like Marshall Law!!!

  - Leeds Rio's (UK)  20.9.08     

Greek Power Metal act, Firewind are no strangers to the metal scene, with Gus G  (ex Dream Evil/ Night Rage) been for main guy who just came out of nowhere and was picked up by Dave Chastain who introduced him to some musicians who were to form the band Firewind. With the bands debut album 'Between Heaven and Hell' released in 2002, which was released on the Leviathan Record label, saw the band making promising waves within the metal community. The band soon released their next album 'Burning Earth' in 2003. Later on the band found Petros Christo (bass), Bob Katsionis (keyboards) and singer Chitty (ex Avalon) and Pagans Mind's drummer Stain. The band signed to Century Media and released 'Forged By Fire'. The band had some line up changes and soon Mark Cross (Ex Metalium) played drums and new singer Apollo Papathanasio took the mic. This wasn't the first time I had seen the band live, so I knew what to expect from these superb musician's. It was however the first time I had seen them in Leeds, so I was rather excited to see them playing the Rio's club. I would of much preferred to see them in Bradford Rios but that club is no more. Support act for the tour was Kiuas, but I missed them so I really can't do a write up on them, sorry metal heads!! However, Firewind played an explosive set of pure power from start to finish and as ever they are top musician's who play some excellent music. If you're a fan of Dream Evil, Judas Priest, Saxon, Metalium, Primal Fear, then this is the band for you. There really are awesome live and singer Apollo a great addition to the band. Gus G as ever plays some impressive guitar work which comes close to that of Yngwie, Vinnie Moore, and Mark's drumming is awesome, pounding drums beats makes this 1 hell of a show. Lets not forget Bob and Petros musical abilities as well. The crowd just loved the music and with a good turn out made the night an even more enjoy show. Songs that the band played were: Allegiance, Insanity, Into The Fire, Head Up High, Mercenary, Angel Forgive Me, My Loneliness, The Silent Code, Destination Forever, The Fire & The Fury, Dream Chaser, Deliverance, Between Heaven & Hell, I Am The Anger, Falling Into Pieces, Tyranny. A top band with a great attitude towards music, long live Firewind!!!

    Catton Hall - Derby (UK)  15 - 17th August 2008     

Thursday 14th:

Well another year has pasted, last year saw some awesome bands with such acts as: Firewind, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Testament, Dream Evil, Nevermore and many more.... Weather wise for 2007 wasn't too bad and we were all waiting to see what 2008 weather would bring. To be honest, 2008 was pretty good weather wise, only rained late on night. This year was bigger than last year and I am telling you this is going to be a little Wacken festival very soon, forget Download, let's leave that to the Nu-Metal stuff as we need a real Metal festival here in the UK. Bloodstock has grown over the years from the indoor festival were Saxon headlined the debut festival to the outdoor ones which are now been held. This year saw yet another  3 days of pure mental head banging mayhem and what an exciting time it was, especially with Over Kill playing, a band that would shred the stage to bits. Anyway, the pre-party was about to take place on the Thursday night, beer, music and karaoke!! 2 bands that I did catch live on the Thursday were: 'Conquest Of Steel', who played an impressive set and are always good to watch live. Mixing the likes of Judas Priest, Manowar, Iron Maiden, Omen style of Pure Metal was a good start to a powerful weekend of more metal bands to come. Conquest of Steel certainly know how to get the crowd going and with the band about to record their latest offering I feel that these guys are well worth checking out. 

Next band I saw live but they were not announced were: 'Marshall Law', as I was just walking past the tent I heard what I thought was a Marshall Law record, turned out to be the band themselves. I was impressed to see the band live again, as it has been a while since I last saw them live. These guys from Birmingham (UK), are great musician's and create some powerful Power Metal which comes across between Judas Priest and Dokken. Andy Pykes vocals are still on top form and so is Dave Martin's guitar playing, as these are the only 2 original members left. The bands current line-up is: Andy Pyke - Vocals, Dave Martin - Guitar, Dave Rothan - Guitar, Tom Dwyer - Bass, Steve Hauxwell - Drums. With the release of 5 studio releases and 1 live CD the time is right for the band to release their new album entitled 'Razor Head', which is soon to be released on Demolition Records. The new album is really kicking ass (believe you me), and I just like the way they continue to play traditional real metal music. Songs that the band played were: Razor Head, Victory, God King, Head Trap, Empowerment, Screaming, Marshall Law, Night Terror, Another Bullet, Twisted This, Leviathan. Great band, welcome back guys!!!

Friday 15th:

As we woke up early, the girlfriend and I we had a quick look around the site before heading the the main stage to catch the 1st band of the day. Weather was fine so that was a good start. Opening the main stage at 10.45am was 'Saint Deamon', a young band hailing from Sweden and Norway, these 4 guys have released their debut album for Italian label Frontiers entitled 'In The Shadows Lost From The Brave', which is an impressive release for a debut.  Mixing the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, Glory, Beyond Twilight, Hammerfall,  Dionysus.  The band consist of Jan-Thore Grefstad (vocals), Ronny Milianowicz (drums), Toya (guitars), Nobby (bass). These guys hit the stage and with a reasonable crowd the audience loved what the band delivered to them. Even I was impressed with their short 30 minute set. Some nice vocals and melodic music here. Songs played were: My Judas, In The Shadows Lost From The Brave, My heart, No Man's Land, Run For Your Life. I suggest you check these guys out, they have some melodic and impressive metal to offer.  

Next up was UK Thrasher's 'Evile', these 4 guys have made quite an impact on the Thrash scene of recent. Now signed to Earache records, their debut album 'Enter The Grave' released back in 2007 has been classed as 1 of the finest UK Thrash albums in years. These 4 Yorkshire guys from Huddersfield play Thrash which can be compared to that of early Metallica, Exodus, Testament and Onslaught. The bands current line-up is Mike (bass), Matt (guitar/ vocals), Ben (drums) and Ol (guitars). Evile hit the stage to a pretty large crowd who certainly enjoyed their performance as did the band like playing their strong set which was: Thrasher, Bathe In Blood, We Who Are About To Die, Man Against Machine, Enter The Grave. I am sure the band will have a lot more to offer in the near future. Just watch this space!!! 

Next to hit the stage were 'TYR', these guys hail from Runavík, Faroe Islands, (I think from Scandinavia)  wherever that maybe. The band are a 4 piece which consist of the following members: Heri Joensen (guitar and vocals), Terji Skibenæs (guitar), Gunnar H. Thomsen (bass), and drummer Kári Streymoy. The band have recorded 7 released to date and I really didn't know they had recorded so many releases. Now I can see why they were popular at Bloodstock. Viking/ Pagan/ Celtic Metal is far becoming very popular with today's metal scene. I for one am not a fan of this style of music, but I do appreciate what they are doing. The crowd at the festival were waiting for this act to hit the stage, lots of metal heads in Viking hats and fur which was kind of funny but they were really into this band. These guys guys put on a great show for they were pretty impressive live and certainly had the crowd going. Songs they  played were: Gandkvaedi Tronddar, Sinklars Visa, Regin Smidur, Dreams, Guta Rima, Hail To The Hammer, Wings Of Time, Lokka Tattur, Ramund Hin Unge. 

Next up was 'Akercocke', UK Death/ Black Metal act signed to Earache records, are certainly make a rather big impact on the extreme metal scene right now. Current line-up is: Jason Mendonca - Guitar/Vocals, Matt Wilcock - Guitar, Peter Benjamin - Bass, David Gray - Drums, Akercocke was formed in early 1997 by guitarist Jason Mendonca and drummer David Gray. The band released their debut on their own titled 'Rape of the Bastard Nazarene' in 1999. The band soon were signed to Peaceville and released 'The Goat of Mendes'. In 2003 saw the release of 'Choronzon' was released on Earache records, more albums were to follow. With some excellent reviews in such magazines like Terrorizer the band were soon been recognized by so many fans world-wide. Akercocke, hit the stage and it almost seemed like an aerie presence hit the stage, almost like Satan was with with them haha!! When the band did get going, their music was fast, hard and brutal. Fans of such acts like Napalm Death, Bathory, Autopsy, Voivod, Suffocation then you might like these guys. It's interested to hear these influences in their music mixed with electronic stuff like: Depeche Mode, Gentle Giant, Frank Zappa, a strange combination I know, but for some it does work. This band seemed to pull a lot of fans to the stage and I can see why really. Heavy shit here man, song they play were: Becoming the Adversary,  A Man Without Faith or Trust, Axiom,  Of Menstrual Blood and Semen, Verdelet, Summon the Antichrist, Eyes of the Dawn, Enraptured by Eviled. 

Next up was German Thrasher 'Destruction', I had waited all day to see these guys been: Schmier - (Bass, Vocals), Mike (guitars) and Marc (drums), they deliver a powerful hard hitting punch as a trio act. Destruction have been around since the early 80's and have influenced so many acts in the Thrash, Death and even the Black Metal scene. Their debut release back in 1984 titled 'Sentence of Death' was the bands a debut mini CD and was the start of more success for the band. The band later on went on to record their debut full length album titled 'Infernal Overkill' back in 85, were Destruction signed to SPV from their mini CD straight through to 'Live without Sense' in 89. Schmier  left the band to form 'Headhunter'. Schmier later on returned to the band when they released 'All Hell Breaks Loose' in 2000 for new label Nuclear Blast. A further 4 albums were recorded for that label. Later on the band signed to AFM Records (Doro) and released 'Inventor of Evil' in 2005, which saw the band making a massive comeback and such an awesome album. The band have recently released their new album 'D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.' through AFM records. See in  Destruction once again was great, having seen them at WOA it was nice to see them play a UK festival for once. There were so many thrasher's at Bloodstock this year, anxiously waiting to see these 3 German musicians hit the stage. 40 minutes of pure Thrash and yes they did cause total devastation!! From start to finish it was going to be hard to beat these guys. Truly an awesome act well worth checking out. Set list included: Curse Of The Gods, Nailed To The Cross, Mad Butcher, Eternal Ban, Thrash Til Death, Soul Collector, Total Disaster, Bestial Invasion, The Butcher Strikes Back. Destruction play live to cause total devastation!! It was a nice day weather wise and yet more was still to come. 

Next up was yet another German band, this time around we have Power Metal act 'Primal Fear'. Primal Fear are the band who were formed by ex Gamma Ray/ Tyran' Pace front-man Ralf Scheepers, and Matt Sinner (Sinner). Along the way the band have had a couple of line-up changes. The band have had charges with Stefan Leibing (guitar), Klaus Sperling (drums), Tom Naumann (guitar). The bands current line-up is: Randy Black - Annihilator (drums), Magnus Karlsson - Last Tribe (guitar) , Henny Wolter -  Thunderhead (guitar) and of course Matt and Ralf. The band have had plenty of success with their debut album 'Primal Fear' released in 98 and with later albums such as 'Nuclear Fire' 2001, 'Black Sun' 2002, and now 'New Religion' 2007. I have had the pleasure of see in this band since their debut album and this year at Bloodstock was nice to see them on an open air festival here in the UK. Primal fear have played Bloodstock before at the indoor event, so to see them here was a nice surprise. Playing to a packed crowd of die hard Power Metal fans was also nice to see, the energy and power that this band gave was just electrifying. Ralf's sheer powerful voice made all the difference, so I can see why he was in the top list for the Judas Priest job when Rob first left the band. With twin guitar assault and pounding drums made this band the talk of one of the finest bands to the day. Songs played were: The intro, Sign Of Fear, Battalions Of Hate, Running In the Dust, Nuclear Fire, Chain Breaker, Fighting The Darkness, Final Embrace and Metal Is Forever. 

Next up was 'Soulfly', formed by Max Cavalera, who was the front-man for 'Sepultura' along with his brother Igor. Sepultura had a lot of success with Max as the front-man and today the band continue without Max. Soulfly were formed 97/98 when Max left his previous band and things were soon picking up for Max with this outfit. The band released their  self titled debut in 98 and the band have moved forward with a lot of success.  The debut album featured members of Fear Factory, Deftones, Dub War, Limp Bizkit. This was the first time for Soulfly to play Bloodstock, and even though the band have played Download before it was nice to see them at a up and growing festival like this one. Max and the boys delivered a solid set featuring songs old and new and of course some Sepultura songs too. Songs that they played were: Eye For An Eye, Blood Fire War Hate, Prophecy, Babylon, Chaos A.D., Ready Aim Fire, Beneath The Remains, Refuse/ Resist, just to name a few. Fans of Sepultura, Nailbomb, were in for a treat that day. Max and the boys delivered what they came to do, destroy!! 

Next up was 'Helloween', what can one say about these guys? Helloween are probably the godfathers of Speed Metal, hailing from Hamburg (Germany) these guys have been around since the early 80's and with their debut mini CD self titled which was released back in 1985 followed by their stunning debut and still a cult classic 'Walls Of Jericho' released back in 1985 This album opened out the doorways to more success and a bright future of this band. Originally fronted by Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray) with Markus Grosskopf (bass), Michael Weikath (guitar), Ingo Schwichtenberg (drums), the band went on to make lots of successful albums. Kai stopped doing the vocals and recruited vocalist Michael Kiske. The band recorded albums such as 'Keeper Of The Seven Keys -Pt.1 +2'. Kai left the band and was replaced by Roland Grapow (Masterplan). The bands current line-up is: Andi Deris  - ex Pink Cream 69 (vocals), Markus Grosskopf (bass), Michael Weikath (guitar), Sascha Gerstner (Guitar, Keyboards), and drummer Daniel Loble, ex Rawhead Rexx. See in the band at Bloodstock was a great and as always Helloween always put on a perfect performance. Andi's vocals are on top form and the band played well to a packed crowd of old and new metal heads alike. Some impressive twin guitar work here and double bass drumming make this band one of the finest acts around. So many musicians owe it to this band as one of their top influences. Tracks played were: March Of Time, As Long As I Fall, Eagle Fly Free, A Tale That Wasn't Right, If I Could Fly, Dr. Stein, Medley, Future World and I Want Out. Great band and well worth checking out!! Well the day was almost up, just 1 for act, headliners 'Opeth', a young but gifted act from Sweden, these 5 guys play a strange combination of music that does seem to work. If you like the likes of Pink Floyd meets Cradle Of Filth with hints of Dream Theather then you have Opeth. The band have released 9 albums to date, and I am pretty shocked to even know they have so many albums under their belt. The bands current line-up is: Mikael Akerfeldt (vocals/ guitar), Fredrik Akesson - Talisman/ Arch Enemy (guitar), Martin Mendez (Bass), Martin Axenrot (drums) and Per Wiberg (keyboards). These guys are great musicians that really do mix the 70's hippy feel of rock and prog rock with the darker side of such bands like Cradle and Bathory that does seem to mix well. By the time Opeth hit the stage the crowd were really looking forward to see in this act and I am not surprised to say the least. An impressive set to end a great opening day on the main stage. Songs played were: Demon of the Fall, The Baying Of The Hounds, Master's Apprentices, Serenity Painted Black, To Rid The Disease, Wreath, Heir Apparent, The Drapery Falls.

Saturday: 16th

Another nice day ahead, and the first band I caught on the main stage were Swedish Progressive Metaller's 'Cloudscape'. These 5 Swedish musician's have been around now since 2001 when the band rose from the ashes of a band under the name of 'Doctor Weird'. With 3 stunning studio albums under their  belt as Cloudscape, these been 'Cloudscape', 'Under The Crimson Skies' and their  awesome new album 'Global Drama' which was released in August 2008. The bands current line-up is: Mike Andersson (vocals), Bjorn Eliasson (guitar), Patrik Svard (guitar), Haynes Pherson (bass) and Roger Landin (drums), these 5 musician's have the perfect chemistry to make 1 hell of a great band. I was excited to see Cloudscape once again, the first time was at the ProgPower (UK) last year 2007 and to see them on an outdoor festival was something else. Playing a 30 minute set at 10.55am was interesting and rather early for a lot of drunken metal heads. Mike Andersson and the boys hit the stage to deliver an impressive set of Progressive Metal which could be compared to that of Queensryche, Pagans Mind, Fates Warning, Dream Theater and Yngwie Malmsteen. Great performance which included the following songs: Mind Dairy, And The The Rain, Will We Remain, Darkest Legacy, Breach In My Sanity, Under Fire. 

Next up was 'Communic', these 3 guys from Norway, are very impressive, playing Progressive Thrash Metal is something interesting to watch. Formed by former Scariot guitarist Oddleif Stensland, now the guitarist and vocalist for Communic was joined by Tor Atle Andersen (drums) and bassist Erik Mortensen. The band formed back in 2003 and released their debut album for Nuclear Blast in 2004/5 titled 'Conspiracy In Mind'. This debut album made rather a good impression within the metal scene mixing the likes of Nevermore meets Psychotic Waltz was something interesting and had to be heard. 

The question was, could they pull both bands off into 1? Yes they could and the band later on recorded 'Waves of Visual Decay' in 2006 which then led to the bands new album 'Payment of Existence' in 2008. Well this was also the 2nd time that Communic had played in the UK, like Cloudscape they were also at last years ProgPower UK and also impressed many fans alike back then. Today was their debut 1st open air here in the UK, and with fans watching on in anticipation the 3 really did pull of a decent set which lasted 40 minutes. There are some really impressive trio's who pull off live really well like Motorhead, Rage and so do Communic. Impressive material by a really good band. Songs played were: On Ancient  Ground. Payment Of Existence, Waves of Visual Decay, The Unpredictables Of Life, Raven's Cry. Next to hit the stage were 'Shallow The Sun', these Scandinavian Black Metal heads hit the stage to give the fans a real treat. Fast head banging metal music here and with Black Metal been so popular right now these guys added to the flavour. Songs they played were: Plague The Butterflies, Don't Fall Asleep, Descending Winter, Eluveitie, and many more.  

Next to hit the stage were 'Moonsorrow', who were formed back in 1995 in Finland by Ville Sorvali (vocals & bass) and Henri Sorvali (guitar & keyboards). The 2 brothers later on found other members and recorded several demos before their debut album was released. The current line-up is: Maitja Harvilahti (guitar), Markus Euren (Keyboards) and Marko Tarvonen (drums). 6 albums under their belts has to be said there no strangers to the metal scene. Playing Black Metal/ Viking Metal, in the typical Scandinavian style like Dimmu Borgir, Dissection, Cradle Of Filth, and so on.... Black Metal is very popular right now and the kids of today seem to be very influenced by this Black Metal (But hey kids its not real, all this Satan shit) so enjoy the music. There were plenty of Black Metal fans here to see this band so they must of been well known. They did however play an enjoyable set for 40 minutes, set included: Tulimyrsky pt.1, Ukkosenjumalan Poika, Kylän Päässä, Unohduksen Lapsi, Pakanajuhla, Sakaritarina(?), Tulimyrsky Pt.2.. 

Next up was 'Napalm Death', what can 1 say about the godfathers of Grindcore? if it wasn't for these guys then such bands like Terrorizer, Outrageous Pigs etc... would never of recorded any albums. Napalm Death started out in 1982 and released the album 'Scum' through Earache Records back in 1987 and the world changed for good. Napalm Death were the talk of the town and soon where featured on BBC2 with live and interviews which made the band even more popular. With 16 + releases under their belt does say a lot for this band. Napalm Death are a force to be reckoned with and I haven't seen the band live ina  few years now, my 1st time at an open air festival and a UK 1 is even more enjoyable on home soil!! With the band promoting 'Smear Campaign', released last year the band took time out for the studio where the new album is been recorded in Wales to attend this festival. Barney, Mitch, Shane, Danny all gave their best shot and made an explosive set list that shook the stage and with the crowd going nuts was was a sight to be seen. These guys still in their late 30s/ early 40's still manage to be the godfathers of Grindcore. Nothing will stop these guys and I look forward to hearing more from these bunch of noisy bastards!! Songs played were: Scum, The Kill, Suffer The Masses, and many more...  

Next up was Sweden's 'Soilwork', with this 5 piece releasing over 5 albums under their belt these guys have been around since 1997. The band have had a lot of success over the years and with Rob Halford (Judas Priest) also been a fan must say a lot if the Metal God likes these guys music. The band consist of: Speed (vocals), Ola Flink (bass), Sven Karlsson (keyboards), Dirk Verbeuren (drums), Peter Wichers (guitar), Sylvain Coudret (guitar). A 1 hour set of mind blowing Thrash/ Death Metal at it's best. If you're a fan of Fear Factory/ In Flames, and bands of that nature then you will like these guys. Songs played were: Nerve, Exile, Stabbing The Drama, and many more. Impressive stuff by a cool Swedish band. Next to hit the stage were U.S. Power Metal act 'Iced Earth', these guys have been around since the later 80's and went under the name of Purgatory, before changing their name to Iced Earth. Jon Schaffer is the only original member to date with several line-up changes over the years the band have had their fare share of guitarist and bassists come and go as well as drummers and vocalist. The band have had lots of success and they intend on having more success in the very near future. With Tim Owens (Judas Priest) now with Yngwie Malmsteen, Matt Barlow had returned to the ranks as the front man of Iced Earth. Joining Matt and Jon are: Brent Smedley ex Oracle (drums), Troy Seele (lead guitar) and bassist Freddie Vidales. I had the pleasure of see in the band at Graspop this year so I knew what to expect, but I have seen the band back in the 90's and on the Heaven & Hell tour last year. I think a lot of people wanted Matt back into the band, so when they hit the stage the fans cheered the band on. Lights hit the stage and so did the band and the crowd roared with joy and excitement. Matt delivered a powerful voice to that of his previous work and try hard at Tim's material, but didn't quiet hit the notes that Tim had hit. Both Jon and Troy delivered some nice melodic twin guitar tunes whereas, Brent and Freddie delivered a powerful rhythm section. Songs that they played were: Dark Saga, Vengeance is Mine, Burning Times, Declaraton Day, Violate, Ten Thousand Strong, The Coming Curse, Melancholy (Holy Martyr), My Own Savior, Iced Earth. Great band still going strong. Next was 'Dimmu Borgir', Norway's Black Metal premier act, who have influenced so many acts within the Black Metal scene. 6 guys here playing atmospheric Black Metal at it's best, some might say they are the Norwegian answer to Cradle Of Filth, but without less screaming vocals. That is something to be desired. I have to admit I'm not really into Black Metal, but there is something dark and sinister that appeals to me about this band in the last coming months, could I be turning to the dark side? haha!! Nevertheless, Dimmu Borgir are a good and very professional band. With 9 studio albums, certainly does say a lot about a band such as Dimmu Borgir. 1 hr and 30 minutes of exploding Black Metal with lots of Pryo's included made the stage an even more impressive sight to watch. Songs played were: Intro, Spellbound, In Death's Embrace, The Serpentine Offering, The Chosen Legacy, The Sinister Awakening, The Maelstorm Mephisto, Fundamental & Nation, A Succubus In Rapture, The Insight And The Catharsis, Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse, Mourning Palace, Perfection Of vanity and outro. A great band well worth checking out just for the stage presence if nothing else. 

Sunday: 17th

Last day of the festival, shame really as it was such a great year full of good bands. Nice weather made a good start to the day. Opening the main stage were 'Heavens Basement', these 5 guys from the south of the UK hit the stage to play to a reasonable crowd attendance considering it was 11am people were still rising out of their tents. I was rather impressed with their music, having not heard them before and I think I was more impressed with them. Mixing the likes of GNR's, Thunder, Led Zepplin was a pretty decent mix for a new up and coming band. A band that would of been a good support act for the likes of The Darkness. 30 minutes of hard rocking Hard Rock was here to set the whole day off. Looking at their image was like looking at a 80's Glam/ Sleeze Rock act. Songs they played were: Tear Your Heart Out, Saint Routine, Fear Of Getting Off, No Pity, Reign On My Parade, Executioners Day. next up yet another UK band form the south, this time it was a harder edge band under the name of 'Crowning Glory', formed in London back in April 2005, these 4 guys made a pretty impressive reaction to this years BOA. Playing Power Metal style metal with hints of old school metal too made their music pretty strong  stuff. The bands line up is: Robert Alexander (Vocals), Tom Draper (Lead Guitar),  Steve Parkyn (2nd Guitar), Nick Smith (Bass), Grant Eskriett (Drums). Mixing the likes of Judas Priest, Metallica, Primal Fear, WASP, Iron Maiden and so on seemed to jelly well together. Musically they are a good band and pretty solid at that. Songs they played were: intro, dead man's paradise, sands of time, crime, the devourer, winter in our blood, sea of dead dreams.

 Next up was 'Alestorm', now here's a band that I have never heard of before. I wasn't sure what to expect from this band. I wasn't sure what style of music they played, where're it been Viking, Celtic, or Black Metal. I guess I was wrong, what I did see and hear was Pirate Metal, oh my god its 'Running Wild' haha!! Under the jolly roger all repeated once more. The band consists of Christopher Bowes (Vocals and Keyboard), Tim Shaw (Lead & Rhythm Guitar), Dani Evans (Bass Guitar), Ian Wilson (drums). I really didn't know that they are very popular with lots of pirate flags within the crowd showed me just how popular these guys really are. That was an impressive start to a band I've never heard of before, and like myself Debs was also enjoying the show. Influenced by the likes of Manowar, Grave Digger, Bal-Sagoth, Korpiklaani, Blind Guardian to name a few certainly seemed to show through in their music. A decent and enjoyable band that played the following songs: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (intro), Over the Seas, Huntmaster, Death Before the Mast, Nancy the Tavern Wench, Set Sail and Conquer, Drum solo / Drunken Sailor, Terror on the High Seas, Wenches and Mead, Captain Morgan's Revenge. So check out these guys, and shiver me timbers me hearties!! 

Next up was Sweden Doom Metal merchants 'Grand Magus', these 3 guys have been together now since the late 90s/ 2000 and released their debut album in 2001 which was self titled. The band have recorded a further 3 albums to date. If you're a fan of Candlemass, Black Sabbath, Trouble, St. Vitus, Cathedral then you will love their music. It pretty much sums up the Doom scene as these guys performed a solid and pretty good set. With the band promoting their current album 'Wolf's Return' on Rise Above records. Decent vocals here which remind me of Candlemass meets St Vitus. Songs played were: Blood Oath, Like The Oar Strikes The Water, The Shadow Knows, Ulvaskall, I Am The North, Iron Will, and King Slayer. Nice to have a bit of Doom Metal on the stage for once. 

Next up was 'Mob Rules', a German Power Metal band, who have been around since the later 90's. The band consists of Arved Mannott (drums), Markus Brinkmann (bass), Sven Ludke (guitar), Klaus Dirks (vocals), Sascha Onnen (keyboards)  and Mattias Mineur (guitar). The band released their debut back in 1999 with  'Savage Land' through LMP Music. The band continued to deliver more melodic True/ Power Metal with such albums as 'Temple Of Two Suns', 'Hollowed Be Thy Name' and the bands current album 'Ethnolution A.D' which was released in 2006. The band have recorded 5 studio CDs and 1 live DVD to date. See in the band live once again after WOA 2000 was good to see them especially on UK shores. Playing to a packed crowd of die hard metal heads, these guys played a 40 minute set of impressive metal music. The band are great musicians and play well. Songs they played were: Ethnolution A.D, Unholy War, Ashes to Ashes,  Veil of Death, Fuel to the Fire, Last Farewell, Astral Hands (from the fourthcoming album), Black Rain, Hollowed Be Thy Name. Great band. 

Next up was 'Kataklysm', these U.S./ Canadian Death Metal act really caused devastation, what a performance of head banging mayhem from start to finish. Mixing the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Vader style of Death Metal was really good to see. Formed back in 1991 they released a now classic demo called Death Gate Cycle Of Reincarnation in 1992 that got world attention. After releasing their demo the world of metal took notice of this act and soon were signed to a metal label that would give the band what they so rightly deserved. Signing with Nuclear Blast the band released their mini CD titled 'The Mystical Gate Of Reincarnation' back in 1993. The band have recorded 12 CDs to date and 1 live DVD, so this band must be doing something right. Current line-up is: Maurizio Iacono - Vocals, Max Duhamel - Drums, Jean-François Dagenais - Guitars, Stéphane Barbe - Bass. Promoting their new album 'Prevail' is certainly topping the Death Metal charts. As I didn't see the whole set because I was interviewing Over Kill, I really can't tell you what the whole set was, but what I did see was awesome. A great Death Metal band well worth checking out!! 

Next up was 'As I Lay Dying'. 1 of Metal Blades acts to hit the stage, these guys from the U.S. seem to be very popular and as the day went on when they did hit the stage the crowd love their music and went nuts. Although we were not sure if the band would make the show in time due to problems at France customs, the band  just made it in time to play their set. if you like the likes of Killswitch Engage, Bullet For My Valentine, and heavier bands like Malevolent Creation then I am sure you will enjoy these guys. I just found out there playing in my home city in 2wks so I'm gonna check that out!! The bands line-up is: Nick Hipa: Guitar, Jordan Mancino: Drums, Phil Sgrosso: Guitar, Tim Lambesis (vocals) also in Austrian Death Machine. These guys played a heavy and fast set just like Kataklysm so having seen these guys it was a good solid set. Some songs they played were: Confined, Forever, Through Struggle, The Sound Of Truth, Nothing Left. Great band  and more to come from these guys soon here in the UK. 

Next up was the mighty 'Over Kill', the band that I had been waiting to see all weekend. What can 1 say about the finest Thrash Metal band ever?? Since the early 80's they have influenced so many bands within the Thrash movement. Bobby and D.D. are the nuclearous within the band that drive them to a totally devastating effect on stage. With Bobby's hardcore edge voice and D.D. heavy bass sound you certainly know that it is Over Kill been played. Since the bands debut album 'Feel The Fire', the band have just gone from strength to strength and with albums like 'Taking Over', 'Under The Influence', 'Years Of Decay' and newer albums like 'Horrorscope', 'Killbox 13' and now the bands most recent album 'Immortalis' the strength of this band could never be stronger. The crowd had never seen Over Kill play an open air festival here in the UK and if I'm right the last festival they played was in 1988 at the Christmas On Earth gig in Leeds with Megadeth and more... So to see such an awesome act playing to an open air crowd was something else. The bands current line-up is: Dave Linsk (guitar), Derek Tailer (guitar) and Ron Lipnicki (drums), these guys cause total devastation to any stage. 1 hour of total Thrash attack and the crowd just went total ape shit when they hit the stage. Every moment was just amazing, playing some old hard hitting tunes with some newer tunes made this 1 hell of a gig. There was one hell of a mosh pit when they hit the stage, just  amazing to see live!! Songs played were: Necroshine, Thanks For Nothing,  Rotten To The Core, Bastard Nation, Skull & Bones, Hello From The Gutter, Wrecking Crew, Horroscope, (guitar solo), Let It Burn, Old School, Elimination, Fuck You. These guys should of headlined the Sunday, no doubt about that and I know other people also said the same. Over Kill don't give a fuck, they are and will always be the best Thrash band ever!! 

Next up ' At The Gates', these Swedish Death Metaller's were 1 of the godfathers of the Swedish Death Metal movement along side Entombed back in the 90's. After breaking up in 96 both brothers Jonas Bjorler and Anders Bjorler formed The Haunted. Thomas Linberg vocalist joined Lock Up with Napalm Death bassist. The band recorded their debut album in 92 'The Red In The Sky Is Ours' and later on recorded such albums as 'Terminal Spirit Disease' in 94 and their last CD 'Slaughter The Souls' in 95. Now the band reformed in 2007 playing festivals like Graspop, Sweden Rock, Gods Of Metal and so on.... It was an honor to see the band hit the shores of the UK once again and for so many young kids who have never seen the band but look up to them finally see their idols. These guys put a great show on for their die hard fans who had waited such a long time to see them once again. Another 1 hour set here, song splayed were: Slaughter Of The Souls, Cold, Under A Serpents Sun, Nausea, Terminal Sprit Disease, Need, Suicide Nation, and more more. 

Death Metal at its best. Last band of the whole day was 'Nightwish'. these Finnish Operatic Metal act have been around for so many years had have built up a massive crowd following which were formed back in 96 by Tarot bassist Marko Hietala, along side Tuomas Holopainen (keyboards), Erno Vuorinen (guitar), Jukka Nevalainen (drums) and Tarja Turunen (vocals). Tarja left the band to go on her solo career and was replaced by Anette Olzon. The band have recorded 7 albums, 3 DVDs to date. Their new album 'dark Passion Play' sees the band in a new light with new singer Anette, who looks like Bjorg and dances like a cabaret singer or somebody on a cruise ship. It all seems rather funny watching her on stage. Having said that they are a good live band that appeal to the younger generation of Metal and Goth style fans. The performance was good with lots of pyros to give the band more of a impressive stage presence. 1 hour and 30 minutes here, which most were delighted with. I myself am not a great fan of these female fronted band, I much prefer bands like Doro, a real Metal Queen!!! Songs that they played were: Nemo, Bye Bye Beautiful, Amaranth, I Wish I Had an Angel, Wish Master, Dark Chest Of Wonders, 7 Days Of The Wolves, The Poet & The Pendulum, and many more played. What a great year this was and I hope to see a strong line-up next year if not a stronger 1. The UK's best metal festival!! Be there next year.

   - Sheffield Academy (UK) 13.7.08  

Well it's been a few good years since I last saw the mighty Yngwie Malmsteen (guitar god), to these shores. I must of been on the Magnum Opus tour with Mike Vescera on vocals. I know that Yngwie has been to these shores since that tour, but really never played on my neck of the woods until now. With Yngwies career starting out with 'Steeler' feauring Ron Keel (Keel), not to be confused with the German metal band, they released 1 album for Mike Varneys label (Shrapnel). This was the start of a long and promising career for Yngwie Malmsteen from Sweden. Moving on from Steeler came Alcaltraz featuring Graham Bonnet. Since his days of his solo career, Yngwie started his solo career with 'Rising Force' back in 1984, then later on front man Jeff Scott Soto (Talisman) for 'Marching Out'. Yngwie has come along way since his early days, with various singers along the ways such as Mark Boals, Edman Gorman, Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple/ Rainbow), Mike Vescera, Doogie White (Corner Stone) and so on... Now Yngwie has the awesome former Iced Earth and Judas Priest front man Tim (Ripper) Owens, who also fronts Beyond Fear. There is no doubt about it that Tim is a perfect choice for Yngwie, as he has such a varied vocal range, the best has come for Yngwie. I can't wait to hear his next solo album with Tim on vocals, that's going be something special. Sheffield Academy is where tonites show is been held, a new place for concerts with some big names coming soon. I rather thought the venue was pretty decent to be honest and tonites show had a good turn out. With no support act and 1 hour and a half set of pure classic Yngwie material spanning tunes from his debut right up to his later material (Mark Boals/ Edman/ Joe Lynn Turner). Yngwie's guitar work is still incredibly awesome and as 1 of the godfathers of guitar wizards along side Uli Jon Roth, Richie Blackmore, he creates such music with passion and with a lot of classical elements. Joining Yngwie and Tim are: Patrick Johnsson (Drums), Michael Troy (Keyboards), and bassist Bjorn Englen. These 5 guys are a solid and tight unit. The crowd just loved what was yet to be played and with Yngwie having a stage almost full of Marshall amps, was truly a full of metal show. There is not anything that Tim can't do and I feel that iced Earth have certainly lost out, and maybe even Judas Priest for that matter. Tim is a force to be reckoned with and I advice Yngwie to hang on to his very talented singer. He is the voice of the future!! Tim showed us just how powerful a vocal range he has with such songs like 'I'll See The Light Tonight', 'You Don't Remember- I'll Never Forget', and my all time favourite song 'I Am A Viking'. Set list included: Rising Force/Crown Of Thorns/Bandiniere/Rise Up/Pag/Adagio/Far Beyond The Sun/I Am A Viking/Dreaming/Gates Of Babylon/Baroque & Roll/Demon Driver/Trilogy-Guitar Solo/Cherokee Warrior/The Fugue/You Don't Remember (I'll Never Forget). Encores included: Black Star/I See The Light Tonight. A great night by still one of the top guitarist in the world!! Rock on man!!!

  Graspop  Festival   (Belgium)  27-28-29 June 2008   

This year has had it's fair share of decent festivals, with Wacken, Bloodstock and now Graspop. I have to say that this years Graspop is by far the best line-up of any festival in Europe. This was my first time to the festival and I have to say I was very impressed with the line-up, and the whole layout of the festival as well as the organization of the whole thing. I can se why so many bands have played Graspop over the years with all types of Metal music including Slipknot, Dream Theater, and so on... It's just one big massive Heavy Metal family. I could not fault any of the bands that I saw live this year, even if I didn't like some of them, there were so many bands to see and choose from. At times it was very difficult to catch 2 bands playing the same time at different stages which is a pain in the ass, but sometimes this happens. The weather was fine, very warm and only rained for a couple of hours, so that made the festival a lot more enjoyable. Arriving on the Thursday just to get my tent up in fine weather was a bonus, so I was ready to get on and see some awesome bands.

Friday 27th: 

After waking up early I proceeded to head for the main arena and check out the first band on the main stage, this been 'Tesla', a band from way back in the later 80's early 90's who released some impressive albums for Geffen Records. These 5 guys from the U.S. hit the stage and delivered a powerful opening set of hard rocking Rock/ Metal which was an impressive set. Playing songs from the debut and later on albums the band couldn't of been a most perfect opening act for the main stage. Song thats Tesla played were: Comin Atcha Live, Into The Now, Gettin Better, Little Suzi, Hang Tough, Heavens Trail (No Way Out), Love Song, Signs, Modern Day Cowboy. Telsa are a great band and well wroth check out!! Next to hit the stage was 'Yngwie Malmsteen', this Swedish guitar hero has influenced so many bands and guitarist from around the world. The man himself has released so many classic albums such as 'Trilogy', 'Marching Out', 'Odyssey' , 'Fire & Ice, and later on such albums as 'War To End All Wars', and 'Attack', 'Unleash The Fury'. Now the man is back with a new singer Tim 'Ripper' Owens (Judas Priest/ Iced Earth/ Beyond Fear), who replaces Doogie White (Cornerstone). I have to say I wasn't sure how well Tim would be suited to Yngwie's music, especially if his guitar work and just how wrong was I. He pulled it off so well, hats off to Tim. I really can't wait to hear the next Yngwie album. With the new album to be released later this year titled 'Perpetual Flame', this album I am sure will kick you right in your balls with force!! Joining Yngwie for the tour was Bjorn Englen (bass) and keyboard player Michael Troy. As always Yngwie hits the stage and bursts into a full on guitar swirling sound and twists and turns, which is all very well but at times he does play too may guitar solo's and not enough songs. This set was impressive but like I just said too much guitar wanking and not enough songs, which was a real shame and I and many others would of loved to of seen at least 2 more songs in his set. At one point Yngwie did smash his guitar up and throw it into the crowd with was a added bonus and rather amusing. Songs that he did included were:  Rising Force/Crown Of  Thorns/Bandiniere/Rise Up/Pag/Adagio/Far Beyond The Sun/I Am A Viking/Dreaming/Gates Of Babylon/Baroque & Roll/Demon Driver, The Fugue/You Don't Remember (I'll Never Forget). Yngwie is a guitar god but need to calm down with his solos and concentrate more on songs instead of guitar wanking on stage. Next to hit the stage were one of the UK finest metal act's 'Saxon'. Biff and the boys have been around since the late 70's/ early 80's releasing some classic albums that have inspired so many bands and fans from around the world. With the likes of 'Saxon' released back in 1979 and later albums such as 'Wheels Of Steel, 'Denim & Leather' , 'Dogs Of War', 'Metal Head', 'Killing Ground' and the bands current album 'Inner Sanctum', which is a very successful album with more albums to follow in the near future. Saxon hit the stage to deliver a powerful set which saw fans from all around the world come together and praise such a highly successful band. Playing for 1 hr the band delivered some classic songs from the past as well as songs from their current album. Biff, Nibbs, Nigel, Paul and Doug gave the crowd what they wanted and left the stage with the fans crying out for me.  Songs that the band played were: The Bands Played On, 747 Strangers In The Night, Dogs Of War, Cut Out The Disease, Unleash The Beast, Killing Ground, Dragon's Lair, Court Of The Crimson King, Metal Head. A awesome and 1 of the finest UK bands around!! Next up was 'Def Leppard', another UK band, this time from Sheffield. Yorkshire has had 2 bands on today so were doing really well haha!!! Def Leppard, are very successful and in their early days were more of a metal band, but more so now a commercial band which is a shame. I guess they feel a lot more comfortable playing more commercial material these days. Nevertheless, they did hit the stage and they received a warm and welcoming applause from the crowd. I have to say I am not too familiar with a lot of the bands commercial work but from what I can gather they played their classics such as: Photograph, Animal, Rocket, Pour Some Sugar On Me, Armageddon It, Hysteria, Make Love Like A Man, Lets Get Rocked, just to name a few. A god performance from a good hard working rock band. Next up was yet another UK band, this time around it was 'Whitesnake'. I have only had the pleasure of see in the band once at Wacken 2006, so it was nice to see the band once again. Mr Coverdale and co were about to hit the stage as it was beginning to become dusk and I was really looking forward to see in them again. As ever Dave Coverdale and co did an excellent performance from start to finish and playing songs from their latest album 'Good To Be Bad' was yet another step forward in the history of Whitesnake's career. Whitesnake have always appeared to a lot of Hard Rock fans and Metal fans world-wide. There finest album has to be 1987, what an awesome release that was. We had 1hoiur and 15 minutes of hard hitting rock/ blues and metal here. some of the songs they played were: Fool For Your Loving, Here I go Again, Is This Love, Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City, Bad Boys, Crying In The Rain, Judgement Day, Looking For Love, Stormbringer, Walking In The Shadows Of The Blues, Good To Be Bad and many more. A great band with still more to come in the future. Next up was the mighty 'Judas Priest', I had been waiting all day to see these guys, as they are my favourite band. Rob Halford, K.K. Downing, Glen Tipton, Ian Hill & Scott Travis were ready to give the crowd 1 hour and 30 minutes of hard hitting pure metal. I am sure there would of been a lot of hungry die hard fans like myself waiting to see the band and with the release of their new album 'Nostradamus', a fine concept album just been released we were all looking forward to see in what songs they played live from that album. I have to say they only played 2 songs from their current new album, which was s shame but the band have so many songs to choose from. I have to say that they did play songs that I was at least expecting and was a pleasant surprise to say the least. This band have inspired so many bands and fans world-wide for so many years now. Along side the likes of Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Saxon, Priest are without doubt 1 of the finest, if not the finest metal act ever. This was a great opening day and with a line-up like today the rest of the weekend was just so perfect. Priest played such songs as: Prophecy, Death, Revolution, Exciter, Dissident Aggressor, The Ripper, Hell Bent For Leather, Sinner, Breaking The Law, Hell Petrol, Angel, Electric Eye, Rock Hard Ride Free, Painkiller, The Green Manalishi, You've Got Another Thing Coming. Still one of the great metal acts around live, so if you haven't seen them yet I suggest you do so!! Long live the Metal Gods!!! Other band I saw live on Friday was 'Symphony X', hailing from New Jersey (U.S.A.), these guys really don't need an introduction now do they? For those who don't know the band well I will enlighten you. These 5 guys are excellent musicians playing some very impressive Progressive Power Metal, which remind me of across between Pantera, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dream Theater. So I think you get the picture. Symphony X played an impressive and powerful set for 45 minutes, a shame they really never played for 1 hour. Nevertheless, what the band did play in the Marquee tent was 45 minutes of pure in your face metal and what an incredible set they played. Songs that they did play were: Inferno (Unleash The Fire), Wicked, Smoke and Mirrors, Pharaoh, The Eyes of Medusa, The Damnation Game, Set the World on Fire (The Lie of Lies), The Serpent's Kiss & Domination. One hell of a great band.

Saturday 28th:

First to hit the stage for me was the bay area thrasher's 'Forbidden', god I haven't seen these guys live since 1990 and it was so good to see the band live. The line-up was almost the 5 original members, but with Paul now been in Testament it was hard for him to also do the Forbidden set too. All Russ, Glenn, Craig, Matt of the original line-up proved that they still could pull it off after so many years. With a new drummer who is also in Vio-Lence, the band were so strong and yet so powerful. The band played a 30-40 minute set of pure hard hitting Thrash Metal they way it was intended to sound just like they did back in the day. Hitting the stage and delivering a set of songs from the album 'Forbidden Evil' & 'Twisted Into Form' was such a great sight and sound to see. Not to forget the songs from other album that were included in the set from the 'Green' & 'Distortion'. Some songs that the band played that day were: Chalice Of Blood, Through Eyes of Glass, Off the Edge, March into Fire, Step by Step, Infinite, Out of Body (Out Of Mind), just to name a few. They are and will always be a fine Thrash band that I highly recommend. Next up was U.S. Sci-Fi Thrasher's 'Agent Steel', this is one band that I really love to hear and see live. There set was played in the marquee tent, packed full of raging thrashers all from around the world. Bruce, Bernie, Rigo, Robert and Juan hit the stage to deliver one of the finest sets of today. These guys have been around since the early 80's and with Juan been the only original member left he has managed to keep the band alive. Since the debut album Bernie joined and the 2 of them kept the band alive for several years. That was until the band broke up and Juan formed Evil Dead. Now there back and a reunion show at Wacken 1999 saw the band back on form. Today was no exception as they played a 50 minute set of hard hitting Thrash with Bruce's high screaming vocals, Bernie and Juans twin guitar assault and the power of Rigo and Robs rhythm section made all the difference. These guys are awesome live and playing such songs as: Mad Locust Rising, Bleed For The Gods, Children of the Sun, Guilty as Charged, Fashioned From Dust, Never Surrender, Unstoppable Force, Know Your Master, Illuminati Is Machine, Ten Fists Of Nations, Wash the Planet Clean. I would love to see them on tour with Forbidden and testament. Great band, long live Agent Steel!! Next up was, 'Sonata Arctica', hailing from Finland, these Symphonic Power/ True Metal guys are pretty good at what they do. They have continued to release several albums to date and toured the UK with Pagans Mind earlier this year. If you're a  fan of Stratovarius, Helloween, Rhapsody Of Fire then I am sure this band will appeal to you. With the release of 7 albums does suggest they have rather a cult following. I have to admit I real am not a fan of this type of Symphonic Metal, all pretty much sounds the same to me. Despite that they are excellent musicians. These guys played for 1 hour and 5 minutes. The crowd loved them and with the release of their new album 'Unia' released in 2007 the band hit the stage to play some melodic metal from start to finish. Next up was 'Iced Earth', with the band been such a success since the early days when the band released their debut album back in 1991, the band have never looked back. The band have released a few successful album such as 'The Dark Saga', 'Burnt Offerings', ''The Glorious Burden', 'Framing Armageddon' and now their current album 'The Crucible Of Man'. Main man Jon Schaffer still carries the flag for the band. Without the help of Tim Owens, Iced Earth would not be where they are today. It was also nice to see Matt Barlow back to the front man status. Only thing was that Matt's voice is not strong enough to handle Tim's material, but Tim could handle Matt's material. Of course Iced Earth did a great job and the crowd really did enjoy what the band played for them. Some songs that were included in the bands et were: Iced Earth, The Path I Choose, Pure Evil, Dante's Inferno, I Died for You, Vengeance is Mine, Melancholy, Blessed Are You, Dracula, Declaration Day, The Reckoning and so on... A good band that still manages to keep the power of Power/ Speed Metal alive. Next up was 'Kiss', as we all know that Kiss have a history that spans for over 20yrs and have influenced so many acts both in the Rock and Metal world. I have to admit I have never been a fan of their work, I feel they are totally overrated to say the least. Yes of course they are great performers and have an incredible live show and set. I have to say the shows was amazing despite me not been a fan at all, and I knew they did a great stage for the fans. Gene, Paul, Bruce, and Peter did the crowd justice with their outstanding showmanship. Some of the songs that I did recognize were: Deuce, Cold Gin, Black Diamond, Hotter Than Hell, Rock And Roll All Nite, Detroit Rock City, Shout It Out Loud, God Of Thunder, Caling Dr. Love, Love 'Em And Leave 'Em, Love Gun, I Love It Loud, Lick It Up, I've Had Enough, Heaven's On Fire, Crazy Crazy Nights, jst to name a few. Kiss do what they do best and that's entertain. What a great day that was.

Sunday 29th:

Yet another day of mayhem and chaos with more head banging bands ahead. Today was not an early rise, so I didn't get to the festival till about 1.40pm. So the first band I caught live was 'Apocalyptica', a band from Finland, who are 4 musician's who play the cello's and a drummer. These guys I have seen before back at the Dynamo festival back in 1999 when they played on the main stage just before Metallica hit the stage. Playing songs by Metallica but with cello's was something different and rather funny to watch even though they are impressive to watch. Now it was time to catch the band almost 10yrs later at Graspop. With 7 releases under their belt this band certainly mean business. Still the band play their classic style of metal with a drummer of course. But you really have to admire what they do is very good. Playing songs from most of their albums including Enter Sandman, Master Of Puppets, and Sepultura's 'We Shall Arise' amongst other was very impressive for me. Love their material. Next to hit the stage for me was Welsh metaller's 'Bullet For My Valentine'. These 4 guys from the UK have really started to make it big with their current album 'Scream, Aim, Fire' which was released on Sony earlier this year. I have to admit that I really wasn't a fan or really paid much attention to this style of music, but I have become rather found of these guys in the last 8 months. I guess it's all down to my girlfriend, so it's her I have to thank (thanx Debs). The band released a mini CD which was followed up by 'The Poison' which saw the band been featured in Kerrang, Metal Hammer and so on.... Success is what the band have now. Playing with the likes of Metallica and many other acts the Welsh rockers were about to hit the stage at Graspop. I have to say I was looking forward to see in this act and I have to say that they were impressive. Playing songs from their mini CD, debut and latest album was a really good set list of pure Nu-age Thrash Metal. At times the band remind me of across between At The Gates, In Flames, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden and of course Metallica. Songs that the band played were: 4 Words, Her Voice Resides, Tears Don't Fall, Room 409, Hit The Floor, Cries in Vain, Hand Of Blood, Scream Aim Fire, Eye Of The Storm, Say Goodnight, Hearts Burst Into Fire and a few more. I have to admit that these guys are good at what they do, so check them out!! Next up was 'Avenged Sevenfold', these 5 guys from the U.S.A. are becoming very popular with the kids of today with their Misfit's image meets the L.A. Glam scene style, kind of like L.A. Guns, but their music is melodic and hard at times. They remind me of Metallica, Misfits, Killswitch Engaged and a bands of that nature. Playing with the likes of Iron Maiden on their recent tour gave the band a bigger following and the same could be said for Maiden having Avenged fans on board too. With the release of 4 albums under their belt and their recent album which is self titled released back in 2007 they are becoming yet another band of the future. Their style is not my kind of thing but there are some impressive guitar riffs and strong hard hitting music too. I cant really say I no any of their songs so I can't inform you to what they played live - sorry!! Still if this is you're type of metal then check them out. Next up was 'In Flames', these Swedish Thrash/ Death metaller's have become more successful over the years playing with the likes of Motorhead & Judas Priest gave the band a high step up the ladder to success. With 10 studio albums under their belts you can see why the band are becoming more successful now. In Flames are not the original Swedish Death Metal band, but if you look at the likes of Entombed and At The Gates you can see why In Flames have become a success today. With the release of the band latest album 'A Sense Of Purpose', which was released through Nuclear Blast things couldn't be brighter for the band. The band played an impressive 1hr and 10 minute set of exploding metal form start to finish. Some of the songs played were: Disconnected, Delight and Angers, The Chosen Pessimist, Condemned, Dead End, Leeches, Crawl Through Knives, Pacing Death's Trail, My Sweet Shadow, Evil In A Closet, Drifter, and many more, some as old as tracks from their debut album 'Jesters Race'. Next up was 'Arch Enemy', these awesome musician's is more my kind of cup of tea, fronted my Angela Gossow with her impressive and brutal vocals, which at times is rather scary because if you didn't know it was a woman you would think it was a male doing the vocals. Angela has a very aggressive and brutal voice which is very powerful to say the least. With Mike and Chris Amott handling the twin guitars with their awesome work makes all the difference. Lets not forget Sharlee's bass and Daniels very impressive drum work. These guys played the Marquee tent and it was packed, which didn't surprise me at all!! they played a 1hr set of brutal in your face Death/ Thrash Metal. I really have to say these guys have it made, their just fucking awesome musicians. Some songs they played were: Bury Me An Angel, Let The Killing Begin, Seed Of Hate, Burning Bridges, Burning Angel, Ravenous, Dead Bury Their Dead, The First Deadly Sin, We Will Rise, Dead Eyes See No Future, My Apocalypse, Nemesis, The Last Enemy, Rise of the Tyrant. One of the finest bands around for this style of music, check them out. Next and last was the mighty 'Iron Maiden', what can one say about these 6 lads from London (UK). Since the early 80's Iron Maiden have become one of the most influenced bands in Metal alike. Steve Harris and co deliver a hard hitting set list of fine British Heavy Metal that so many people like. You can certainly tell when you hear these guys by their unique style and Steve's bass sound pretty much sums up Iron Maiden. With 14 studio albums and several line CD's there is no stopping these guys, like Motorhead, Priest, these guys will carry on till the end. Maiden have always had an impressive stage set and really do give the crowd value for money. With night falling and an impressive Egyptian stage and of course Eddie on board this was a night to remember. 3 guitar players on stage too, but to be honest you really can't hear the 3rd one really. The crowd loved the set list and I am sure the band also loved playing in front of 1000's of screaming metal maniacs. Some of the songs played were: 2 Minutes To Midnight, Run For The Hills, Aces High, The Trooper, Wasted Years, Children of The Damned, The Number Of The Beast, Phantom of The Opera, The Evil That Men Do, Wrathchild, Can I Play With Madness, Iron Maiden, Hallowed Be Thy Name, and many more classics. There is no doubt that Iron Maiden are 1 of the finest live acts around. All in all, this was properly the best festival in Europe this year, what a fine weekend, full of hard hitting metal acts all brought together for a festive weekend. Go to Graspop next year, it's fucking awesome!!!!

     - Manchester Academy (UK)  15.6.08  

Well it's been a long time since I last saw Queensryche, for me it was 'The Promise Land' tour in Leeds back in the 90's. My first tour I saw the band on was on 'The Warning' tour back in 84 as support to Dio, now what a  gig that was and at the age of 14!! I've also seen the band on the 'Empire' tour, so see in the band this year was a night I had to check them out!!! I remember the first Operation Mindcrime came out and it totally blow my mind, not in a good way, but in 1 strange and fucked up way. This was an album that I found hard to get into with all the talking in between all the songs, it took me a long time to adjust to this album. Having said that, when I finally got into the debut Operation... album it did grow on me. Now the time was right to say the Ryche in all their glory and tonight was no exception!!

What you have here, is a 3 hour set of mind blowing pure wall street Operatic/ Prog metal straight from the hearts of Queensryche to their dedicated fans. Having seen the 'Mindcrime At The Moore' DVD, I was excited to see this awesome set and show for myself.  The Ryche certainly did deliver the good with 100% full passion that they delivered to their loyal fans that night. Opening with the full set of Mindcrime 1, Tate, Rockenfield, Stone, Jackson & Wilton played their hearts out to a excited fun packed audience as well as Pamela Moore, who's talented vocals and stage performance made all the difference. Geoff Tate, is not only a awesome singer, but a great actor too, as you might of seen live or on the DVD. There's not denying that Geoff could be a great actor if given the chance. MIke Stone & Wilton delivered some awesome guitar work between them, whereas, Eddie Jackson & Scott Rockenfield delivered a powerful rhythm section. All the songs from the first Mindcrime album were delivered in the 1st 1.30 minute set, a superb first half.  Next up was the Operation Mindcrime Pt.2, yet another heavy going album on the ears, but still enjoyable to say the least and features Dio on the album as guest vocalist. Still a little bit like the debut Mindcrime album, but with more of a different direction and I have to say this band are very political to say the least. They really do hate the U.S. government, are the ryche on the U.S. government hit list?  Again a great 2nd half set with various costume changes and various actors made this a great live show. One of the best I've seen in a long time. The ryche are back and better than ever, only wish they would release 'The Warning' Pt.2, what a fucking awesome album that was!! Now Heavy metal has a new meaning with these boys delivering a Metal musical!!

-  Yardbirds Club Grimsby  (UK)  4.12.07   

Who would ever think of Joey Belladonna (Anthrax) would tour here in the UK with his own band, yet alone playing Grimsby of all places!! I was rather shocked to hear he was playing in Grimsby. I had set myself on see in him in Leeds until I found out he was playing nearer to home. Joey Belladonna is and will always be the best singer Anthrax will ever have. Joining the band for the 'Armed & Dangerous' mini CD which was released back in the mid 80's, Joey's most successful album with Anthrax has to be either 'Spreading The Disease' or 'Among The Living'. I prefer 'Spreading The Disease' in my opinion. Joey has such a great range in his vocals and can perform a wide range of vocals notes from low to high. Since the reformed Anthrax back in 2005/6 the band toured last year with Beyond Fear here in the UK/ Europe and also played Download festival amongst others. Rumors of the re-formed Anthrax were do record an album with Nuclear Blast seem pretty unlikely right now, which is a shame. Lets hope Joey and the boys record together in 2008. Either way Joey will release a new album with Anthrax or with his own band. This 4 piece consists of R.C Ciejek on Bass, Paul Marciano on drums, Robb Lotta on guitar and Joey Belladonna on vocals. It is the 1st time I had visited the Yardbirds club in Grimsby and I wasn't too sure what to expect and how many people would turn out. I thought Hull might of got a shot at Belladonna playing too, but there you go. I was pleasantly surprised on how many turned up and what sort of crowd reaction the band would receive and I have to say I was shocked!! About 100 + crowd turned up and who were hungry die hard metal heads and Anthrax fans alike. It was also good to see that the band hung out with the crowd before and after the show, not like rock stars and Joey and the boys were totally cool guys!! As this was my last gig for 2008 I knew Joey would delivery an awesome set of his own material as well as Anthrax classics. 100 screaming metal heads were hungry to see the band live and what a great and awesome set the band played. Joey and the boys were impressed with the crowds reaction that I am sure he will return to Grimsby in the near future. AT one point I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with the band when they played 'Madhouse', why? Well my name is Mr. Brown and as the album version of that song as the intro 'Its time for your medication Mr. Brown' followed by a laugh, I was invited to do the whole intro for the song, how fucking cool haha!!! Thanx guys!!! What a great show, a band worth checking out and I wish them the best of luck for 2008. Set list for the night included: Hard Life, Can't Erase It, Live It Up To You, Rob U Blind, Mad House (Featuring me), Medusa, Caught In A Mosh, Anti Social, Blunt Man, Helps On The Way, Injun, Got The Time, N.F.L., I Am The Law, Indians, and Metal Thrashing Mad. What a fucking cool night, great venue and awesome band too.


     -  Leeds Rio's 13.11.07  (UK)          

Well this was my 3rd time to the new Rios club which is now held in Leeds and I'm still trying to get use to the venue and stage. I'm sure in time I will get to grips with is, but I do feel that they do need more stage lighting because half the time you really cant see the bands too well, especially the drummers. Anyway getting on with the show..., it's been about 16 years since I last was 'Onslaught' the first time around on the 'Search Of Sanity' tour until last year when I saw the re-union tour at Bloodstocks festival, which the band took the crowd by storm and what an awesome show that was!! Yeah this is one of the few old school UK thrash bands along side Sabbat who can really get the crowd going. I was really looking forward to this show and the crowd were really getting into this show. This is a great line-up of 2 classic Thrash acts from the 80's. First up was Onslaught, these 5 guys from Bristol were ready to kick ass like they did at Bloodstock and tonight was yet another kick ass live performance. With the band releasing their current album titled 'Killing Peace' is a great comeback album which is full of hard hitting Thrash tunes. From the beginning of the bands set to the end the crowd love them and plenty of head banging and thrashing was certainly in place. Songs played that night were: Killing Peace, Let There Be Death, Angels Of Death, Metal Forces, Twisted Jesus, Seeds Of Hate, Demoniac, Burn & Power From Hell. If you ever get to check out this band live I suggest you do so!!! These guys certainly have some powers from hell!!

Now was time for the mighty German Thrash act, this been 'Destruction', these guys have been around since the mid 80's and have influenced so many bands from around the world. Starting out as a 3 piece before coming a 4 piece the band have had several line-up changes. With the band releasing 9 full length albums and 4 mini CDs, 1 live CD and 1 DVD, you can certainly see just how successful the band are. Ever since the band released their debut mini CD titled 'Sentence Of Death' which was released back in 1984 the band have not looked back. Fronted by Schmier, who at one point left the band to form Head Hunter, returned back to the band when the band reformed back in All Hell break Loose' back in 2000. Since then the band released 'The Antichrist' in 01, 'Metal Discharge' in 03 and 'Inventor Of Evil' in 05. The bands most recent album 'Thrash Anthems' released in 07 sees the bands classic tunes from the 80's re-recorded which the bands current line-up been Schmier, Mike and Marc is a truly awesome album of old tunes re-recorded with a more powerful and cleaner sound. Some of the tunes of course may differ from that of the original versions. Anyhow, getting on with the show, tonight was a great performance by 1 of the greatest German Thrash bands along side Kreator and Sodom, these 3 bands are the biggest Thrash bands out of Germany to influence so many bands from around the world. Schmier and the boys hit the stage to 'Curse Of The Gods', 1 of the bands best songs in my opinion was a great opening tune which really got the crowd going. The night just got better and better with a great variation of old and new songs by the band, mainly the classic. For a power trio, these guy are not to be messed with, a truly kick fucking ass live band that I recommend to check them out live. Songs that the band played were: Nailed To The Cross, Eternal Devastation, Live Without Sense, Defiance/ Death Trap, Thrash Till Death, Anti Christ/ Release From Agony, Soul Collector, Total Disaster, Bestial Invasion, and The Butcher Strikes Back. What a great live band, hail Destruction long may they reign!!! Support the band before the butcher striker back!!!

     -  Sheffield Arena  7.11.07   (UK)       Heaven & Hell

Most of you out there would already seen the might Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio back in the day, unfortunately I didn't get the change for some unknown reason but I am happy to say I have now, and it's always better later then never!!! Sabbath have such a massive success rating with just to how many bands these guys have influenced weather it been with Ozzy, Dio, or Tony Martin or Glenn Hughes, the matter of the fact is that Sabbath like Priest, Maiden, Motorhead are the pioneers of Metal. With the release of 'Heaven & Hell', 'The Mob Rules' been the most successful Dio era albums it was only a matter of time before the band would return with this classic line-up. 

First band to hit the stage with a very ego crowd was 'Iced Earth', these Power Metaller's have been around since the mid 80's under the name of 'Purgatory', before changing their name to 'Iced Earth'. Lead by founder member Jon Schaffer, who has keep this band together for so many years you really have to respect this guys attitude and determination. Joining Jon is former Winters Bane/ Judas Priest frontman Tim (Ripper) Owens on vocals, and what an awesome job Tim does for Iced Earth. With his soaring vocals and screams are well adapted to iced Earth's music. Along with Tim & Jon is Brent Smedly back on the drums, along with Dennis Hayes & Troy Seele who are a great addition to the line-up. I really had to feel sorry for Iced Earth, because I really feel that this band should of been on the bill as 2nd act and not Lamb Of God. OK, so Lamb Of God have had success at Ozzfest, but Iced Earth have been around for years and besides they also have former Priest frontman in the band. 

They really should of been 2nd on the bill. Nevertheless, Iced Earth hit the stage playing a 30 minute set of ear splitting Power Metal with screaming vocals that would leave shivers down you're spine. Mixing the likes of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest style of Power Metal, this band do it with style with plenty of melodic riffs and catchy tunes Iced Earth are a band to be reckoned with. Tim really got the crowd going, and with the power of the bands music made the night even more enjoyable. Only bad point and this goes for all support acts, it was a shame they didn't have enough lights on stage, which really does suck and I feel for the support acts. Iced Earth played a head ripping set that soon finished which was a dam shame but the band will be back to do their own tour very soon I am sure of that. 

Songs the band played were: The Glorious Burden, Declaration Day, Overture of the Wicked, Motivation Of Man, Greenface, just to name a few. What an awesome band live and I suggest you check them out live and their albums too!!Next up was 'Lamb Of God', and I have to say I've only heard 1 song by these guys which is called 'Redneck'. So I cant really so too much about these guys, but what I can say is that these 5 guys hit the stage with a devastating sound which comes across between Slayer, Pantera style of brutal metal music. I have to say that I thought that they should of been the opening act, as I said before Iced Earth have been around a lot longer than these guys. But saying that I guess Lamb Of God have more popularity with the kids of today because of their brutal heavy music that so many younger's love to hear these days. They certainly took the stage by storm and half way through the bands set they had a mosh pit going which didn't surprise me at all!! Songs that they played were: Redneck, Walk With Me, More Time To Kill, Now You've Got Something To Kill For, Black Label.

Next up was of course the Might 'Heaven & Hell', these guys really didn't need an introduction, but as the lights went down and the intro started, the crowd were screaming and shouting with an dark and fearless atmosphere, the crowd were ready for a night they would remember. With a stage set based on a church and a church yard, which reminded me of King Diamond (Now they would of been a great support act) with stained glass windows of a church and of course the crosses. So now its time for light , camera and action!!!! Opening up with the instrumental 'E5150' which went straight into 'Mob Rules', was a fine opening tune to set the night ahead, and with the crowd loving it the band were in for yet more classic Dio era Sabbath tunes. Mob Rules is a fine song and was played to perfection. Next up was 'Children Of The Sea', I just love this song, and I really enjoyed watching and hearing this song been played for the 1st time live for me, what a awesome song!! Next up was: Sign Of The Southern Cross', yet another fine Dio era tune, which again saw the crowd loving every minute of it. Tony Iommi, Geezer Bulter and Vinny Appice, are a force to be reckoned with. Ronnie maybe a pensioner, but like Rob Halford, these 2 guys are without doubt the greatest Metal singers of all time, no doubt about it!! 

Other songs the band played were: Lady Evil, I, Voodoo, The Devil Cried, Computer God, Dehumanizer, Falling On The Edge Of The World, Die Young, Heaven & Hell, Neon Knights, Lonely Is The World, Shadow In The Wind. No doubt about it, Heaven & Hell are without doubt an awesome live band. lets just hope the record a new album in 2008. If you get the chance to see them live then grab the bull by its horns and check them out!!!  Check out the live DVD, it's worth it if you saw the band live on this tour, awesome stuff!! Question, do you wanna go to Heaven or hell? The choice is yours!!!

   -   Manchester Appollo    12.10.07    (UK)      

This year has been pretty good for gigs, we've seen some great festivals and tours come and go and this is yet another classic Progressive Metal tour of 2 very classy acts. 'Symphony X' have made a name for themselves over the last decade with such talented musicians with 3 Michaels, 1 Jason and Russell Alan on vocals. The band have recorded several classic heavy but yet melodic and technical albums that so many of us have grown to love. With the band signed to Inside Out Records in Germany, this band have gone from strength to strength with each album. If you like the likes of Yngwie Malmsteens guitar work and prog elements of Dream Theater then you get the prefect combination of what is Symphony X. Mike Romeo's guitar work and Russell's vocals are a deadly combination like a pit viper who will strike once and kill with its deadly toxics. Symphony X were about to hit the stage at Manchester's Appollo, and I could see by the crowd that they were very excited about see in this fine act. This is not the bands debut to the UK, their debut hit the shores with Stratovarius almost 3 yrs ago and later on a 1 off headliner in London with Shadowkeep. It's good to see the band back and on it's first full length tour and what could not be better than a support to Dream Theater. This band hit the stage to deliver a powerful and hard hitting set that would leave people excited and wanting more. As with all support acts, they never got a decent lighting set, which really sucks. Nevertheless, the band played a kick ass set that the crowd wanted more and me for 1, I'd love to of seen a longer set. The bands current album 'Paradise Lost' see's the band in a more darker and heavier approach but still manages to keep the melodic sound and vocals that so many love to hear. Symphony X set list was: Serpents Kiss, Paradise Lost, Inferno, Instrumental, Invader, Babylon. An awesome kick ass band that will certainly give Dream Theater a run for their money, check these guys out, their 1 of the band & finest Prog Metal acts about. Love to see them at ProPower UK in the near future!!Next up was the mighty 'Dream Theater', who really shouldn't need any introduction, but for those who don't know Dream Theater have to be thanked for their contribution to starting Progressive Metal off.

 Although Dream Theater are influenced by the likes of Rush, Genesis, Yes, Marillion to name a few, this band have set trends for 1000's of up & coming Prog metal acts from all over the world. If you like to the likes of Dreamscape, Ivanhoe, Evergrey, Symphony X, Psychotic Waltz etc.. there all influenced by the likes of Dream Theater. With the band releasing their debut album 'When Day Dream..' the band have become more successful with each album and their biggest break in my opinion has to be 'Images & Words', which was the band been played on MTV with 'Pull Me Under'. The band were back in the day signed to East/ West Records until they parted ways with them on their last album 'Octavarium'. Now the band have returned with their recent release through Roadrunner Records titled 'Systematic Chaos', which is a good album and reminds me of 'Awake' album for its heaviness. Who in the world would think that this band would of signed to Roadrunner when you would of thought Inside Out would of been the most obvious choice. The band played a outstanding set and with a  great stage presence, with big screens showing each member close up with camera's on their instruments as well as a cartoon sketch which was rather funny to watch. This is a band that not to be taken lightly, a serious musician's band really but if you also have an open mind and can also adapt to technical music then you will surely love their music. The future is certainly looking bright for this band. Trax that they played were: Constant Emotion, Panic Attack, Endless Sacrifice, The Dark Eternal Night, Home, Misunderstood, Pull Me Under, Take The Time, In The Presence Of Enemies Pt.1 & 2, Trail Of Tears, The Ytse Jam, In The Name Of God. What a great set, and if you haven't seen this band before then I suggest you check them out, especially if you're a musician. Also check out the bands CDs. Lets see what the next album will bring in the near future.

   Beverly Memorial Hall  22.9.07  (UK)     

It's good to see new festivals up & coming onto the scene, and this festival is yet another one which in time will grow with the help of the fans and journalist from around the country. Metieval is yet a new festival which in time will grow and with local acts and national/ international acts to follow in future years to come could see this festal become 1 of the biggest UK underground festivals with help and support. This years festival is from what I can gather be the 2nd year of the festivals success, the 1st one I missed and knew nothing about. I was however glad to be able to attend and give the festival my support. Most acts on the bill were local hard hitting Metal acts with 2 national acts added to pull more of a crowd to the show. As this was held in Beverly just outside of Hull (UK) in a small town the hall wasn't a bad choice of venue and hopefully next year will also see the festival return. There was however cheap beer but no food, good thing they allowed pass outs!! This festival was a 2 days event, the bigger acts were held on the Saturday, but the Sunday saw smaller acts from around the local scene. As Saturday had the biggest turn out and had the best acts. 

Opening act for the day was 'Face Of Scars'. the 1st of many Hull bands to hit the stage. This band consist of 4 guys who play a style of metal that would be best described as across between Thrash/ Grind/ Hard core all rolled into 1. For a opening act they were pretty good and with 300 strong metal heads attending they certainly showed what they had to offer. With Hardcore/ Grindcore grunts this band pretty very intense and certainly got the crowd going with the brutal style of metal. Some songs which were played were: Deathblow, Broken Bones, Meat Feast, Bring The Fight. This band have been around for a couple of years now so they certainly have a decent future ahead with the help of the local scene. Next up was 'Systemyk', this young and up and coming 5 piece were certainly different from what I can gather, certainly not a full on metal band, but more a Goth/ Industrial act which I wasn;t too sure how they would go down for this type of festival. OK, so they weren't metal but they weren't bad for the style they were playing. Although it isn't my cup of tea they were pretty good. This band had a few people watching out of curiosity and seemed to win over a few more fans by the end of their set. The bands current line-up is: Danny (vocals), Lee (guitar), Lu (bass), Phil (Keyboards) and Mike (drums). Any fan of such acts like Sisters Of Mercy, Nine Inch Nails, Type O Negative would certainly like this band. The band have recorded 2 demos and have had some push by Paradise Lost member as producer known as Greg Mackintoch. I am sure with his help the band could be signed up by 2008. Some songs played on the day were: Promises, Questions, Can't Carry On. 

Next up was 'Heat Ray', this was 1 of so little real metal acts that are pretty new to the metal scene here in Hull and what a decent band they are. Front by Chunck 'Hail To England!! - Yes Manowar rule' these 5 guys are godo at what they do and Chunck is a great frontman, who certainly does get the crowd going. He could be the next Ozzy, Hallford, Eric Adams just for stage presence. Musically this band play Thrash, with some Power Metal elements and True Metal too, only because of Chunck's influences. Mixing a style of Metallica, Manowar style metal these guys are pretty decent and with the right direction and advice could soon see them supporting more successful acts. If you want to see a local metal band from around here go see 'Heat Ray'. The current line -up is: Chunck (vocals), Neil (bass), Mike (guitar), Dave (guitar), and Chris (drums).  Songs the band played were: The Devil Killer, Marshal Law, The Night Witch, The Last Ride, Welcome to your Doom, Heat-Ray and Metallica's Seek & Destroy. A band well worth checking out, so go and see them soon!!!! Next up was 'Sworn Amongst', another local act consisting of 4 young kids in their early 20's, this line up been Liam (vocals/ guitar), Harvey (guitar), Rob (bass), Jonny (drums). These guys are in the process of having their debut album hopefully released soon. I have to say these guys are pretty good at what they do just like Heat Ray and have some potential going for them. Harvey si a right little poser but saying that he can play his guitar, so hey if you can do both why not rock on bro!! Mixing Thrash style metal somewhat across between Metallica, Testament, and the likes of UK acts like Re-Animator, Slammer seem to jell well together. The band have also has success with reviews in the likes of Kerrang and Terrorizer, so things are certainly look up for these guys. I wish them well. Songs played by Sworn Amongst were: Rules of engagement, Herodotus, Downtrodden, Lord of war, Blind faith, Consumed, Drive.

 Next to hit the stage were 'Heathen Foray', these guys consist of the following members: Glyn (vocals), Sam (guitars), Lord Legion (bass), and Stormsword (drums) and since the festival the band have added a 2nd guitarist called Markoma. If you like you're metal based on Viking/ Pagan Metal with such acts as, Amon Amarth, Falconer, Sabbat, Skyclad then I am sure this band is for you. I have to say that I'm not a fan of this style of music but on the other hand I have to give these guys some credit for trying and for been the 1st band in Hull to be the 1st to play this type of music. They were one of the band who seemed to get the crowd going just like Heat Ray. The band are in the process of releasing their debut album in 2008 which should appeal to fans of Pagan/ Viking Metal. Songs that the band played were: Nordic Horizons (Intro), A Summer's Tale, Into Foray, Heralder, Path Of The Warrior, Unearther, Fortelling The Raven Age, Heritage, Call To Arms. I guess their lord would be somebody like Odin, but hey these guys are good at what they do so go and check them out!!. 

Next up was 'Soul Flame', these 4 guys play some pretty decent Rock and kind of remind me of across between Thunder, BLS, which seems to fix pretty well, although these guys weren't the heaviest of bands on the bill it's good to see some variation added to the festival. The current band line-up is: Nick (vocals & guitar), Ron (lead guitar), Sam (bass) and drummer who stood in for them, but a name wasn't given to me so I cant say who he was. It was good to see a band playing something different to the day, which kind of broke the music up and gave people the change to stop their necks from breaking after so many heavier bands on the day. 

Next up was 'Avenger' from Newcastle, these guys came to rock and they just that! I grew up with their music having bought their 2nd album 'Killer Elite' in the mid 80's on Neat Records and what a great album that was for a UK band. Now Ian Swift  (vocals) and Gary Young (drums) are the only 2 original members left who are now joined by a couple of younger musicians these been Liam Thompson (guitar), Sean Jefferies (guitar) and Huw Holding (bass). Now these guys are back and they certainly mean business and today they did just that, although their set ws only 30 minutes the band hit the stage and delivered a powerful hard hitting Power Metal set with some awesome music that just took me back to the day, God this was such a blast from the past!!! Playing songs from their debut album 'Blood Sports' and 'Killer Elite' as well as 2 new songs. Ian still has a great voice which does at time like to sore with his high notes. A new album is to follow in 2008, so I am really looking forward to that. I am so glad I saw this band live and I look forward to see in more of the band in 2008, check them out and welcome back guys!! 

Next up was 'Talamasca', another local Hull band, and not to be confused with the U.S. band (RIP), sadly missed. These guys have been around for a few years now and I have to admit I have heard the name before but never heard their music till recently and I thought some of their music was pretty enjoyable. For a 3 piece these guys do what they do best and it certainly does the band justice. The band have released a couple of mini CDs in the past so they have been around for a number of years now but really haven't made it into the scene as much as I would of expected, which is a shame really. I am sure there break will come with lots of hard work and continue to play what they do best. Songs that the band played were: The Skeleton key, We Are Not, The eye of war, End of Days, Rage of the northern seas, Bonefinger, Stormcrows, Awakened & Serial Killer. 

Now for the headlining act, this can only mean another band from Newcastle thus been 'Skyclad'. Skyclad's career started out by ex Sabbat front man Martin and former Blind Fury guitarist Steve Ramsey, of both members teamed up to form Skyclad in the 90's and the biggest showcases was in 95 for Dynamo festival in Holland. Since then the band have recorded several albums for Noise records and Massacre records too, but Martin left the band and was replaced by Kevin Ridley (vocals & guitar), also joining Kevin is Steve Ramsey (guitar), George Biddle (Fiddle, keyboards, Piano), Graeme English (bass), and Arron Walton (drums). Skyclad have a history that has kept the band alive and well for over a decade and the future is still strong for these jordies from newcastle. 300 strong people stayed to witness Skyclads live performance and if you haven't seen the band before then you are surely going to enjoy this bands music, especially if you're a fan of Pagan and Folk Metal. Ideally Heathen Foray would be a great support act for these guys in the near future as a support act. I'm not sure how many albums Skyclad have recorded but I do know that there is no stopping these guys, so best of luck to them. The crowd at the festival loved them and really got involved with plenty of dancing and headbanging. Either way you love um or hate um Skyclad are here to stay. Songs performed were: A Great blow for a day job, Anti-Body Politic, Mr Malalprope Co, A well besides the river, A song for no-involvement, The widdershins jig, The parliament of fools, Helium, Another drinking song, Another fine mess, Lightning the load, Wickedest Man, Roman wall blues, What nobody wanted, Jig a jig, Still small beer, Spinning jenny, Inequality street, Penny dreadful, Bury me, Swords of a 1000 men, and Emerald. A great festival which will grow in time with the support of the bands, fans and journalist alike. Look out for next years festival in 2008 when Balze Bailey will headline. So be there and spread the word!!!!

      Catton Hall Derbyshire  - 16th - 18th August 2007   (UK)  

Well this year saw yet another exploding year full of excitement from various styles of metal music. This festival has grown over the years from a small crowd to a larger crowd and it will become larger in years to come. This is the 3rd year for the open air, the 1st one I missed but last year was a great year, with the likes of Metal Church, Atheist, and many more.... Unfortunately this years indoor was cancelled, which left a  few fans disappointed but I am sure there will be another indoor 1 next year. This year saw some great acts, some of which were not all Power Metal and as some people thought the festival should stay Power/ Thrash has now become more mainstream. I guess that's a matter of opinion. Either way the organizers have to pull the crowds in. As long as this festival doesn't become another Download, then things will be fine. This year also saw some decent weather, only 1 day of rain, but other than that it was fine. I tell you that this festival is going to grow, and next year sees 2 stages, so there going to  be more acts I am sure. As always you cant get to see all the acts live or even know half the bands songs, but what I did c was awesome and I am sure the fans agree.

Thursday 16th: Well day one, was a exciting day, I think most people were there to see Testament and Firewind. Well I arrived mid afternoon,  got my passes (thanx Bloostock) and proceeded to put up my tent before any rain came my way. Luckily we didn't see any rain so that was a good start!! Well there were plenty of metal heads from the UK & Europe for this years metal bash. There were also some cool metal stores, selling CD's, t shirt and more!! First band of the day was former AC/DC's drummer 'Chris Slade', with his band playing some of AC/DC's classic tunes. They seemed to go down pretty well and seemed a good opening act to build this years festival up. The only bad point about this band was the singer, where the hell did they get him from? His vocal's were pretty bad and really couldn't hit the notes that Bon Scott could do or Brian Johnson does now. I've heard better singers in other AC/DC tribute acts. I really didn't see much of the band but of course they did play 'Whole Lotta Rosie', which went down well besides the vocals of course. 

Next up was' Sight Of Emptiness', a band from Costa Rica - South America. This band won a competition from some magazine and were asked to play at this years Bloodstock, this was there only show here in the UK. It was a shame that nobody booked the band to support anther act over here. Sight Of Emptiness are a 5 piece Death Metal band, which seemed pretty impressive considering nobody had heard of them over here. Mixing their style of Death Metal which seemed to come close to that of Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, style of metal and for a 5 piece they went down pretty well. I am sure this band will be back over here supporting a decent Death Metal act soon. Songs the band played were: Truth Of A Lie ,In Death State, Chapter Of Hatred, Visions, Witness Of Your Murder, Desolation Whispers, Death In Fire (Amon Amarth Cover). Next up was 'Kiuas', another hard hitting Thrash/ Death Metal act. 

Next up was London case act 'Head-On', a new band to me which I thought where from the USA, but they surprised me to know that they are a London based act. This 4 piece have released 1 album which was released in 2006 and by the looks of it is doing rather well. Head-On play a Southern Hard Rock/ Stoner Rock sound mixed with some elements of Metal. If I had to say who this band comes across I'd say between: Black Label Society, Down, COC, Trouble, Sabbath, Pantera & so that gives you some kind of hint to their musical direction. Been the 4th band on the bill saw the band hit the stage and deliver an impressive sound which  certainly got the crowd moving and was a delight to hear something different.  Songs that the band played were: XXL, Break the walls, Wrecking Ball, Stronger, Sunrise, Meat Wagon, The Stomp, Here comes the hammer. If you haven't seen the band before go and see them when there near a city near you. In the meantime check out their debut album I'm sure its pretty cool stuff. 

Next up was Greek Power Metal act, 'Firewind', having seen the band live in London supporting Nevermore a few years ago I knew what to expect. This band features former Dream Evil guitarist Gus G, who left Dream Evil to concentrate on Fire wind. Firewind have recorded a few albums to date, and the bands current release 'Allegiance' is doing pretty well today and see the band touring on all 4 continents so far. The band played this years Bloodstock with force and energy which really saw a great response from the crowd. Joining Gus was temporary front man Henning from Metalium, which was a pleasant surprise. Henning did a awesome job and if you have seen Metalium then you will know just how powerful his voice is. Also in Firewind is also ex Metalium drummer Mark Cross, another awesome drummer and a great addition to the band. This band are a awesome Power Metal act and they certainly have a great future ahead on them. They have a lot of energy and power live and with Henning on vocals as a temp front man they kicked some serious ass!!! Firewind remind me of such acts as Yngwie for their guitar work, and musically they come across between the likes of Metalium, Vicious Rumors, Dream Evil, just to name a few acts. Firewind are a really awesome act live and also have done some outstanding albums. The future for this band is very promising. Some of the tracks that the band performed live were: Are You Ready To Strike, Fire & Fury, End Of Time, Tyranny. What a  great band and look out for more from Firewind in the near future.

 Next up was the mighty 'Testament', what can 1 say about this act. Hailing from the Bay Area in the U.S.A. who have been around since the early 80's under the name of 'The Legacy', before changing their name to Testament. Along side the likes of Metallica, Forbidden, Death Angel, Vicious Rumors, Exodus and many more Testament are 1 of the greatest acts that have stayed true to themselves without selling out. With the band 1st recording albums for Atlantic Records with such albums as 'The Legacy' 'Souls In Black' and later albums such as 'Low', 'The Gathering' the band are ready to release their next masterpiece. it's been a while since the band played the UK with this line-up, not since they live show in London, but the band are back and stronger than ever. Their newest member is ex Cradle Of Filth drummer Nick Barker. For the younger kids who attended Bloodstock this was a real treat and for us oldies, a blast from the past!! Chuck Billy and co really did devastate the stage with their powerful and hard hitting performance. Thrash at its best and the new legacy awaits Testament. Some songs that they played were: Practice What You Preach, Souls In Black, Into The Pit, Low, Over The Wall, Disciples Of The Watch, The Legacy, Legions Of The Dead. Testament are a force to be reckoned with and I suggest you check them out if you already haven't!!

Friday 17th:

Well the first day had past and what a great start to a up and growing festival that is surely going to be as big as the rest 1 day. Weather wise was good with a little bit of cloud but it didn't stop us metal heads at all!! The first band I managed to catch live  was 'Scar Symmetry' from Sweden who was formed back in 2004. This 5 piece Death Metal act who remind me of the likes of Soilwork, At The Gates, have released 2 for Nuclear Blast and are becoming rather popular like so many acts out there playing this style of music. With their melodic riffs and also brutal vocals mixed with melodic vocals makes this band pretty interesting. Saying that, I would have to say that frontman has his faults when it comes to doing the death metal vocals, as he does clean and death metal vocals, he just cant seem to handle the brutal side as much as the melodic side. I was kind of looking forward to see in this band but was disappointed by the vocals which really did let the band down. Songs that the band played were: Slaves To The Subliminal, Pitch Black Progress, Mind Machine, The Kaleidoscopic God, Carved In Stone, Reborn, Seeds Of Rebellion, & Dominion. All  can say is that the band do have the energy and power but lack in the vocal department, something which needs working on. 

Next up was 'Wolf', a great melodic Swedish metal act that consider themselves as a true heavy metal act, but to me they do come close to Power Metal/ Speed if anything. Influenced by the likes of Judas Priest, Saxon, Accept, Anvil, Iron Angel, Destruction, Saxon just to name a few. Wolf are certainly a decent 4 piece that have released 3-4 albums to date. I wouldn't say that Wolf are the most exciting band, but what they do is good old fashioned Metal from the 80's and I love my 80's metal , so they get my respect. Playing bass guitar for them as a stand in  was Andres from Tad Morose, my old mates who I've know for some time now. It was good to see Andres again, shame Tad Morose couldn't of played this year too. Now signed to Century Media, the band took to the stage to deliver what could be described as a powerful set, until.... the band had a power cut. This was a real shame for the band, and even though the band suffered the crowd still stayed and waited for the power to come back on. Wolf did however, manage to keep the crowd entertained by throwing beer into the crowd which was funny. When the power did return the the band were on top form and delivered a powerful set. A decent band well worth checking out. Songs played were: Steelwinged Savage reaper, The Bite, I will kill again, Electric raga,  Wolf's blood, Children of the black flame, Genocide, Evil star.

 Next up was 'Memfis', another band from Sweden which were formed back 2003 by Mattias Engstorm (guitar & vocals), who is also joined by Johan Boqvist (guitar & vocals), Carl Johan Lindbad (drums), Christian Ohberg (bass). The band have released 2 demos back in 2004 and their debut album titled 'The Wind-Up'. The band have toured with the likes of Entombed, The Haunted, & Satyricon. Now the band play the Bloodstock festival in front of a pleased crowd of die hard metal heads. Mixing a style of Thrash with a hard hitting edge made this band well noticed by the crowd who's reaction was very overwhelming. I am sure the band will be back to out shores very soon. A decent band who a good future if given the chance. Trax played were: The Wind-up, Dead Ends, The Game, Stop Those Waves, Save the day, Breathless, Forever Discounted, Eternal Failure, The Judgement, The Burden, Breakdown.

 Next up was 'Korpiklaani', who seem to have a pretty big following from what I can gather. Playing a style of Celtic/ Folk Metal in the same vain as Skyclad, just to name 1 of them, this band to me are new but to a lot of people are a band who are becoming rather popular and big now. Hailing from Finland these 6 guys have a lot to deliver if this is you're style of music, not me it's not my cup of tea, but nevertheless, Korpiklaani are a good band at what they do. The consist of Bag Pipes, harpsichord, bass, guitars, drums and I believe keyboards. This folk metal thing is becoming rather big these days and with the like of In Extremo helping along the way as well as many others Folk, Pagan, Celtic metal is now more popular than Black Metal. With the band releasing 4 albums to date I can see why people are starting to enjoy this band and their style there playing. I'm not sure what the songs were played, but like Is aid a decent band if you like that sort of music. Next was 'Epica', fronted by Sexy Simone Simons, a beautiful red head with loads of sexy appeal lol!! She also has a decent voice, very operatic at times, and like a lot of female fronted bands these days sounds a lot like Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, and more... Simone has also worked with the likes of Kamelot, and Primal Fear which has certainly given her band Epica a real boost. Epica, playing in the vain as Nightwish and have released 6 albums to date so the band are certainly doing something right. Hailing from Holland, this band have also played the ProgPower festival in the USA and also in their home country. The bands latest album 'The Divine Conspiracy' sees the band now signed to Nuclear Blast and a bright future ahead. Mixing a style of Epic, Symphonic and Death Metal style vocals by guitarist Mark Jansen gives the band a slightly different approach that most fans can notice. A decent band which played the following songs: Indigo, The Obsessive Devotion, Menace of Vanity, Quietus, Seif al Din, Facade of Reality, Consign to Oblivion. 

Next to hit the stage was the mighty 'Nevermore', Seattle's very own hard hitting Power/ Thrash act. Nevermore formed by ex Sanctuary members Warrel Dane and Jim Sheppard were joined by Jeff Loomis and Van Williams and released their debut album for Century Media back in 95. Since then the band haven't looked back and with each album the band have become stronger and heavier. If you take a look at the bands last album 'This Godless Endeavor' this album saw the band at their strongest and heaviest. The band have had a few added guitarist but now with Jag Panzer's guitarist Chris helping out the band are ready for an even more promising future. Well the band hit the stage and delivered a hard hitting set from start to finish. I also enjoy watching this band because they have a awesome singer and some excellent musicians that create some top quality music from start to finish. The band also got an impressive mosh pit going which was an added bonus. Songs that the band played were: Four Walls, Final Product, Born, Deconstruction, Enemies Of Reality, just to name a few. Next up was yet another Century Media act, this time it was Sweden's only Thrash/ Death Metal act 'Dark Tranquility' who had there hands tired after the mighty Nevermore had finished their set. Dark Tranquility have been around for a number of years and have become a major success for many Death Metal acts from around the world. Like At The Gates, Dark Tranquility are yet another band who have influenced so many acts from around the world. This band are a force to be reckoned with and they don't take prisoners likely. These 6 guys deliver a hard hitting punch and plenty of kids were there to help them along the way. Again I am not familiar with their songs, but all I can say is that the kids loved them and I have to respect them for keeping the scene alive. Headliner's 'Lacuna Coil' were next, yet again another Century Media act, does Bloodstock have a deal with this label? Anyhow, this band is fronted by Cristina Scabia, another female in the metal scene who is respected alongside Tanya formed Nightwish, and Simone Simon from Epic. Lacuna Coil are yet another very influenced band that are making waves in the Gothic/ Symphonic Metal scene. This 6 piece act from Italy have played such festivals as Download, Wacken, Ozzfest just to name a few and are now becoming bigger with every release. Century Media seem to be drawn to these female fronted acts. Lacuna Coil ready did a great job and certainly got the crowd going. The band certainly have a lot to offer and are a great live band for what they do. Gothic Metal at 1 of its very best.

Saturday 18th:

Saturday saw some rain, but we still managed to stay alive and watch the show with excitement as ever. With everybody waking up and getting there shit together it was going to be a long but fun packed day. First band of the day I saw were 'Rise To Addiction', which were formed out of the ashes of Blaze band, both guitarist's Steve Wray & John Slater, who are also joined by Joel Graham (bass), Leigh Oates (vocals), Aynsley Dickinson (drums). This band have been getting some really good support slots with the likes of Trouble been 1 of them. The band have released their debut album A New Shade Of Black For The Soul', which was released 2007 on Mausoleum Records. If you liked the Blaze bands material then you're surely going to like Rise To Addiction who have a lot more to offer and more variation to their sound. This band are a great band which hail from the UK and have a decent future ahead of them. Set list for R.T.A was: Cold Season, I Follow, Low, To A God Unknown, One Sweet Minute, Falling As One. Check out this band, there heading for a promising future. Next up were German Power/ True metaller's 'Freedom Call', which is formed by Gamma Ray's drummer Daniel Zimmermann, joined by Chris Bay (guitar/ vocals), Armin Donderer (bass), Lars RettKowitz (guitar). Freedom Call have released several album for SPV and seem to be getting stronger with each release. If True/ Power Metal is you're thing then you will love this band. The bands current release 'Dimensions' is a very powerful and strong album which has plenty of twists and turns for all metalheads alike!! The band played a powerful 40 minute set which really got the crowd going and left the stage with a strong urge to return to our shores in the very near future. Next to hit the stage was the UK's 'Benadiction', who released a few albums through Nuclear Blast. This Birmingham 5 piece Death Metal act started out with Mark 'Barney' Greenway on vocals back in the day who now front Napalm Death. Back in the late 80's this band were pretty close to that of Napalm Death mixed with Cerebral Fix and still to this date the band have managed to capture their unique sound. The bands current line-up to date is: Dave Hunt (vocals), Darren Brookes (guitar), Peter Rew (guitars), Frank Healy (bass), Neil Hutton (drums). With the release of 'Subconscious Terror' which was released back in 1990 the band have carried on with numerous release and soon to release their current 2007 release 'Killing Music'. Benediction certainly got a few peoples heads shaking at this years festival with their grind sounding Death Metal. More mayhem was to follow!! 

Next up was Dutch Thrash/ Death Metal act 'Legion of The Damned', this 4 piece really did devastate the stage at this years festival, when they ripped the stage apart. With the release of 2 albums under their belt for Massacre Records, this former 'The Occult' members started a powerful & head splitting set. Mixing the likes of Slayer, Destruction, Kreator and Sodom style metal was brutal enough for all that came to see and hear. Is aw this band live when they supported Celtic Frost & Kreator early this year. The bands set list was: Legion of the damned. Werewolf corpse, Sons of the jackal, diabolist, malevolent rapture, undead stillborn, death's head march, taste of the whip, Infernal wrath . Awesome band playing old school Thrash, check um out!!! 

Next up was 'Finntroll', this Finnish band were formed back in 1997 by Somnium and Katla, who were 2 drunken musicians who wanted to form a Folk Black Metal band. Later on they found fellow musicians Drummer B.Dominator (Barathrum), another guitarist Skrymer, keyboardist Trollhorn (Moonsorrow) and bassist Tundra were now officially part of the Trollish Horde, and in summer 1999 they started to mold their first album, “Midnattens Windunder”- “The Horrors of Midnight”. These guys seem to have rather a following and the crowd were really excited to see this band. I guess Folk and Black Metal seem to be brothers and sisters that both combine a unique style. The band have released 5 albums and a couple of e.p's to date which is an added bonus. Finntroll hit the stage to deliver a black and dark presence which went down really well. Next was 'Dream Evil', what can 1 say about this act? These Swedish Metaller's are a new breed of Manowar wannabees , can you take these guys serious or not? Either way this guys are fucking great at what they do. I love their attitudes, keeping the spirit of 80's metal alive and that's what I love too!! Formed by ex King Diamond drummer Snowy Shaw, guitarist Gus G (Firewind), Fredrik Nordstrom (Producer), Niklas Iselch (vocals), Peter Stalfords (bass), and new members Pat Power (drums), Mark Black (guitar), these guys rule with an iron fist. Releasing 4 albums to date, and their must unique title 'The Book Of Heavy Metal' really does say it all!!! I was really looking forward to see in this band live again and as ever they delivered a powerful and exciting set list. The crowd loved them and if you're a fan of classic metal, Priest, Scorpions, Saxon, Accept etc.. then you will love this band, who also mix Power Metal with the bands already mentioned. I cant wait to hear the next album by these guys, they totally get my full support, rock on guys!!! Set list included: The Book Of Heavy Metal, United, Higher On Fire, Lets Make Rock, Children Of The Night, No way, Chasing The Dragon, just to name a few. Go buy their albums and support a real Metal band!!! Next up was the legendary 'Sabbat', hailing from Nottingham (UK), these guys first formed back in the 80's and released 3 albums for Noise records. Their must successful album was 'History of Time..' and 'Dream Weaver', of which both albums received some awesome reviews and also saw the band playing a session for Radio 1's 'Friday Rock Show'. These guys back in the day were awesome and play a mixture of Folk Thrash, with a hard hitting punch to their sound. Now for a re-union, these guys are playing festivals at present and Bloodstock was happy to have them there. I saw these guys back in the early 90's and back then they were awesome. Now their back, they can still deliver a powerful sound and with as tight as they were back in the day. Line-up currently consists of: Martin Walkier, Andy Sneap, Simon Jones, Frazer Crasker & Simon Negus. I do hope that these guys release a new album in the very near future, its bands like this that we love and miss so much. Set list included: Behind The Crooked Cross, I For An Eye, Do Dark Horses Dream Of Nightmares, The Clerical Conspiracy, The Best Of Enemies, For Those Who Died, A Cautionary Tale, How the mighty have fallen, just to name a few. 

next up was Sweden's 'Arch Enemy', which was formed by ex Carcass guitarist Mike Amott, along side Sharlee D'Aangelo (bass) Mercyful Fate, and Angela Gossow (vocals), Daniel Erlandsson and Chris Amott (guitar). This band have come a long way since the bands early days, but have managed to maintain a true and powerful hard hitting Thrash/ Death Metal sound since the bands early material right up to the bands most recent work. 'Black Earth' was released back in 1997, with a follow up with 'Stigmato' in 98 saw the band ready to release such albums as 'Wages Of Sin', 'Anthems Of Rebellion', & 'Doomsday Machine' along with the bands current album 'Rise Of The Tyrant'. These guys are fucking awesome musicians, not because they play powerful Thrash/ Death Metal, but at the same time of playing brutal they have a lot of melodic parts as well. As for the guitar work by Mike & Chris, well its just amazing and reminds me of Carcass and King Diamond. Angels vocals are sick for a very sexy female, who would ever believe it was a female singing? Daniels drumming gives that extra power and Sharlee's bass gives it that added punch. Fucking killer band and In Flames had their work cut out for them. Arch Enemy played: I Am Legend/Out For Blood, Ravenous, Blood On Your Hands, My Apocalypse, Dead Eyes See No Future, Burning Angel, Enemy Within, Revolution Begins, Dead Bury Their Dead, We Will Rise, Bridge Of Destiny Solo . Last of the night was 'In Flames', another Swedish act, along side the likes of At The Gates, Dark Tranquility, The Haunted, In Flames are another band in the same category. In Flames have been around for a pretty long time now and were formed back in 1990, with Jesper forming the band after leaving Ceremonial Oath along with Anders Friden & Anders Iwers. Jesper was also involved with Hammerfall back in the early stages before forming In Flames. The band have released several albums through Nuclear Blast and Wrong Again Records.  Their latest release 'Come Clarity' was released in 2006. The band have had the pleasure of supporting Judas Priest, Motorhead just to name a few and with plenty of festivals. I'm not to familiar with the bands material, but what they did play was a great set and a lot of people had come from all over the word for this festival which is going to become very big in the near future. The band have come along way with their Thrash sounding music which this band have influenced a lot of up & coming bands. Check them out!!!

Well another year has past, just another year till 2008 outdoor and also indoor festival. If you missed this year then you missed a great line-up, and I hope that you will make it to next years and support a great festival. Metal on Bloodstock. Thanx for you're support guys!!! Review and Pictures By Jason Brown © 2007

     &      Leeds Rio's  29.5.07  - UK  

What can one say about this might and awesome Doom metal act? Along side Black Sabbath, Trouble have influenced so many acts around the world, not as well as tons of Doom metal bands like C.O.C, Metallica are even influenced by this gods of Doom, yes that right folks even the mighty Metallica are influenced by Trouble. Trouble have been around since the late 70's and hailing from Chicago the band recorded their 1st demo and it was sent to Metal Blade were they appeared on the 'Metal Massacre' series along with Metallica in their early days of their careers. The band released their debut awesome album title 'Trouble', or some would say 'Psalm 9', call it what you will, but that album had such in impact on the Metal scene alone. Following that album the band released 'The Skull', probably the bands heaviest album to date, what an awesome album that is. The band also have released some interesting and very powerful later albums such as 'Trouble', 'Plastic Green head' and now the band have returned with their new awesome album 'Simple Mind Condition', which is a great comeback album. It's been 12yrs since I last saw the band live at Dynamo festival and tonight was a night I was really looking forward to. These 5 guys are so underrated and deserve more respect that they should be a much bigger band. I hope that the bands new label Escapi take more care with the band than the bands previous labels ever did and give them the push they so rightly deserve.

Support at for tonight was ex Blaze members John Slater & Steve Wray, who have formed 'Rise To Addiction', who have recently released their debut album titled 'A New Shade Of Black For The Soul' through Mausoleum Records. Rise To Addiction are slight different from that of Blaze, still managing to keep a heavy sound approach with a new style of Metal, sort of across between Metallica and one of the newer acts out there. They came across as a good solid live act with plenty of potential and with the right attitude they will claim more fans in the very near future. A decent support act for such a godly band to follow. Trouble were about to hit the stage in front of a full house, this was something I knew was going to happen as I knew Leeds & Bradford had a big Trouble following. Light went down and the intro started, how excited were we all!!! Opening up to R.I.P. which was a great opening song and really got the crowd going. The sound and performance from this awesome act was just incredible and the crowd were certainly hungry to see Trouble doing their 1st full headlining tour for the 1st time. The rest list wasn't too long and I really thought the band could of played a lot longer considering it's been 15yrs or so since they last hit the shores of the UK. I do hope that they come back soon this year and play a much long set, they have enough material to play a 2hr set easily. Better still they should be supporting Metallica, but saying that I'm sure they will give Metallica a run for their money!! Other songs that the band played live were: Sleeper, Touch The Sky, Plastic Green head, Assassin, Pray For The Dead/ End Time, Mindbender, Going Home, End Of My Daze, Memories Garden, Fear, Psychotic Reaction, All Is Forgiven, The Tempter, Bastards Will Pay and for an encore they played Misery Shows. What a great gig by the Doom Gods, welcome back guys!! Check out the new album and an exclusive interview on my website!!

    &          Nottingham Rock City   16.5. 07  - UK  

Well tonight was a great nice of classic British Metal with a great support act, this been 'Masterplan', which was formed by ex Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow. Joining Roland is ex Rage drummer Mike Terrana, who is also still with Axel Rudi Pell, and what an awesome drummer he is. Joining Mike and Roland is Jan S Eckert and Axel Mackenrott and new front man Mike DiMeo known for his work with The Lizards and Riot. This was a gig I was really looking forward to, to see a classic Metal band such as Saxon with a fine support act was a night to remember. Masterplan have released 3 albums to date, the bands 1st 2 albums featured Jorn Lande as front man and ex Helloween drummer Uli. Its been a while since I last saw Masterplan, something like the 2nd Bloodstock, which was some time ago but I'm glad to see the band are back and stronger than ever. I wasn't too sure how Mikes vocals would be with the new and old material but he is a talented singer and he did really pull it off. It's been a while also since I last visited Nottingham Rock City and tonight was a full house of die hard metalheads like myself. Masterplan only did a really sort set which was a shame and with a  drummer solo which really wasn't necessary and a waste of time really as there could of been 1 more song in their set. Not to say that Mike's solo was boring, far from it just wasn't needed as a support act. With a 40 minute set the band hit the stage and played some new and classic Masterplan material which was a great sight to hear and see. Mike really did pull off the old stuff and I'm sure many of the fans would agree with me. Saxon fans also alike were surprised with the material that Masterplan pulled off. A great band which I highly recommened, just check out the bands new album released on AFM titled 'MK 11'. The bands set list was as follows: Spirit Never Die, Enlighten Me , Lost and Gone,  Crystal Night, Soulburn, Guitar solo, Drum solo, Back for My Life, Kind Hearted Light.

'Saxon' were a band that I and so many more grew up on, a cult classic band and in the top acts with Judas Priest, Motorhead, Iron Maiden & Black Sabbath, these bands took the world by storm and still continue to do so to this date. Biff & Paul Quinn are the only 2 original members to date. Joining Biff is Nigel Glockler, Nibbs Carter, & Doug Scarratt. The band have gone from strength to strength and I must say that ever since the band released 'Metal Head' the band are now on top form. Even the album 'Heavy Metal Thunder' was fucking awesome!! Well enough of the crap talking, Saxon hit the stage to play roughly about a 2hr set of pure head banging metal with such classics and also some new material from the bands new album 'The Inner Sanctum', which is an awesome hard hitting album. Some of the songs that Saxon played were: State Of Grace, Need The Speed, Let Me Feel Your Power, Red Star Failing, If I Was You, Ashes To Ashes, 747 Stranger In The Night, Crusader, The Bands Played On, Searching For Atlantis, Power & The Glory, Dogs Of War, Princess Of The Night, Wheels Of Steel, Heavy Metal Thunder, just to name a few. A great gig by 2 awesome bands. Long live Saxon and Masterplan.

   &   Bradford  Rio's   14.3.07 - UK  

It's been a while since I saw these to acts play together, it was 1988 when they toured together at Nottingham's Rock City. I have seen the bands several times in the past since that 1988 tour, but tonight was a special night for some fans who have never even seen either Kreator or Celtic Frost. What you have hear with a mixture of classic German Thrash mixed with Swizz Avangard Death/ Black Metal. Both bands have had plenty of success in the 80's and still continue to this date. Even so, both bands have influenced so many acts you couldn't image just how many bands they have influenced. As this was my last gig at the famous Bradford Rio's, I was sad to see the venue go, as I have met and taken so many cool pictures from this venue and I have to say the sound was amazing!! Since then Rio's has now moved to Leeds (UK) and I had the pleasure of attending that venue when i saw Trouble. More about that review soon.

Anyway, 1st band to hit the stage was 'Celtic Frost' and as this was a double head lining show both bands proved that metal is still a way of life. With Celtic Frost been 1 of those strange and unique bands that mix a form of Black/ Death and Avangard Metal all into 1 really does work. Tom G. Warrior and Co, proved that they still have what it takes after a decade of been apart from the scene. I saw the band at last years Wacken and then they proved to be a band that still have captured the imagination of so many. With the band releasing so classic album such as Morbid Tales, and Into The Pandemonium tonight was a special night for those who haven't seen the band before and are influenced by this act. Old fans this was also a trip down memory lane. The Frost are 1 of those bands who have an enquired taste and you really need to have an open mind when listening to their music. This trio are still as cult classic which were formed out of the ashes of 'Hellhammer'. The Frost are back and about time too. Some of the bands songs are pretty slow but then again its not all about speed. Songs the band played were: Totengott, Procreation (of The Wicked), Visions of Mortality, Circle Of The Tyrants, The Usurper, Ain Elohim, Necromantical Screams, Dethroned Emperor, Into The Crypts Of Rays, & Synagoga Satanae. Long live the Frost!!!

Next up was 'Kreator', one of German's pioneers of Thrash right from the early 80's, along with Destruction & Sodom these bands have been around for so many years and like the Frost have also influenced so many acts. Millie, has been the godfather for this band right from the word go, and with various line-up changes over the years, Millie is now joined by original drummer Ventor once again. With such classic albums as 'Pleasure To Kill', 'Extreme Aggression', 'Enemy Of God', this 4 piece act are now stronger than ever. Millie still proves that his extreme vocals mix well with the heavy riffs of his guitar work and Ventors pounding drums. With each album the band have done the band have gone from strength to strength and with the future looking very promising for this act things could not be better. Now that the Frost had departed from the stage the crowd were ready for some ripping and brutal Thrash the way it was meant to be. The crowd loved their set with plenty of thrashing and a mosh pit was a great night for all. Kreator deserve a lot of respect and I look forward to plenty more albums in the future. Their set list for the show was: Into The Patriach, Violent Revolution, Pleasure To Kill, Enemy Of God, People Of A Lie, Suicide Terrorist, Extreme Aggression, Phobia, Betrayer, Voices Of The Dead, Reconquering The Throne, & Flag Of Hate. What a great show!!

    31.3.07   Cheltenham Race Course  - UK  

This was 1 festival I really wanted to check out in the 1st year of 2006, but unfortunately I missed it for some strange reason, but I did manage to tour with Pagans Minds around the UK, which was awesome, thanx guys!! ProgPower has been going now in the U.S. for a number of years and is now part of Europe as the Dutch have now got involved. Since then the UK have got involved and now Sweden are now part of the ProgPower movement.  This however is the 2nd annual year for the UK and I have to say it was a stronger line-up than that of the debut UK event. The line-up for this years event was varied and strong, which had a strong blend variety anything from Neon Classical Prog Metal to Folk and even Goth/ Death Prog. I have to say I did missed the warm up show which featured Civilization One (former Firewind vocalist Chitty). Also on the same stage that night were: Soliloquy & Son Of Science.

Opening act for the main day was Sweden's act 'Heed', who have released their debut album titled 'The Call'. I have to admit that I have never heard the band before until Is aw them at this festival and I wasn't sure what to expect. I was rather surprised and happy with what I heard. What I heard was a pleasant sound of you're typical Swedish melodic metal/ with some elements of prog metal and strong and powerful vocals by Daniel Heiman, who has a very powerful and interesting vocal range. This band certainly seemed to get the crowd going for the opening act and more stronger acts were yet to come. This 5 piece act are a strong force to listen too and be heard. Songs that the band played were: I Am Alive, Ashes, Faith And Blood, Salvation, Running From The Shadows, Enemy, Corona, & Last Drop Of Blood. I suggest if you have not heard the bands debut album and seem interested in hear this band who seem to come across between Yngwie, Nocturnal Rites, then check out this band for sure. Next up was yet another Swedish act, this time it was 'Cloudscape', a very awesome act, who have released 2 albums to date. 

The bands debut album 'self titled' to me a an awesome and very impressive debut. This album reminds me of Section A, Minds Eye, Beyond Twilight, Yngwie and many more. Front man Mike Andersson is a great vocalist and is almost perfect as he is on CD. Joining Mike in the band are: Bjorn Eliasson and Patrik Svard (guitars), Haynnes Pherson (bass) and Roger Landin (drums). These guys are great musicians, there is no doubt about it. Their music is top notch live and they are a force to be heard. The bands 2nd album 'Crimson Skies' is yet another awesome 2nd album and sees the band progressive in yet another every moving and yet strong push forward. I was really looking forward to see in this act live as I knew Mike but never had the chance to see yet along meet them until now. The band have come along way and I do hope they come back really soon to our shores. Sadly the band had to cut 1 song sort, this been 'In These Walls', which was a shame. Songs that the band did play were: Breach In My Sanity, Shapeshifter, Everyday Is Up To You, Demon Tears, Aqua 275, Will We Remain, In These Walls, Under Fire. Lets hope that these guys come up with yet another classic Swedish Metal album, rock on guys!!!

Next up was 'Dreamscape', the 1st German act to the bill. Again Dreamscape are another band I wanted to see live. This 5 piece act have released 3 previous album, the bands 1st 2 albums featured 2 former singers. The band released an album this year which was the 1st 2 albums re-mastered and reworked with newest front man Roland Stoll who has a very powerful and more suitable voice for this type of band. If you have not heard Dreamscape before then they are very close to that of Dream Theater with hints of Fates Warning, Psychotic Waltz and Queensryche. Mainly their sound is close to that of Dream Theater. saying that there is nothing wrong with that as this act do it very well and with style. The band are to release their latest album in mid 2007 for Massacre Records, so keep an eye open for that, I certainly will!! The band played a 40 minute set of pure technical and complex Prog Metal which I really enjoyed just like Cloudscape. it was funny to see 2 bands on the same bill with the 'Scape' in the bands name, and with both acts following 1 another I guess some people got the bands times wrong. This bands line-up stands as: Jan Vacik (keyboards), Wolfgang Kerinnid (guitar), Benno Schidtler (bass) & Bernhard Huber (drums). I have to say that Dreamscape were another band I was rather looking forward to see in and to see just how well they perform live. I have to say there were awesome, and could the next band follow in their footsteps? Dreamscape set list was: Clockwork, Fed Up With, The End Of Light, Thorn In My Mind, Somebody, When Shadows Are Gone. Well the answer was yes. 

This was 'Communic', a 3 piece band from Norway, and what an incredible act they were, there are not too many acts out there with only 3 members who can pull such strong ad technical music like these guys can. If you're a fan of Nevermore, Psychotic Waltz, then you don't need to look any further, as this 3 piece act are just what I have mentioned. 2 awesome acts, 1 of which are no longer with us. Musically this band have a lot of Psychotic Waltz in them with hints of Nevermore, especially with the vocals by Oddleif Stensland, who are very influenced by Warrel Dane (Nevermore) with hints of Buddy Lackey (Psychotic Waltz) in there as well makes this act a truly outstanding. If you heard them you would think there a 4-5 piece act, but surprisingly this 3 piece act deliver the goods that a lot of bands cant do. 1 band point for the band, was the fact that they had to switch their time slots, which did confuse a lot of fans, don't you just hate it when festivals do this?? This band have released 2 albums for Nuclear Blast and I highly recommend both albums. Set list was: Communication Sublime, Frozen Asleep In The Park, Waves Of Visual Decay, Under A Luminous Sky, They Feed On Our Fear. Kick ass Metal from Norway!!

Next up was 'Haggard', an unusual band for this type of bill, but nevertheless I guess there were there for a reason. Bloody hell it took them long enough to get their stuff on stage, I think this band had something like 30 members lol!!! Besides the guitarist, vocalist, drummer the band also brought a folk orchestra with them. At one point I thought I was in the Royal Albert Hall. I really didn't get to see the band as I was busy elsewhere, but I did manage to capture the last song before the band went off stage. I can say 1 thing, they managed to keep the crowd in the hall listening to their blend of Folk, Celtic and somewhat Prog element'ed Metal. Songs that they played were: Per Aspera Ad Astra/Eppur Si Muove, Awakening The Centuries. Next up was former Atrocity and Theater Of Tragedy members. Mainly Alex Krull and his wife Liv Kristine along with 3 members of Atrocity and a drummer who I have no idea from what band he was once in (sorry). 

I really use to like Atrocity back in the day. 'Leave's Eyes', however play a mixture of soft and beautiful neon classical/ folk metal whilst on the other hand they have a darker side with the Death Metal elements mixed with prog Metal, and it all seems to fit well together. I have to admit that this type of music doesn't appeal to me, but at the same time they do what they do well and it seemed to go down well with the fans from the festival. There seems to be a lot of female front bands out there right now and to me they seem to bore me, some are good and some are not so good. At least Theater Of Tragedy were playing this type of music 10yrs or so go so there not a new band. If anything Nightwish and Theater Of Tragedy have been around about the same time. Leave's Eyes have several albums under their belt and continue to grow with strength on each album. I guess Haggard and Leave's Eyes would be a cool tour together, what you reckon? Leave's Eyes set was as follows: Vinland Saga, Farewell Proud Men, Ocean’s Way, The Crossing, Into Your Light, Temptation, Lyset, Legend Land ,Solemn Sea, Elegy. Next up was Florida's very own 'Kamelot', a band I am friends with, yeah Thom!! I have waited many years to see this act, I missed them at Wacken, as Exciter were playing the time, but I have finally got to see them at long last. What a great band they are, and if you're a fan of Queensyche, Crimson Glory, Conception then you are sure to enjoy this act. Kamelot have been around for at least 14yrs now and with each album the band have gone from strength to strength. Since the early days with Mark on vocals and with 2 albums with the same singer the band have progressed from the debut to the bands 2nd album. Since the departure of Mark, Thom recruited ex Conception front man Khan to the ranks and ever since the band have moved on with giant leaps. Kamelot are a band to take notice of and with the band about to release their new album for SPV the future could not be any brighter than it is now. Thom and the boys delivered a powerful punched packed set from start to finish and even included a track from their forthcoming album 'Ghost Opera', which is yet to see the band ever moving forward. Joining Thom and Khan are: Glenn Barry, Casey Grillo and Oliver Palotai (Doro's keyboardist) to the ranks. This outfit could not be any stronger, they have the perfect line-up to date. Songs that they played were: When The Lights Are Down, Soul Society, Mourning Star, Nights Of Arabia, Abandoned, Descent Of The Archangel, Forever, Ghost Opera, Karma, March Of Mephisto. A great set by a great band. Check them out live this year!! 

Well it's been a long day and people were starting to get tired, but they managed to keep the faith and hang it out for the main act. This been Savatage's keyboardist/ vocalist Jon Oliva, with his new project under the name of 'Jon Oliv'a Pain'. Savatage don't need no introduction, so I really shouldn't need to give Jon an intro either, but in case you have not hear Savatage well, they are 1 of the biggest Rock/ Metal Operatic acts around. Formed in the early 80's this act have gone from strength to strength. Jon did a side project in the 90's under the name of 'Doctor Butcher', but they really didn't kick off. Now he is back with this new project that seems to be making more of an impact. 

Savatage haven't done anything new for a while so this is the right timing for Jon to unleash his down beast. Releasing their debut for AFM Records which is doing very well so far. Jon and the 4 boys played a great set of Jon Oliva's material as well as some classic Savatage material. This was a real treat for fans of old and new of Savatage and Jon Oliva's Pain. Jon has a very distinct voice and musically they remind of me Queen in certain places, something my fiancée would be pleased about, with her been a massive Queen fan. The band played a ripping set from start to finish, just check out the set list: Warriors, Sirens, Maniacal Renderings, The Evil Beside You/Streets, Jesus Saves, Tonight He Grins Again, Strange Reality, New York City Don’t Mean Nothing, Ghost In The Ruins, If I Go Away, Agony And Ecstas, Somewhere In Time, Believe, Through The Eyes Of The King, End Times/Edge Of Thorns, Gutter Ballet , Hall Of The Mountain King. 

This was without a great year for a great up & coming UK festival. I wish the promoters well and I hope they have many more successful years to come. Fans of real Metal & Progressive Metal should support this and Bloodstock!! I look forward to next years festival. 


   9.11.06  Bradford Rio's - UK   

This week was a busy week for my girlfriend & I, after been to 3 gigs in 3 days was pretty tiring, but have to finish on a high note was something else. I've seen a lot of Progressive Metal acts in the past, Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Psychotic Waltz, Symphony X and more... but Evergrey was 1 of the best and what a gig to end the year off too. I've been waiting for a long time to see this band and they say the best things come to those who wait, and how right they are! I missed the band when they played Bloodstock and in London a few months ago, but I finally had the pleasure of catching them live at long last. Their debut DVD is awesome and I wanted to see how good they were live, and how professional they are live. They are 1 of the best band's I've seen in the Prog Metal scene, and I'd like to see them tour with an Inside Out tour, with the likes of Symphony X, Enchant, Deadsoul Tribe, Vanden Plas, Pain Of Salvation, now that would be a great package tour!! Thomas & the boys were awesome tonight and the sound was awesome too, even the light show was electrifying because of the dark blues and orange lights made this a 1 hell of a show. Playing for 1hr and 20 minutes or so was a awesome show. Watching the band was almost like hearing the CD and they looked like they were miming to the music, but they weren't!! The band played 1 hell of a show and if you like Evegrey or Prog Metal then I suggest you catch them live next time around. One of the best Prog Metal acts around live, hail Evergrey!! Trax played were: Blinded, End Of Your Days, In remembrance, More Than Ever, Rules Of The Mind, Blackened Dawn, Waking Up Blind, As I Lie Here Bleeding, Mislead, Mark Of The Triangle, Monday Morning Apocalypse, Unspeakable, At Loss For Words, Still In The Water, When The Walls Go Down, Solitude Within, Recreation Day, The Masterplan, Touch Of Blessing. What an awesome show and what a gig to remember for 2006. A band what will go a long and will certainly be remembered in a chapter of the Progressive Metal scene.

           8.11.06  Sheffield -  UK  

One of the UK Legends of Heavy Metal/ Rock has to be 'Motorhead', with Lemmy been the front man for over 2 decades and still going strong he has maintained the unique sound that so many of us have become to love. With so many line-up changes in the past Motorhead have now got a steady line-up been Mikkey Dee (ex King Dimaond) and Phil Cambell (ex Persian Risk), this trio is here to stay right until the bitter end. With such classic albums under their belt such as 'Ace Of Spades', 'Over Kill' , 'Bomber' and such newer albums such as 'Inferno', and their current album 'Kiss Of Death', their sound and style are a league of it kind. I've seen Motorhead 3 times now in a  row, with such support acts such as 'Sepultura'  & 'In Flames', and now with 'Crucified Barbara' a female all girl rock act (pretty foxy girls too) and 'Clutch'. Opening act 'Crucified Barbara', are pretty well unknown over there in the UK, but if you managed to see them at Sweden Rock then I'm sure you will know just who they are. They remind me of a kind of cross between 'Cycle Slut From Hell' and 'L7' when it comes to female rock act's, and of course the dirty edge of that by Girlschool & Motorhead. Playing a 30 minute set roughly they seemed to go down pretty well with the crowd. Some of the trax played that I remember were: In Distortion We Trust (is that meant to be 'In Rock We Trust' by Y&T?), Play Me Hard, I Need A Cowboy From Hell, My Heart Is Black, Motorfucker, Going Down. As far as I remember the crowd took to them and went down pretty well and I'm sure they will pick up more of a fan bases over here. As for the main opening act 'Clutch', they to me were pretty average, nothing outstanding, but fans of Led Zepplin or Rage Against The Machine or early Black Sabbath might find these rather appealing. Playing a set for 45 minutes some of the crowd enjoyed their set, others found them like me the wrong choice for a Motorhead support act. Don't get me wrong, they are good at what they do but I don't feel like they were the best choice of support act. Now for the main act, of course it has to be 'Motorhead', playing a awesome set of classic songs as well as more recent material from the bands latest offering 'Kiss of Death', as always their loyal fans loved every minute of the show. As always the band just come on stage to no intro and Lemmy would say 'We are Motorhead, we play Rock & Roll' then the band are off to a flying start. Loud & proud is what Motorhead are good for and tonight was no exception. Blasting through a set of powerful and sheer ear splitting music everybody had nowhere to hide, as Motorhead shook the stage and venue. Trax played were: Dr. Rock, Metropolis, Over The Top, Traveling Man, I Got Mine, In The Name Of tragedy, Soldier of Glory, Rock & Roll, Sacrifice / Drum Solo, You Got The Power, U Ain't Got The Right, Roseale (Thin Lizzy), Going To Brazil, Kill By Death, Iron Fist, Whore House Blues, Ace of Spades & Over Kill. An awesome night that I'm sure many won't forget, especially my girlfriend who met Lemmy and got his autograph tattooed on her arm, thanx Lemmy!!. Long live Motorhead!!

  &      7.12.06 Bradford Rios - UK  

Yet another gig at the legendary Bradford Rios (one of the UK's Finest). I seemed to of done a few gigs in less than a week during the 1st week of December, yet 2 more were to following in the next 2 days. it was good to see Doro return to Bradford and with style her loyals fans turned up and gave her their support. Like Exodus, this was yet another bad night for crowd attendance, as Motorhead were playing in Bradford the same night, which kind of spoilt things a little, but with Motorhead playing down the road it did not dampen the spirit of the show. Support act came for the legendary UK act 'Blitzkrieg , who seemed to of influenced Metallica back in the day. This band seemed to be ok, but with an ageing rocker on vocals, who looked across between Alice Cooper & Abandom from Venom, he left me and others laughing and in shock. Musically they were pretty good, but the vocalist just looked out of place, which was a shame. Playing a kind of across between old NWOBHM and a fresh powerful sound the band had something going for them and I wish them well. Doro, on the other hand, well what can 1 say about the 'Metal Queen', she is and will always be #1 and with her career starting out with Warlock back in the 80's this German beauty just keeps getting stronger. Still Doro has managed to keep the same line-up for a number of years now, this been ex members of Johnny Dee (ex Waysted), Oliver (Kamelot), Nick Douglas (Deadly Blessing) and Jon (ex Lita Ford) to the ranks. With Doro supporting her latest album 'Metal Warrior', which is released through AFM Records, her popularity is becoming stronger than ever. As ever Doro and co are on top form and the sound was superb. Playing a set for just over 1hr 30 minutes, this was a great gig with some classic Warlock and Doro trax which everybody enjoyed. Trax played were: Fight, Earthshaker Rock, Hellbound, All We Are, I Rule The Ruins, Always Live To Win, Fight, East Meets West, Fur Immer, White Wedding, Burning The Witches, Breaking The Law (Judas Priest), True As Steel, Above The Ashes, Dance Demons, Strangers Yesterday, Love Me In Black, just to name a few. One all of a show by the Metal Queen herself. Check out the new DVD just been released this month (Dec 06). I look forward to see in her again, stay true as steel!!

Biochemical    &        3.11.06  Bradford Rios - UK  

Well it's been a while since I last saw the band, see in the band on their last UK tour for the 'Tempo Of The Damned' tour was pretty impressive, but now the band are back, this time with a new line-up, featuring Heathen guitarist Lee Altus , Paul Bostoph (ex Forbidden/ Slayer) and new front man Rob Dukes, along with Gary Holt and Jack Gibson. Exodus have come a long way over the last 2 decades and their new album is yet another shining example of what the band still have to offer. Catching up with the band after a year or so was a great show and playing new and old classics made this a truly awesome show. Bad thing about the gig was, the fact that Slayer were playing in Manchester the same night, so that kind of put a dampener on the night. Support act for the evening came from Biochemical, a band from the UK who are signed to Earache and have released 2 albums. Mixing their style of Thrash with powerful vocals by vocalist John who once sang for Balance Of Power. They reminded me of Forbidden in some way and playing a cover of Judas Priest's 'Painkiller' was a great choice of songs and well played & sang. Not knowing Biochemical's music it is hard for me to tell you what songs they played, but their 45 minute set was a good and powerful with plenty of thrashing but melodic riffs. Exodus did deliver a powerful and head splitting set even if the crowd attendance wasn't great the true fans supported the band and even got a mosh pit going. Songs that Exodus played were: Bonded By Blood, A Lesson In Violence, Piranha, Exodus, Seeds Of Hate, The Toxic Waltz, Objection Overruled, Blacklist, Tempo Of The Damned, Forward march, Magnum Opus, Sealed With A Fist,  I Am Abomination, just to name a few. Awesome gig by 1 of the Bay Area's finest. I hope to see the band again in the near futur and if you haven't had the chance to see them yet then I suggest you do next time around!!



     29 - 30.9.06  Derby Assembly Rooms  - UK  

It was good to be back at this indoor festival in the UK known as 'Bloodstock', it's been a while since I attended the indoor 1. This festival has been going now for the last 4-5yrs now. Over the last 2yrs the festival has taken it's self to the outdoors and like the indoor 1 will become just as successful in years to come, and with the backing of Wacken behind them the future is looking bright. I managed to check out the outdoor 1 earlier this year and I have to say Friday's line-up on the main stage was awesome. This year's indoor festival saw 2 days of pure headbanging Metal from some new acts and some reformed acts which is also good to see. Having arrived Friday lunch time I made it in time for the first act, some friends of mine that I haven't seen in a few years, and it was good to see them return with a new album in the works. This been 'Marshall Law', hailing from Birmingham (land of the mighty Judas Priest), these guys were ready to hit the stage and playing for a mere 30-45 minute set I was really looking forward to see in live. Andy and Dave are the only 2 original members playing their unique style of Power Metal with a edge of Judas Priest thrown in. Since the mid 80's to the mid 90's Marshall Law were making a name for themselves, and all of a sudden the band went quiet for some years until now. The band were a good and strong opening act playing songs from the debut album up to their last studio album. Set list was: Foregathering, Twisted This, Victory At Last, God King, Marshall Law, Under The Hammer & Leviathan. A truly awesome opening act to set off a perfect festival. Next up was 'Majesty' from Germany, who are building a pretty big reputation at the moment, especially in Europe. The band have started to build a following here in the UK too, with their Manowar/ Priest style of Power Metal. The band have released a few albums for Massacre Records & are continuing to grow with each album. The band have released 4 studio albums and 1 live CD/DVD, which I recently bought and think is pretty cool stuff. The band however, look like a typical old school German band which is cool and their music does have elements of some of the older German Power Metal acts such as Grave Digger & Accept, as well as newer bands such as Paragon. Playing a 45 minute set the band played a spectacular set of sheer melodic but yet powerful Power Metal. The crowd loved the band are the songs went from strength to strength. Vocalist Tarek "MS" Maghary is a powerful singer indeed and is well suited to the bands music. Listening to the band and watching them was a delight and by the time the band had finished their set the crowd were hungry for more. Some of the trax I noticed that they played were: Metal Law, Keep It True, Hail To Majesty, Heavy Metal Battlecry, Sword & Sorcery, Fields Of War, Keep It True. This is a band well worth checking out, lets hope they come back in the near future. Next up was 'Savage Circus',  a band that I don't know that much about, but what I do  know is that this band also hail from Germany and features ex Blind Guardian member and Iron Savior, Persuader. Formed in 2004 the band have released their debut album titled 'Dreamland Manor'. The band play a similar music to that of Blind Guardian, Persuader & Iron Savior as well as the likes of Helloween/ Gamma Ray. I wasn't sure what to expect from this band, but I knew it would be something along the lines of the bands already mentioned. I have to say I wasn't that impressed with the bands music at all, and live they sounded ok but not much of a stage presence. Trax that the band played were: Evil Eyes, Between The Devil & The Seas, Waltz With The Demon, Ghost Story, When Hell Awakes, Beyond Reality. I would of much rather seen a band with more  of a stage presence and more drive in their music, such as Paragon. 

Next up was 'Axel Rudi Pell', which I'm sure most of you will already be aware of. Axle use to be the guitarist for 'Steeler', the German act, who released 2 albums in the 80's through SPV, which were pretty good album and were directed towards the Accept, Priest style of metal. Now that Axel has formed his own band under his own name, this band have released several album with various line-ups, and included Jeff Scott Soto. Now that Axel has a steady line-up over the last few albums his band are a strong and solid unit. With the new release titled 'Mystica', the band are stronger than ever before and to nights performance proved just that. Joining Axel is Mike Terrana (Rage), Johnny Gioeli (Hardline), Ferdy Doernberg (Rough Silk) & Volker Krawczak on bass. The band played an hour set roughly, which the crowd were excited to see as this band have never really played in the UK before, so it was a treat for both the band and the fans. I have to admit that the band were excellent live, very tight and very professional to say the least. I would have to say that this band are more directed towards a Rainbow, Deep Purple and maybe The Scorpions sound than that of Axel's previous act 'Steeler'. Playing trax from the bands new album as well as some of the back catalogue was yet a treat for fans new and old. Some of the songs played were: Mystica, Haunted Castle, Temple Of The King, Drum Solo, Rock The Nation, Fool Fool, amongst others. A tight and excellent set by 1 of Germany's top Metal acts. Last act for the evening was yet another German act, this time it was 'Primal Fear', a band that is now taking the world by storm as these German hopefuls are becoming a force to be reckoned with. Formed by ex Gamma Ray front man 'Ralf Scheepers' and long time bassist 'Matt Sinner' of the Sinner band. With the release of 6 albums under their belts, these German meteller's are going from strength to strength. The bands latest album 'Seven Seal' is the bands last album for Nuclear Blast, which is a shame, but the band are now signed to Frontier's Records from Italy. This si not the 1st time Primal Fear have played Bloodstock, if I am right in saying their 3rd time around. The crowd certainly want them back otherwise these Power Metaller's wouldn't be playing here again. Mixing a Judas Priest, Saxon, Accept sound and also that of Sinner & Gamma Ray to their sound really does the band justice and as Ralf's vocals remind me of Rob Halford, I can see why so many people like this band. This band are as tight as ever and the sheer power that this band give off live is well worth checking out as they are have influenced so many up & coming bands, even if they are not the most original band, there is no mistake about it that these guys mean business. Set list that the band played was: Demons & Angels, Rollercoaster, Nuclear Fire, 7 Seals, Angel In Black, Under Your Spell, Chain Breaker, Battalions Of Hate, Evil Spell, Diabolus, Final Embrace, Metal Is Forever, Running In The Dust, & Suicide & Mania. What a awesome performance by these guys, just wish you had of been there if you weren't!!

Saturday 30.9.06:

Having had a great day before it was time to do a write up on Saturday's acts, also getting up later didn't help, but as you know it's about rock & roll!! First act of the days for me was 'Machine Men', hailing from Finland, these guys have released 2 albums to date and are singed to Century Media Records. This was the bands debut live performance and to be able to play a festival such as Bloodstock had to be an honour for the band. These 5 guys are better than I thought, and their current album 'Elegies' is a pretty impressive album, considering I was expecting to sound like their Stratovarius or some Black metal band. But I have to say that this band have a little more to offer than you would expect. OK, so there not the most original band, but what this band do have to offering is enjoyable on the ears. Not sure who they sound like but they are a great Power Metal act that do have a promising future. Playing a 45 minute set some of the bands material included: Falling, Dream & Religion, Back From The Days, Apathy, Power Of The Real World. A future album is in the works right now, so lets see what that will bring. Next up was 'Brainstorm', which I shouldn't need any introduction to these guys, but just in case you don't know them I will enlighten you. Hailing from Germany, these guys are becoming very popular in Europe right now, which doesn't surprise me at all. Playing a mixture of U.S. style Power Metal in the vain of Vicious Rumors, who spring to mind a lot. other acts they remind me of are Metal Church, as well as German acts like Grave Digger. Having several albums, and now signed to Metal Blade the band are becoming more popular with each and every album that they release. Promoting their latest album 'Liquid Monster', the band really got the crowd going as they performed an outstanding set of sheer power & strength from start to finish. These 5 guys are great live and I've seen them form the debut album right up to their current release and they are a mind blowing and powerful act to see live. Trax they played were: Inside The Monster, Invisible Enemy, Highs Without Lows, Shiva's Tears, Doorway To Survive, Blind Suffering, Coming Closer, Tear Down The Walls, just to name a few. Awesome show by a great German act!!! Next was 'Onslaught', a band from the past, now reformed. These guys from Bristol (UK) are now back and are about to release a new album in 2007 with producer Andy Sneap. I remember see in these guys in the early 90's so it was good to see them back together, and I didn't get to see the original line-up back in the day, so it was good to see them back together. Releasing 2 albums with the original line-up such as 'Powers From Hell' and ' The Force' and their most commercial album 'In Search Of Sanity' the band went separate ways, till now. As this was the only Thrash band on this year Bloodstock bill the crowd went ape shit, and even started a pit, which was good to see. They were on top form and the sound was awesome!! Some Trax played were: Metal Forces, Burn, Demonic, Killing Peace, Power From Hell. A great band and welcome back, I reckon they do have the powers from hell!! Last band I saw was 'Vanden Plas', I have waited a long time to see this act and as they only ever played 1 show in the UK in the 90's supporting Dream Theater I really had to see them live. Vanden Plas have been around since the mind 90's are a highly recommended band that I suggest you check out. If you like the likes of Dokken, Queensryche and Dream Theater, Fates Warning then this is a band for you. I really expected to see this band in the main hall but they played on the Dawin stage, which was a shame, but saying that we did get closer to the stage. Playing a set for 1hr and 15 minutes roughly, the band were to be 1 of the best acts of the day, and as a few 100 fans watched on I would say they would agree with me. These guys deserve more respect and they are a top act to watch, especially if you're a musician and like the above bands, and as a Progressive Metal act I'd like tos ee them do more touring here in the UK. Pity the band haven't release a live DVD yet, but I hope the do shortly. Playing a bunch of songs from the bands early albums to the bands current album 'Christ O'. Some of the songs played were: Postcard To God, Somewhere Alone In The Dark, Wish You Were Here, Into The Sun, Far Off Grace, Inside Of Your Head, End Of All Days among others. 

Bloodstock is now becoming a festival to be reckoned with and I wish them well. If you missed this years line-up try to make it to next years out door and indoor festival's. What a great years, pity I didn't get to see more bands, but then again it was a long weekend!!

    Bradford Rios Club 26.9.06  - UK    

This is one band I grew up with and have never had the chance to see back in the day, and I certainly wish I had. I had the pleasure of hearing them on the radio live from Reading & Donnington back in the 80's but that was as far as I got to hearing them live. Now I had the chance to see them live after been a fan for almost 20yrs, this show took place at 1 of the best clubs in the UK, Bradford Rio's. if you ever get the change to visit this venue then please do the sound is awesome and you can get really close to those of you're fabvourite stars. Has Y&T only have 2 original members left those been Dave Meniketti & Phil Kennemore, both are awesome musicians and Dave is without doubt 1 hell or a guitarist and singer. Singing heavy style Blues with a Hard Rock edge makes this band the best of this style of music around. Joining Phil & Dave are: John Nymann (guitar) and drummer Mike Vandererhule, both of which are great additions to the band. I would never of thought for 1 minute that these guys would be playing such a small venue considering they were 1 of the biggest bands in the 80's. As this was the 1st time for the band to play this venue the turn out of crowd was good and they showed the band that they were there for a truly worthy band. Playing a set for almost 2hrs the band went through a storming set of old classic right up to the bands last few releases. Dave's vocals were spot on and the same could be said for his guitar work, a pure genius!! The set list was as follows: Hang Em High, Don't Stop Believing, Dirt Girl, Surrender, Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark, Rescue Me, Eyes Of A Stranger, I'll Cry, Forever, I Believe In You, Roc & Roll Gonna Save The World, Sail On By, Black Tiger, Midnight In Tokyo, Hurricane, Barroom Boogie, & Wings Of Change.  This was a great show by an incredible band that I am so glad I saw live and also met, rock on Y&T!!! I await the next studio album, I'm pretty sure it will be a kick ass release, just watch this space!!


    3rd to 5th August 2006  - Germany 

Well it's been a while since I last visited Wacken, 2001 so been able to return this was a delight and a great pleasure, so firstly I want to thank the promoters for their hospitality. It was also a pleasure to be there with only 1 hr of rain throughout the whole festival, what a delight that was!! Leaving the UK on the 2nd of August to have my 1st day on the streets of Hamburg was a exciting warm up to an event that the whole metal community knows about world-wide. Having a few beers and heading down the the Headbanger's Ball room to meet some cool people and also meeting Mortal Sin (G-Day guys) was cool!! Heading down to the festival on Thursday was cool meeting loads of real die hard metal heads along the way and finally picking my backstage pass up in what can call a long wait and to be caught in the 1hr of rain -damn!! Finally making my way to the festival to put my tent up and head for the main festival site was a buzz in itself. Thursday was of course the warm up day with a handful of bands getting the crowd nicely warmed up. 

Thursday - 3rd: Opening the festival was 'Faster Inferno', which features Rudolf Schenker's son, Tyson Schenker, with his act playing a classic sound of early 80's Metal somewhere across between The Scorpions meets Thunder and various other acts. I only caught about 2 songs of their set and the crowd seemed to adapt their sound and their performance was good enough to grab the attention of the crowd and for what was yet to come. Next to hit the stage were 'Victory', which features ex Accept guitarist Hermann Frank, along side ex Saxon drummer Fritz Randow. Joining Fritz and Hermann are, Charlie Huhn (vocals), Tommy Newton (guitar) and bassist Fargo Pedda Knorrn. Playing a classic style of old school German Metal with hints of Judas Priest and Saxon, this band hit the stage to perform some of the bands classics as well as some of their latest material. Vocalist Charlie has a strong voice the shook the stage and opened a lot of peoples minds up, a great performance by 1 of the 80's classic metal acts. Playing a set of 45 minutes it was time to rock and that is what Victory did, victory at last for this German act!! Next up was yet another family member of the Schenker clan, this time it was Michael Schenker, with 'MSG' group, playing some classic such as 'Doctor, Doctor', the classic UFO track as well as 'Only You Can Rock me', Michael still has what it takes and MSG are a force to be reckoned with.  Damn they called this night, 'A Night To Remember' how right they were, its a full on Schenker family party and were all invited!! Next was Australian Thrash metal act 'Mortal Sin', been around since the late 80's who would ever think that this lot would  re-appear after all this time? Having been on a major label back in the day these guys went from strength to strength and then all of a sudden they split up!! It was sad to see them disappear without trace till only a few years ago they slowly returned. Only original members left are Mat & Andy (G-Day guys), but joining them are Mick, Nathan & Luke. Mick was formely with Addictive, another Aussie band who released 2 albums. For those who don't know much about Mortal Sin, well if you like early Metallica and Testament then these guys are right up you're street. Playing on the W.E.T. Stage, these guys started up a hornets nest just before The Scorpions hit the main stage and what a great performance they put on. They certainly got a great mosh pit going and any old school Thrasher would of loved to of seen this band. Only playing for 1hr and 15 minutes, these Aussie guys took no prisoners, just bloody awesome stuff. Playing such songs are: I Am Immortal, Lebanon, Voyage of the Disturbed, Out Of The Darkness, Tears Of Redemption, Say Your Prayers, Mayhemic Destruction. Aussie Metal is back!!!


Next up was a mind blowing experience, the one and only mighty 'The Scorpions', damn I've seen this band 4 times now, but this was without doubt their best performance, no questions asked!! To see the Uli Jon Roth, Herrmann Rareball playing some of the bands old classics, as well as Michael Schenker and son of Michael also on guitar made this 1 hell of a performance. Playing an 2hr 15 mins set was just awesome!!! To top it all the band even had a mechanical Scorpion which came out of the drum raiser towards the end of the set. When you hear Uli Jon's guitar playing you can certainly hear why Yngwie is such a big influences of his. I really hope that the band release this set as a DVD, I'm pretty sure they will and if they don't then they really are been fools to themselves. 

The set is was: Bad Boys Running Wild, The Zoo, Loving You On Sunday Morning, Make It Real, Pictured Life, Speedy's Coming, Dark Lady, We Burn The Sky, Love Em Or Leave Em, Don't Believe Her, Tease Me Please Me, Holiday, Love Drive, Another Piece Of Meat, Blackout, There's No One Like You, Big City Nights, Still Loving You, In Trance, He's A Woman She A Man, Dynamite, Rock You Like A Hurricane. Wow, what a superb performance by a legend Metal band. 

Friday - 4th: Saw some really good acts and after a stunning performance from The Scorpions, I think everybody was ready for yet another kick ass day!! First band of the band for me was Six Feet Under, formed by ex members of Cannibal Corpse and Death/ Massacre the band took to the stage at 3pm to deliver a  brutal assault on the Black Metal stage. Playing a mixture of Cannibal Corpse, Obituary & Celtic Frost type of Death Metal, Chris Barnes and Co took the crowd by storm. 

Playing trax from the bands current album as well as their back catalogue the crowd loved what they did. Not forgetting the cover of AC/DC's 'TNT'. a nice melodic but at the same time brutal vocal approach to such a classic trax. Playing an hour set was a great start for me and with yet more to come from other acts on the Black Metal stage was only the beginning of the day. 

Next up was the Mighty 'Nevermore', now how could I not see this act, there fucking awesome live and good friends of mine so there was no way I was going to miss their set. its a pity that Steve wasn't in the band, but I wish him a speedy recovery. 

Standing in for the band on 2nd guitar was Jag Panzer guitarist Chris who did an awesome fill in for Steve. As we all know that Nevermore rose from the ashes from Sanctuary, a classic late 80's metal act who only released 2 albums. Now that Nevermore have risen from their ashes this band deliver a mighty punch that not so many bands can do. 

Playing an outstanding set for an hour saw this band take on 1000's of die hard metal heads, and with Warrel getting the crowd to bodysurf to one of their songs was amazing to see, I'd never seen so many body's floating to the front of the stage in 1 song, how awesome was that??? There are & will always be a force to be reckoned with, not for the faint hearted.  Trax they played were: The River Dragon, I Voyager, We Disintegrate, Dead Heart In A Dead World, Enemies Of Reality, Narcosynthesis, This Godless Endeavor, Born, just to name a few... Long may Nevermore reign supreme!! 

Next up for me was a quick moment of 'Opeth', I only managed to see the last 2 songs. I have to be honest I have not heard that much by this act, but I always thought they were a Black metal act, but from what I heard they were more like a Progressive Metal act with of course some elements of Death Metal or maybe Black Metal. Having clean vocals to their music and some interesting riffs and music that reminded me of some elements of Dream Theater & maybe COC made me rather enjoy what I heard. Only thing is I just wish I had heard more... Maybe next time!!  Next was ' Carnivore', and if you happen to be as old as I am then you will remember this band the 1st time around, yes folks this was Pete Steele's 1st band before forming 'Type O Negative'. The band also features Primal Scream's guitarist (Not the Indie band). Carnivore released 2 albums for Roadrunner Records back in the 80's which seemed to receive excellent reviews from the press from around the world. 

Carnivore are a band that certainly are not to be compared to the likes of Type O Negative, as they were more directed towards the more New York Hardcore scene, a more aggressive act then that of Type O. Pete and the boys delivered a good set of all their classic trax that so many of us missed back in the day and at last was finally good to see and watch. The band played an impressive set for 1hr & 15 minutes on the Black Metal stage. 

Next up was 'Children Of Bodom', these guys hailing from Finland are becoming a massive band that so many people are starting to take notice of. Playing on the True Metal stage for 1hr and 15 minutes these guys were very impressive. Most people would say that they come across between Power Metal and a darker side of Thrash, bordering on Death Metal. it doesn't matter to me, as these guys are very talented musicians and come cross between the likes of Iron Maiden meets At The Gates as well as some and a kind of Mille (Kreator) style of vocals. Playing songs from the early career and their newer album they were a force to be taken notice of. Not surprising that the are playing with Slayer this year, check them out if you can!! next up was the mighty 'Celtic Frost', Playing on the Black Metal stage for 1hr 15 minutes & having seen them in the 80's and 90's it was a good feeling to see them return after such a long time away. After the split with C.F., Tom G Warrior moved on with his new act 'Apollo Sun', who were across between C.F with an Industrial feel to the music.  I think they only released 1 album, but C.F. formed out of the ashes of Hellhammer. Tom & Martin are back with yet another killer show of classic Frost tunes that we all loved. As a 4 piece the band delivered an powerful and heavy Doom Metal sound meets Avangard elements to their music. Playing trax such as Circle Of The Tyrants, Procreation (Of The Wicked), Jewel Throne, as well as trax from their latest release 'Monotheist', the band seemed to pull over some new fans. As Celtic Frost are for an queried taste fans of Doom Metal would love their music, especially if you're a fan of either Obituary or Six Feet Under. It was good to see the band return, pity they never played Mexican Radio, love that song!! Last band of the night for me was 'Primal Fear', one of Germany's finest Power Metal act's along side Gamma Ray, these guys were awesome. Having released several albums this band just seem to go from strength to strength and with their current release 'Seven Seals' which is released on Nuclear Blast and have recently signed to Frontiers Records. The band however played a powerful and melodic set on the Party stage which lasted 1hr, well it was 2am in the morning, but like any real Metal Head we stayed awake to see this truly powerful act. Mixing a sound that comes across between Judas Priest, Saxon, Accept and of course Gamma Ray. Primal Fear are a powerful act that deliver to the heart of any real fan of this music. Trax played were Demons & Angels, Roller Coaster, Nuclear Fire, Seven Seals, Angel In Black, Running In The Dust, Diabolus, Battalions Of Hate, Final Embrace, Metal Is Forever, Chainbreaker. Primal Fear are and will always be one of the best German Power Metal acts of all time, you better believe it!!

Saturday - 5th: Yet another sunny day which made Wacken a great year, up bright and early to catch the 1st band of the day, which happened to be '
Metal Church', starting the day off at 12pm till 12.45. I know it was a short set for these Seattle Power Metaller's, but Metal Church did however deliver the goods from start to finish. Vocalist Ronny does however, sound a lot like the late departed Dave Wayne (R.I.P.) so picking Ronny was the perfect choice for the band. With the band releasing their current album for SPV titled 'A Light In The Dark', which is a superb album and shows that the band still can move on but keep their identity that we all know them by. 45 minutes of sheer powerful head banging Power Metal for was a great start to the day. Trak list was as follows: A Light In The Dark, Ton Of Bricks, Start The Fire, Watch The Children Pray, Mirror Of Lies, Gods Of Wrath, Beyond The Black, Metal Church, and yet again Mirror Of Lies, why they played it twice I will never know but the crowd loved it. Next up was 'Arch Enemy', what can one say about these Swedish Thrash/ Death metallers, what with their catchy riffs and brutal vocals by Angela Gossow makes this band a force to be reckoned with. If you think of such bands as Death & Carcass then this is what Arch Enemy are a about with some melodic hooks of Maiden and Priest thrown in. 

Playing on the Black Metal stage Arch Enemy played a 45 minutes set of sheer ear bleeding Thrash/ Death Metal and these guys are so professional at what they do and if you have ever seen them live then you will know what I mean.

 Both guitarist Mike Amott & Fredick Akesson (also in Talisman) were a team that no one could stop.  Sharlee's punch like bass and Daniel poundings drums added to an awesome set from start to finish. Angela's vocals are so scary at times to think that she can sing with such a brutal voice is another stp forward. I think she should team up with Holy Moses singer for a duet!!! Anyway the band played such songs as Dead Eyes See No Future, Savage Messiah, Burn Me An Angel, Silent Wars, Arise, just to name a few. 

Next up was 'Morbid Angel', again on the Black Metal stage. Its been a few years since I last was these Florida Death Metal warriors and especially with Dave Vincent return to the fold along with Eric Rutan, these 4 guys delivered a powerful punch. For those who haven't seen the band before with Dave it was certainly a treat for all. Playing their technical style of Death Metal these guys are one of the pioneers of the Florida Death Metal scene. Playing at set of 1 hour, these guys tore the stage apart from start to finish just like Arch Enemy. Now that would be a killer double headliner tour wouldn't it?? Playing such classic songs from the Dave Vicent era such as: Maze Of Torment, Lord Of All Fevers & Plague, Pain Divine, Sworn To The Black, Immortal Rites, Chapel Of Ghouls, Blessed Are The Sick, Where The Slime Live, Rapture, God Of Emptiness. What can one say about Morbid Angel, there are and will always be one of the best Death Metal bands around. 

Later on I managed to catch 'Gamma Ray', who were playing on the 'True Metal' stage, and these German Power Metaller's played an awesome and incredible set too for 1 hr and 15 minutes. Kai Hansen & co took to the stage in their glory to deliver a powerful set. Mixing a classic style of music which comes close to that of  Judas Priest, Accept, Iron Maiden style and turning them into powerful sound which is mixed with that of Kai's old band Helloween makes these guys an awesome outfit. 

It has been a few years since I last saw these guys, which happened to be Bloodstock here in the UK. As the band are about to release their latest DVD this was a great opportunity for them to show the world just how good they really are. Kai is an awesome singer and guitarist and the rest of the band are equally as good and very tight live which makes them even more enjoyable to watch. Playing songs from the band latest album titled 'Majestic' as well as the bands classic tunes which also included the song 'I Want Out'. Playing such trax as: Gardens Of The Sinner, New World Order, Fight, Blood Religion, Land Of The Free, Somewhere Out In Space, among others. Gamma Ray  were electrifying and what a performance. 

Next up was the mighty 'Whitesnake', you really hard for me to believe that I've never seen the band before, but have managed to see most of the classic bands back in the day, expect for Sabbath and Whitesnake. Well the time had come and I was really looking forward to see in Dave Coverdale and co at long last. To me the line-up was excellent, Doug Aldridge (Dio/ Bad Moon Rising), Reb Beach (Winger/ Dokken), Tommy Aldrich (Ozzy) and a new bass player who I had never seen as well as the current keyboard player was a superb line-up. Dave and co delivered an awesome set, but with only 1hr 15 min set was short and sweet. Only bad thing about their set was the fact that they had to have a drum and guitar solo in this short set which was disappointing to say the least. There could of been 2 extra songs thrown in the set if they didn't have the solos. Oh well never mind!! 

Play some of the bands heavier songs and cult classic made this a top form performance and with 1 new track, which shows that the band are in preparation for a new studio album. opening track was 'Burn' a classic Deep Purple song, which certainly got the crowd in the mood. 

As ever Dave pulled it off perfectly, almost as good as Glenn Hughes. Doug & Reb are great guitarist, no doubt about it. Since the opening track ever song was superb. Their set was: Stormbringer, Fool For You're Lovin, Love Ain't No Stranger, Ready & Willing, Is This Love, Ready To Rock (new song), Crying In The Rain, Give Me All Your Loving, Here I Go Again, Still Of The Night, Bad Boys. What a set and I look forward to see in the band again and I'm looking forward to hearing the new album soon. Last but not least for me was yet another UK band, the 1 & only 'Motorhead', what can one say about Lemmy? he is a legend in hsi own right and what a super cool guy he is too. 

The rest can be said for Mikkey & Phil. Playing for yet again 1hr 15 mins, Lemmy and the boys showed the crowd just how they can still rock and make you're ears bleed in 20yrs or so... Loud and proud is their saying and Motorhead just did that. I'm glad they weren't playing indoors to some level as ever Lemmy & co like to turn their volume up after a few songs, it's their trade mark!! As the band were about to release their new album 'Kiss Of Death' so it seemed to be titled the band set out to annihilate the stage and they just did that. Unfortunately I missed the 1st song, so I have to go on what the rest of the set included. 

For many years Lemmy has sustained and maintained the sound that so many of us love to hear. It was only a short but sweet set, which was a shame but it doesn't matter as Motorhead kick ass live anyway. The set list included: Metroplis, Over The Top, No Class, I Got Mine, Tragedy, Dancing On Your Grave, Fast & Loose, Sacrifice, You Got The Right, Going To Brazil, Ramones, Kill By Death, Iron Fist, Ace of Spades, Overkill. Check out the band on their forthcoming European tour later in the year. 

Other bands on the bill I didn't manage to see, like any festival you can't see them all were: Fear Factory, Caliban, Subway To Sally, Aborted, Soulfly, Emperor, Finntroll, Bloodthorn, Orphaned Land, Atheist, Rose Tattoo, Soilwork, Ektomorf, Born From Pain, Despairs Ray, Ministry, In Extremo, Darko Jones, Wintersun, Amon Amarth, Six Feet Under, Mystic Circle, just to name a few.  Yet again this was another great year and I look forward to be there next year!! Long live Wacken!!!

     Catton Hall - Derby 14-15th July 2006 (UK)  

This year has seen some outstanding festival either been or are about to take place, such as B.Y.H, Sweden Rock, Wacken and now Bloodstock Open Air. This is the 2nd out door festival for Bloodstock, and the 1st one I missed unfortunately! Since Bloodstock started a few years ago in doors this festival is now becoming a little brother of Wacken & B.Y.H, and will soon be as big as Download in the very near future. I have to say that this years line-up was pretty impressive, especially the Friday 14th, which every band on the main stage were outstanding, none were faultless. A perfect day day some kick ass metal acts from the USA, Germany, Sweden & Denmark made a awesome line-up and with the weather for the 2 days of the festival been sunny made it even better. I didn't get to see any of the bands on the 2nd stage on Friday because of the line-up on the main stage which mainly consisted of Power or Progressive Metal. Opening band on Friday were danish act 'Pyramaze', which features ex Balance Of Power front man. Lance King who certainly does this band a lot of justice with his powerful high but yet melodic voice and with the band playing some powerful but yet melodic Progressive Power Metal, they were the perfect opening act. Mixing Queensryche, Fates Warning and Dream Theater Prog Metal with the likes of Iron Maiden, Helstar Power Metal side was impressive enough even for anybody who hasn't even heard the band before. Set list for Pyramaze was: The Birth, What Lies Beyond, Sleepy Hollow, Melancholy Beast, Souls In Pain, Legend, The Bone Carver, Ancient Words Within, & Power Of Imagination. Check out the bands 2 CDs, out on Nightmare & Massacre Records.

Next up was Sweden Power Metaller's 'Nocturnal Rites', having released several album for Century Media Records, they certainly were having to work hard to beat Pyramaze awesome set. Mixing their Power Metal sound which to me comes across between Riot, Yngwie & Gamma Ray is a good mixture for any fans of the Power Metal era. I've seen this band before at Dynamo so I knew what to expect from this lot, powerful and melodic and heavy Power Metal which has that typical Scandinavian sound that so many of us love to hear. Jonny lindkvist is a awesome vocalist, very powerful and he reminds me of the singer from Riot, that way I get the hint of Riot in their music. The played an impressive set which left a lot of people hungry and wanting more. Tracks from their set list were: Shadowland, Deliverance, Iron Force, God On My Shoulder, Afterlife, just to name a few... Following Nocturnal Rites were Progressive Death Metal act, 'Atheist', who back in the day released 3 awesome album through Music For Nations here in the UK. 

Their debut album 'Piece Of Time', was so impressive that everybody back in the day were talking about it for months on end, a great debut which featured the departed ways of Roger Patterson, who pasted away before the band recorded their 2nd album 'Unquestionable Presence', this album featured Tony Choy who later on went on to join Dutch Death Metal act 'Pestilence'. Atheist, on the other hand, offer an impressive Death Metal sound mixing the likes of Nasty Savage & Death along with the technical sounds of Watchtower, which made this band an impressive act back in the day. As this was a re-union tour, it was good to finally see them live after all the years of been a fan. It's such a pity that they wont record a new album, why I don't know but I'm sure if enough fans email them that they would release a new album. Set list for Atheist was: Unquestionable Presence', On They Slay, Unholy War, Retribution, I Deny, Incarnation Dream, Mother Man & Piece Of Time .

Next to hit the stage was German Power Metal act 'Rage', which really I shouldn't need an introduction, but if you're new to the name I will, Rage have been around since the mid 80's or even the early 80' s starting under the name of 'Avenger', who released 2 albums before changing their name to 'Rage'. Peavy has always been the forefront of the band since the day they were born, having several line-up changes I'm now sure that Peavy has the perfect line-up. Joining him is ex Yngwie drummer Mike Terrana and the impressive guitarist from Russia Victor Smolsky, who is without doubt the best guitarist I've heard to come out of Russia. Now signed to Nuclear Blast these 3 guys have what it takes to make a perfect album and line-up. If you've seen their DVD then you will know what I mean!! Playing what could be a great set from the bands early material right up to their new material from their latest album 'Speak Of The Dead'. Songs which the band played were: Down, War Of Worlds, Firestorm, Innocent, No Regrets. One of Germany's finest trios, check them out!! Next up was a band I've waited years to see, pity I never got the change back in the 80's, this is Seattle's Power Metal act 'Metal Church'. 

This band have been around for many years now and have also had some bad luck like Atheist, were this band lost their original front man Dave Wayne in a freak accident. The band have released some classic albums in the past such as 'Metal Church', 'The Dark', which both albums put the band on the heavy Metal map. The band have had some not so good releases in the past but their latest album 'A Light In The Dark' is an impressive album in my mind. Even the band's last album 'Weight Of The World' was a great album. The band now features ex Malice guitarist Jay Reynolds & Savatage drummer Jeff Plate to the fold. Front man Ronny Munroe is a great addition to the band, who sounds a lot like Dave Wayne (R.I.P.) and I'm sure Dave would be proud of his performance. They were without doubt the band of the festival in my opinion. Tracks played were: Badlands, Ton Of Bricks, Start The Fire, Leave Them Behind, Watch The Children Pray, Mirror Of Lies, The Dark, Gods Of Wrath, Beyond The Black, Metal Church. What can one say about this band, unique!! 

Last band for Friday were head liners 'Edguy', who proved yet again they can deliver the goods and with several albums under their belt the crowd still cheered them on. With the release of the bands latest album 'Rocket Ride' this album still proves that these German Power Metaller's are still on top  form. Playing songs from their latest album as well as their classics was a great sight to see, even if singer Toby said 'Here another crap song from us' that didn't do the band much justice as people seemed disillusioned by his attitude. Songs that the band performed were: Babylon, Hysteria, Trinidad, Anastasia, King Of Fools, Vain Glory Opera, Lavatory Love Machine & Super Heroes. Other acts that played the Saturday which I really didn't know much about expect for Stratovarious were:  19th Century, who reminded me of Thunder and Free/ Zeppelin. Next up was Gorilla Monsoon, mixing a Nu Metal sound with hints of Doom Metal, Ensiferum, who seemed to be close to yet another Pagan/ Viking Metal band. Callenish Circle, who remind me of across between Fear Factory, In Flames, and the did an excellent job, well performance which the crowd seemed to enjoy. Other acts were: Seasons End, yet another female front band, who mix the likes of Night Wish meets L Coil. Ashtar, yet another female front band who went down pretty well. Bal-Sagoth, were next playing a mixture of Death Metal meets Manowar, which seemed ok. Turisas were next, they seemed to steal the show on the Saturday playing a mixture of Viking / Pagan Metal which came across between Skyclad meets Amon Amorath. Headliner's for Saturday were Stratovarious, who did an excellent performance but they looked rather bored on stage, as if they didn't want to be there, which was a shame really. If you're a fan of Yngwie and Helloween then this band is certainly up for street. Track list for Stratovarious were: Hunting High.., Speed Of Light, Infinity, Kiss Of Judas, Will My Soul Ever rest.., Star In The ..., Million Light Years..., Black Diamond, just to name a few. This year was a great year and I'm sure this will become the UK version of Wacken in yars to come. Support a real Metal festival and c u next year!!


    &    &     - 12.6.06  London 

Well it's been 13yrs wait for me to see King Diamond band, and I have to say the wait was well worth waiting for. I've seen tons of bands live, but King Diamond is 1 of the best gigs I've seen. So much professional attitude on stage really made this gig well worth see in after a long period of wait. Support acts for King Diamond were Belguim Power Metal act 'After All', who have released 2 albums to date, 1 for Mausoleum Records. The band seemed to be a decent opening act which a lot of people took the time out to watch and take notice of their music. I have to say some of their music wasn't too bad, but the fact that they covered Slayer's 'Reign In Blood' seemed pretty pointless to me, even thought the crowd seemed to enjoy it. It was just a poor cop out which they could of added another 1 of their own songs. When it came to their style of Power Metal I have to say there were some U.S. influences in there, maybe a hint of Agent Steel, Forbidden etc... Still they seemed pretty impressive and I rather enjoyed them.

Second act was Mercenary from Denmark, and if you saw them live last year supporting Nevermore then you will know what to expect. Yet again the band played an impressive set which included songs from both album the band have released through Century Media. Playing for about 40 minutes the band mixing an impressive blend of Progressive Metal and Death Metal seems to go down very well. it's like mixing Fates Warning with Death/ In Flames which went down well with both the crowd and the band. 

Playing such song as: World Hate Center, II Dreams, Fire Soul to name a few made the fans enjoy every minute of the bands set. This is a band that I recommend you check out.

Now comes the moment that I have waited 13yrs to see live, the infamous King Diamond band. I've interviewed King on the phone so many times, but still haven't had the pleasure of meeting him in person, 1 day I will catch him!! I did manage however to meet the rest of the band, and I have to say Andy La Rocque is without doubt the best guitarist I've seen live. He's also a down to earth guy, than guys you made 2006 for me!!! Having not seen King before I had heard about his horror show stage presence which I was looking forward too. I could imagine Alice Cooper, King Diamond and Halloween all on the same bill, a Horrow show from hell or what!!! First comes the coven of Abigail, and then the intro starts up, seemed to go on for ever whilst symmetry gates were placed across the stage.

 Looked impressive, but the band and manager didn't realize that it was a stupid idea since the press had to take pictures through the bars on the gates, seemed rather stupid and should of let the press in once they and removed the gates. Maybe they will learn from this mistake for the next tour. Other than that the whole show was just awesome. Playing trax from the early days and also including some Mercyful Fate material made this 1 hell of a show!! Trax that were played were: A Mansion In Darkness, Abigail, Eye Of The Witch, Sleepless Nights, Mansion In Sorrow, The Family Ghost, Halloween, Black Horsemen, Welcome Home, and many more King classics. I cant wait to see the band live again I just wish they play more than 1 show in the UK next time. Us up north really suffer from 1 off shows, so King if you're reading this play in the North next time please, thanx. King is 1 of the best live performers I've ever seen, its a Metal Horror Show with a story!! Long live the King Diamond band!!

  11.6.06  Mean Fiddler -  London  

It's been a while since I last saw Florida Death Metal merchants 'Obituary' playing these shores. I just managed to capture them live this time around just as a extra show as I was only planning on see in King Diamond, but I arrived in London on the 11th, so I thought I'd check out the show. It was good to see the band once again as the last time I saw them live was on the 'World Demise' tour, and that was some years ago. As it was also Download week, the turn out was pretty good but not as many as I would of thought of. Still the crowd turn out made it a kick ass night to remember. Obituary are 1 of the few bands that have remained true to their own identity since the days of 'Executioner' and have survived the test of time along side the likes of Morbid Angel, Malevolent Creation, Cannibal Corpse etc... Playing a set for about 1 hour 20 minutes each and every song was head splitting metal from start to finish. Set list was as followed: Redneck Stomp, On The Floor, Insane, Chopped In Half, Turned Inside Out, Threatening Skies, By The Light, Solid State, Back Inside, Find The Arise, Dieing, Stand Alone, Lockjaw, Til Death, Slow Death & Slowly We Rot. A great night of pure head banging metal, welcome back guys!!

   &     Sheffield Corporation  8.4.06 

Well what can one say about this gig, it's been a long time coming, especially for those Anthrax fan's who have either not seen them before or like myself haven't seen them live for a number of years. I know a lot of you who have or will see this tour will be very excited to see one of the kings of Thrash return with their classic line-up. I remember see in Anthrax back in 86 when they supported Metallica, on their 'Master Of Puppets' tour, damn now I'm showing my age!! Have only seen Anthrax also at Monsters Of Rock in 86 as well and in 87 was the last time with Testament as support act. I was surely excited to see them live again. I know I'd like to see the band doing a 3 line-up tour, the 'Fistful of Metal' line-up, followed by the current classic line-up and then the John Bush line-up all on the same bill. Now that would be a killer tour. Well the opening act was 'Only Hell Remains', which features Charlie from Anthrax nephew in this band. The only played a short 20 minute set of pretty brutal Hardcore meets Death Metal, which really went down really well. Playing songs from their debut mini CD the crowd certainly took to their music and I'm sure the crowd were ready for the next act, this was of Tim 'Ripper' Owen's, ex Judas Priest and currently Iced Earth front man who's new act 'Beyond Fear' was the support act. Having known Tim since the days of Winters Bane, it was also good to meet Winters Bane's former bassist Dennis for the first time, as well as a another friend of mine, guitarist John from the band '13 Faces'. I was really looking forward to see in what Tim and his new band could deliver and I was very impressed. I knew that there would be some killer screaming vocals, that's the way I like them and Tim and co certainly delivered that to the crowd. To hear their music on their live performance I would say they come across between Judas Priest, Iced Earth and Pantera, so I'm sure you get a perfect picture. They certainly were impressive to what and to hear a melody of 2 Priest trax and 1 Iced Earth onto 1 song was surely impressive to say the least. I managed to get a live set list from Tim so here are the songs that they played live were: Scream Machine, And... You Will Die, Save Me, Coming At You, Words Of Wisdom, My Last Words, The Human Race, I Don't Need This. Great performance by a great bunch of musicians, with heavy yet powerful Power Metal, they way I like it!!

Next was the mighty Anthrax, and as both opening acts had pumped the crowd but by now we were ready for an assault of pure 80's hard hitting Thrash Metal. As the crowd shouted 'Anthrax' there was a certain atmosphere that was about to be unleashed and as soon as the mighty Anthrax hit the stage, all hell broke loose!! As the intro started the the 1st song was unleashed the crowd went ape shit!! Playing some fine songs the band just went from strength to strength that nite and playing some classic Anthrax certainly got the crowd going, especially when Scott Ian told the crowd they had to either mosh or head bang  to 'Indians' made this a nite to remember. This really did take me back to 86 when I first saw them live, the atmosphere was just electric  and the band just had so much energy and power they pretty much just blow everybody away. They played an impressive set, but failed to played one of their classic and most popular song from the 80's.this was 'Mad House', I think we were all waiting for this classic trax, but unfortunately it never came, pity really. Song that they did play among other's were: Among The Living, Metal Thrashing Mad, got The Time, Caught In A Mosh, AIR, Skeletons In The Closet, Anti Social, NFL, Medusa, Indians, I'm The Man, I Am The Law. A great gig by one of the Thrash Kings, let's see what the next album brings, it's only a matter of time. In the mantime if you manage to see them in Europe right now please check them out, both band's were awesome!!

      &    Sheffield City Hall  - England  4.11.05 

It was a night to remember as far as plenty of Metalheads were considered. It has been 14yrs since I last came to Sheffield's City Hall to see Judas Priest on their 'Painkiller' tour and before that Metallica's 'Master Of Puppets' tour back in 86. Damn I remember this place been much bigger than I thought it was, but having seen it once again it seemed to be a lot smaller. Motorhead are still touring the UK till the 23rd November, and the tour has been within the UK since 30th October 05. It is also good to see that Motorhead are finally getting decent support acts, last year we saw 'Sepultura' and now 'In Flames' from Sweden. Unfortunately we didn't get to see 'Girlschool', so can't review their performance. 'In Flames' are now becoming a very popular band within the Thrash/ Death Metal scene were new and old fans are taking the bands music as a breath of fresh air. The band also had the pleasure of playing with 'Judas Priest' earlier this year in Sweden, which must of been a buzz for the band. Tonight 'In Flames' did a superb performance, but the crowd didn't really support the band for some unknown reason which I don't understand as they kicked some serious ass that night. Fans of the band who did support them really did cheer them on, but Motorhead fans seemed reluctant to support the band, which was a damn shame. The track listing for their set was: Quiet Place, Pinball Map, System, Epidsode 666, Clayman, Trigger, Cloud Connected, Touch Of red, Colony, My Sweet Shadow. I was impressed and I'm sure any 'In Flames' fans their were too.

Next up was of course the mighty 'Motorhead', which certainly don't need any introduction by far, but for those of you out their who do need 1 then I will enlighten you. This 3 piece were formed back in the 70's and still to this date Lemmy and the boys are still kicked ass and splitting ears apart!! Motorhead have had a couple of line-up changes over the years but the main 2 well known line-ups has to be filthy Phil, Fast Eddie and the recent line-up Mikkey, Phil and Lemmy. As ever Motorhead to what they is best, by splitting you're ears apart and delivering hard hitting Rock/ metal whatever you want to call it to their die hard fans. This band are still one of the pioneers of Metal along side Priest, Maiden, Sabbath, and there is no doubt that Lemmy and co still deliver the goods at 150%. It's not hard to see why so many people love Motorhead's music, its just pure Rock & Roll with attitude and that's the way Lemmy and the boys like to deliver their music. The band had a impressive light set which certainly made the show a lot more exciting and with a backdrop to also follow the band just came on the stage kicked some serious ass and then left their fans in deafness and amazement. Like Motorhead their is no intro they just hit the stage and rip from one song to another. The trax that they played were: Dr Rock, Stay Clean, Love Me Like A Reptile, Killers, Metropolis, Over The Top, No Class, I Got Mine, Tragedy, Dancing On Your Grave, Fast & Loose, Ramones, Sacrifice, Power, Brazil, Killed By Death, Iron Fist, Whore House Blues, Ace of Spiders & Overkill. An impressive and exploding set by one the the UK's greatest and best loved Rock/ Metal acts around.

      Bradford Rio's  - England  23.9.05 

Once again Bradford Rio's comes up on top with yet another kick ass gig, this time around it was the turn of Nevermore, Dew Sense & Mercenary, of which all 3 bands delivered a kick ass show. Nevermore were suppose of played the UK earlier this year but cancelled for some strange reason, but I'm glad to say they finally made it outside of London. This show had a great turn out & the crowd were ready for the mighty Nevermore. With the band touring for their successful album 'This Godless Endeavor', which was released a few months ago is really taking the metal world by storm. The band have also toured in the U.S. with Symphony X, Megedeth, Dream Theater, and I reckon that must of  been a killer tour from hell!!. The opening band for tonite was Danish Thrash/ Death act 'Mercenary', who despite only have a handle full of people watching them really did give it their best shot and they certainly won the hearts of a few out there, they certainly warmed my heart. Playing songs from their latest album 'II Dreams', also on Century Media seemed to go down well enough. I'm not sure of some of the bands earlier material, but some songs from the latest album they played were: World hate Center, II Dreams, Times Without Changes, just to name a few. I like the way they mix clean vocals and Death Metal vocals, and frontman Mikkel has a great clean vocal voice and I'm sure he would be great in a Power Metal or Prog Metal act. The band mix a nice blend of Prog, Power, Thrash & Death Metal all into one. Give them a chance, pity they only played a 20 minute set. Next up was German Thrash/ Death Metal act 'Dew Scented', and this was not the 1st time the band had played Rio's, so people at the club would be already familiar to the bands presence. This 5 piece, hit the stage and brutally annihilated the stage with their brutal and intense music from start to finish. It's rather hard to describe who they actually sound like, but if I had to say any bands I would say Malevolent Creation, Testament, Kreator, just to name a few. Savagery was certainly on the menu for this act tonite. I'm sorry but I'm not familiar with the bands song titles, but they were a brutal head ripping act, worth checking out!!

Finally 'Nevermore', the headliners were about to demolish the stage with their devastating mixture of Power, Thrash and hints of Death Metal to be unleashed into the stage. it was also a sad tour for the band as guitarist and friend of mine Steve Symth had to depart early through the tour due to his father's sudden death, so I wan t wish Steve well and send my condolences to him. As Steve was not playing with the band for a few days, the band however played a brutal and powerful set as a 4 piece and they totally trashed the stage from start to finish with their awesome set, which really had the crowd going for it, the crowd loved what they heard and the set list could not of been better. Saying that I would of loved them to of played 'The Psalm Of Lydia', as this is a killer track. Warrel and co are one of the greatest and finest Metal act's around and if like me you managed to see Sanctuary in the day then you will know just how good both bands are. I really can not fault this band because they are afterall a awesome live act and all the bands albums kick ass. It's a pity this band can't get on the bill for the likes of Download, or Bloodstock, maybe these festivals should get them on next year!! The Kids in the UK need to hear and learn about this powerful metal act. Like any band, when they release the next albm it becomes more difficult for the band to choose a perfect set list for any show and I'm sure it was the same case for Nevermore. Despite the bands downfall of Steve not been with them for a few days, the band however are still 1 of the kings of real Metal music, even if you love or hate what they do, there here to stay and good on them!! Some of the songs the band played were: Born, My Acid Words , Beyond Within, Seven Tongues Of God, The River Dragon Has Come, The Heart Collector, Never Purify, Sentient 6, Final Product, The Sound of silence, Narcosynthesis. Check them out live you will not be disappointed. (Review by Jason Brown) & (Pictures by Paul Brandy)
Enemies Of Reality

   Bradford Rio's 16.10.05 - England. 

Yes the mighty Saxon return to the shores of the UK, the bands homeland. It was good to see the band finally back on our shores after been in Europe for a while. Saxon like Judas Priest are awesome bands, but still people find something funny and don't take them serious enough, which I find insulting to 2 legends of Metal, I don't know why it is but these 2 bands take more shit then any other legendary bands out there, and Saxon and Judas priest have influenced so many bands I think they deserve more respect especially in this country. So kids stop taking the piss out of this 2 awesome bands and show some respect, because if it wasn't for them there wouldn't be the likes of Slipknot etc.... Enough of that, I think you kids get the message. It was a pity that support act Brainstorm from Germany didn't play here as they were suppose too, I wonder what happened?? Saxon have released some kick ass albums over the years with the likes of 'Wheels Of Steel', 'Power & The Glory, ' Crusader' and later albums such as 'Killing Ground' 'Metal Head' and the awesome remake of 'Heavy Metal Thunder' sees the band soaring to the top once more. Let's not forget the latest album 'Lion Heart' which is yet another chapter in the Metal Crusaders life. Biff and the boys were back and ready to kick some ass as usual and this tour also saw the return of long time drummer Nigel back within the band. The band were playing to a full house in their home county of Yorkshire (UK) and a warm welcome they received too!! Play a complete classic 80's set with only 1 song from the latest album, which was the title track, the band played some classic, some of the trax were: Motorcycle Man, Frozen Rainbow, Wheels Of Steel, Crusader, 747, Heavy Metal Thunder, The Eagle As Landed, Never Surrender, To Hell & Back Again, Redline, Princess Of The Night, Lion Heart, Strangers In The Night, Denim and Leather, just to name a few. Saxon are and will always be one of the finest metal acts to come out of the UK, don't let the crusader die with out a fight. After all, Saxon have the hearts of a Lion Heart and continue to uphold the British flag for Metal along side Motorhead, Priest, Maiden, Sabbath etc... Respect them or face the wheels of steel!!! (Jason Brown)


               The Bang Your Head Festival – Messegelande, Balingen, Germany.    June 24th 2005 / June 25th 2005.   

Oh, how the Germans love festivals. And it’s none other than top magazine Heavy Oder Was who are celebrating 10 years on the festival circuit by taking over the town of Balingen near Stuttgart and producing rock festivities which are both singularly Germanic but great fun for all those concerned…..! Sad then that no one thought to tell us that finding the actual parking place takes hours and the traffic in the area has become the very same car park the venue’s been transformed from. When we arrive Destruction have already plied their trade in support of new album “Inventor Of Evil” due in August and Exciter and Kamelot are a distant dream.

It’s blisteringly hot but Amon Amarth seem totally unconcerned. The only really heavy band on the bill over the two days, their Swedish Death Metal attack is largely lost to the PA. but ‘The Victorious March’ seems convincing enough and although it’s not my bag, the boys seem to be putting enough heart into it to get a few punters down the front trying to jump around without cracking their heads open on the concrete. No such problems for German rock diva Doro Pesch and it’s during her set that the festival really starts to settle. Admittedly, this is a home-grown, die hard audience but when Doro works them with such beautiful anthems as ‘Hellraiser’ and ‘True As Steel’ you know that it’s gonna be very difficult to fault her. With a great sound and a driving groove Doro is to music what absinth is to drinking. You feel calm – there’s even a crisp a cappella version of ‘Breaking The Law’ to get you in the mood  – but with ‘All We Are’ you know you’ve been totally rocked to the foundations. Less so with Udo Dirkschneider and his Udo beasties. I accept that the guy has probably the best guitarist of the afternoon in Stefan Kaufmann and starts well with the new album title ‘Thunderball’ but today Udo seems split between trying to convince with his own power metal anthems and the last part of the set where the band throw in the huge crowd sing-a-long ‘Balls To The Wall’, ‘Princess Of The Dawn’ and the brilliant ‘Burning’, all songs by the band Accept who’ve been playing to audiences at home for the very last time this year. It’s a masterstroke, but one that undoubtedly takes the edge off their own material.  


Gamma Ray come to this festival as yet another home-grown star playing new material – the album “Majesty” – but that they’re then unlucky with sound and a little too slack is both disappointing and surprising. Kai Hansen is cheery and the rendition of ‘Land Of The Free’ superb, as is new track ‘Blood Religion’, but ‘I Want Out’ and ‘Armageddon’ are just simply too sloppy to really be convincing and you’re left feeling that the guys have missed an opportunity rather than seized the moment. Something next band Saxon know all too well. Germany is virtually a second home for this lot and as they start their set with ‘Lionheart’ you just know that this is going to be a set high on technical precision and greatest hits. There’s no eagle of course today, only Mikki Dee guesting on ‘747 (Strangers In The Night)’ is different to the norm but as the seconds pass you realise that this crowd is suddenly more alive and wonderfully together. ‘Motorcycle Man’ and very early anthem ‘Backs To The Wall’ are tracks the UK. may not have heard for a while, Biff almost tearful as he sings a track that closed the very first Carrere album in 1979, but my favourite of all, ‘Princess Of The Night’ and the wonderful ‘Never Surrender’ are the real crowd pleasers as excellent sound and a great light show prove that real rock music lives on here even when Nu –Metal threatens to dominate at home. ‘Denim & Leather’ closes and the crowd would have gone home happy. Except of course, this isn’t Saxon’s gig, this is Motorhead’s and they’re on the tour that will thoroughly celebrate that 30th Anniversary. Sad then, that Lemmy has sound problems for most of the early numbers and the crowd seems somewhat subdued despite a thorough work out from Phil and Mikki Dee circa ‘Love Me Like A Reptile’, a blistering and very loud version of ‘Killers’ from the excellent “Inferno”, a brutal ‘I Got Mine’ and a wonderful ‘Sacrifice’. Motorhead are once again getting recognition for the music only they create – their headlining appearance at Download is probably more important to them than this - but they get in ‘Dancing On Your Grave’ and the aforementioned ‘I Got Mine’ from “Another Perfect Day” (which they don’t play in the UK, because “everyone hates it”), and they send everyone home once again with the familiar duo of ‘Killed By Death’, and ‘Ace Of Spades’. Tremendous.  

Day two and apparently someone forgot to tell God that a lot of people would be unhappy if it rained – about 20,000 to be exact. During the night God has pissed on Balingen, the monitors are half full of water and the stage has taken on more than the Ark itself. So we start at nearly 1pm and the first five bands are all playing twenty-minute sets. Not that that makes much of a difference to Demon. This band only had one good song – ‘Don’t Break The Circle’ from “The Unexpected Guest” album in 1982 – and they played that. Much more relevant are US gritty thrashers Vicious Rumors who lost their original vocalist Carl Albert in 1995 but have, since, pressed on with the excellent Brian O’Connor building quite a reputation here which guarantees them a big roar as their devious but scything thrash attack led them quickly through ‘Minute To Kill’, ‘Abandoned’ and the crushing ‘Six Step Sisters’ with a great sound and big stage presence from O’Connor and guitar giant Geoff Thorpe. Only then for the festival to take an even more dramatic step backwards with the power of Nasty Savage. Now, I hadn’t seen Nasty Ronnie and Co. since the early 90’s when they’d been one of the first Western bands to take part in Metal Battle, Poland but “Psycho, Psycho” (2004) has been out for a while and the comeback is well and truly complete. You ‘d never know it. Basically NS is a trip back in time to thrash when solos were ‘essential’ and bands cracked at songs like geldings. Ben Meyer is still as sharp on ‘XXX’ whilst Ronnie? Well, he’s like a demented Mike Muir. All TV sets in Balingen were safe, there wasn’t time for Ronnie to break any of them today, but it was lovely to hear the old school fighting back.  

Jag Panzer have never been my kettle of fish; power metal with little finesse on record didn’t look too inspiring as this lot took to the Balingen stage but then I’d discounted Harry Conklin. Man, the band were having a few problems and the fifteen minute set certainly didn’t help but by ‘Iron Eagle’ in particular he’d just about covered every section of the stage and with such a great voice he’d convinced even the most sceptical. Not a problem German bruisers Tankard put on their CV. Some of the beer and age in general may have taken it’s toll, but when these guys rip into ‘Empty Tankard’ and ‘Chemical Invasion’ you realise that this country is probably one of the most ‘liberal’ in Europe for accepting types of music. Which is why the next band are so loved. Nevermore are quite simply the only up and coming band on this bill. Sure, they’ve already had a huge history and the “Dreaming Neon Black” and “Dead Heart…” releases built the success that lies at their heart today, but “Enemies Of Reality” is still fresh to many and they’ve already got “The Godless Endeavour” warming up nicely in the racks all ready to fill in the hole made by that one. Do they rock as well! Singer Warrel Dane is quite simply the tallest man here and the crowd lap up his words on ‘Enemies Of Reality’ and ‘Sound Of Silence’ as if at the altar. Sad that the band only has a short set, no song here is under five minutes, but when they up the ante the odd notch with the heavier angle now adopted, you can see the reaction out front. Germany loves them.

Germany also worships it’s own, so it’s with no surprise that almost as soon as Nevermore have finished Axel Rudi Pell is being announced like a long lost pal. And it rains. He may write songs called ‘Strong As A Rock’ and turn the stage into party mode mimicking the work of great frontmen like Dio and guitar heroes like Yngwie Malmsteen but sadly Pell is neither. You can’t argue with his pulling power, just his lack of international appeal. A thing next artist Sebastian Bach knows all too much about and has lost once too many times. He thrusts his crotch, swings the mic stand around his barnet Coverdale style and plays ‘Slave To The Grind’, ‘Monkey Business’ and even ‘Youth Gone Wild’ but sadly he’s about as relevant now as the Deutschmark. Yes, the old voice comes through once or twice, a new song ‘America’ is convincing enough to suggest that the man might have a future, but all too often “party-mode” takes over and it sounds as though the old guy’s trading on lost pastures. Which is not something you could accuse the next band of. Put simply, Candlemass produced one of the come back records of the decade and they’ve come to take the crown back. Balingen has seen this lot before, they played on the very same bill after the first reformation in 2002, but ‘Black Dwarf’ is a whole new box of tricks and as Messiah launches into the vocals BYH comes alive and rocks its little socks off. ‘Solitude’ sees Doom Dancing returned to Germany, ‘Bearer Of Pain’ from “Ancient Dreams” keeps the pulse flowing and ‘At The Gallows End’ brings it all to a close with a huge Lasse guitar work out and big smiles all around. If they needed any further spur to keep on producing the goods then there’s none better than 20,000 Germans roaring you to your final notes as you leave them crushed into dust.

Not something I’d recommend doing during the so-called special guests of the day though. BYH has had wonderful moments in years gone by when Bruce Dickinson guested, and more had been mooted, but the appearance of Hanoi Rocks and then Tramps White Lion will endear few if any to the cause in future. Mike Monroe of Hanoi Rocks is and always was an embarrassment as a singer – no change there, and Mike Tramp is only just slightly better having reconstituted his band in Denmark and tried to write a few songs whilst still peddling tracks from ‘Pride’ (‘Hungry’) and feeding little power into a flaccid collection of old stuff that makes Bon Jovi sound like Power Metal? The bar staff were suddenly very busy!

Not a problem you’re going to encounter with a Dio set. Quite simply BYH goes up a notch when this old pro gets to the stage and as ‘Holy Diver’ and ‘Stand Up And Shout’ take their bows you know that you’re in the presence of someone to whom the words ‘bad show’ simply don’t exist, even if you are ravaged by the passages of time still listening to Rainbow favourites ‘Long Live Rock And Roll’ and the ubiquitous ‘Heaven And Hell’. Ronnie James Dio is Mr Consistent – ‘Gates Of Babylon’ being a nice oldie not heard for a few years and ‘Sunset Superman’ from ‘Dream Evil’ a track I hadn’t heard before; Craig Goldy once again makes ‘Egypt’ his own although I’m sure he plays the songs slower now, but for me Dio is and always be, ‘Holy Diver’ – look out for his “Night With…” series in October. Then there’s Twisted Sister. If one band could be capable of headlining a festival like this, then it is them – the same band that returned to the fray with ‘Still Hungry’ (which they then play in full) and closes with ‘It’s Only Rock And Roll, But I Like It’ the first time they’ve played the song in twenty years. For a moment, I forgot time itself. Sure, JJ and Dee are all a bit older and certainly a bit fatter but moving around the stage like a whirling dervish, Snider is still as convincing with his call of ‘We’re Not Going To Take It’ as in the old days when the band graced the stage of the Marquee “Under The Blade”, with more swagger and “Street Justice” than many could have imagined. Germany sang out as one ‘I Wanna Rock’ and Balingen went home happy. Great sound and a great party for all. (Mike Exley) All Pictures by Mike Exley (c) 2005

  Strapping Young Lad.     Astoria, London.       5th June 2005 

Some of the promoters in this crazy country must think that our metal community has very deep pockets? Not only are System Of A Down playing just down the road but Zakk Wylde is only just two days out of this venue and the ridiculously priced Download Fest. is five days away? All the harder to explain to Devin Townsend and Co. when they’re coming to London with arguably their most important album and producing a set list that is more vibrant than both their major counterparts put together? Not that those who do come go home disappointed. Put simply, Strapping Young Lad rock and when the band does let up to play something off the stomping new album ‘Alien’ (‘Love’), it’s as though the new material has been fitted into the same glove as the huge ‘All Hail The New Flesh’ and the inevitable crushing workout that is ‘Detox’ with the same ease as even the mighty King, Araya, Hanneman axis employ. This is one city where Strapping seem to rise to the occasion. Devin’s dreds lash out wildly during ‘Aftermath’, the crushing ‘Shitstorm’ takes few if any prisoners left who might not be convinced, and what strikes you more than anything is that even though this band is raging on all cylinders with only really ‘Shine’ breaking the almost endless roaring cycle of venom emitting from Messrs. Hoglan and “new” Fear Factory member Byron Stroud, the sound is not only clear but brutally effective. Keyboards are given room to breath and not just when they’re roaring through your ears like a Stukka bomber diving into the venue, guitars swirl but still embrace the music wonderfully and the voice of Townsend is heard blissfully loud as he criss-crosses his now accepted line between madness and genius. A gorgeous evening for all those that could. (Mike Exley)


  – The Astoria, London. 7th May 2005 

Regular gig goers will already know the name Rich Ward, the maestro behind the mighty Stuck Mojo and the trailblazer that persuaded world WWE grand champion Chris Jericho to use his voice for more purposeful pursuits than slanging matches with opponents. Then, it’s still a brave move to book the Astoria for a show that is at best only their second major appearance in this country, and it’s by no means full? Rich has already been on stage earlier in the evening with his solo project – The Duke – a kind of acoustic and electric sing-a-long lounge music session with fellow Mojo and Fozzy members that is at best forgettable, but nothing can prepare us for the truly abysmal noise that accompanies tonight’s main support – The Suffrajets. Fine, many of the audience are scarcely out of their teens and the sight of four very spirited young girls blasting out L7 and Joan Jett inspired ‘Ramones and Roll’ is fine, but then, that it’s so poor and unimaginative really must demand the question as to why anyone thinks they can actually write songs. They certainly can’t play them.

Fozzy are infinitely better. Breaking a ghetto blaster with a sledgehammer isn’t exactly Nasty Ronnie, Jericho doesn’t even use his chest, but when Rich is on form you know that Fozzy is going to be about much more than a smash and grab raid. The crowd is in fine voice despite its size and ‘Enemy’ and ‘Crucify Yourself’ are fine with some really big chords dashing themselves against the stage. But, a ‘Death Metal Polka’ after only three songs? Come on, guys! If you’ve earned your chance to do that with people’s money then fine, but this band still have a lot of work to go through and the new material (and dedication to ‘own brand’ material particularly) is barely out of nappies. Jericho also seems to be suffering tonight; admittedly putting all into the show, the vocals nevertheless slip all too often. He’s been talking to people all day and is probably hoarse – the queue at the signing session was very impressive – but that’s your instrument. To add further insult to injury, you have the curse of the cover version to contend with too. Fozzy started that way and when ‘Eat The Rich’ (Motorhead) hits you know that it’ll probably be the death of them as well. Stick to the original material and build on the force generated by “All That Remains”. Anything else and this will be one short last song saloon! (Mike Exley)

    Sheffield Arena (England)  28.3.05 

One can only describe Judas Priest as the God's Of Metal, and how true the band lives up to their name. Probably the must influenced metal band on the planet, the band return's with the Metal God, yes folks Rob Halford. This was a night that all Priest and metalheads alike were waiting for, the return of the 'Painkiller' era as the 5 musicians took to the stage to deliver one hell of a mind blowing set. Its' been almost 15yrs since Rob left the band to record with the likes of 'Fight' and 'Halford', which I believe Halford are going to record another album together. Something which will be interesting to see!! Ripper, however was without doubt an excellent replacement for Rob, even something the guys in Priest would not disagree with and gave Judas Priest the lift they were looking for for the last 5yrs or so. Now with the new album 'Angel Of Retribution', which sees the band return to a more classic Priest sound (British Steel meet's Painkiller) era this album is faultless, even if Lochness seems to be over looked as disappointing song I think it's not bad, I've heard worse!!! After an superb performance by The Scorpions the crowd were ready for the Gods themselves, light went down and the intro started. The crowd went apeshit as the band opened p with 'The Hellion/ Electric Eye, which was absolutely electrifying. The stage presence and stage set really made this a night to remember, with Rob coming out of the electric eye behind the drum riser in full leather and studs!! A great 2hr set of classic Priest with 4 new songs thrown in too. Track listing for the night was: Metal Gods, Riding On The Wind, The Ripper, Touch Of Evil, Judas Is Rising, Revolution, Hot Rockin, Breaking The Law, I'm A Rocker, Diamonds & Rust, Deal With The Devil, Beyond The Realms Of Death, Turbo, Hellrider, Victim Of Changes, Green Manlishi, Painkiller, Hell Bent For Leather, Living After Midnight, and You've Got Another Thing Comin. Bow before the metal masters, the angel of retribution is upon us. A superb night and long live the Priest!!!

Sheffield Arena (England)  28.3.05 

Well what can one say about this band and of course the main act 'Judas Priest' and the same stage together? I have only ever seen this band ocne and that was about 4 yrs ago in Nottingham (Rock City) UK and they were a awesome live band. I also saw the band a week before this show, but I only got to see about 3 of the last songs as we arrived late. Well I did manage to see them this time in their full glory. The band have 3 original members left, Klaus, Rudolf & Matthias are now joined forces with ex Kingdom Come drummer James Kottak and new bass player Pawel Maciwoda, also from Germany. The band are at the moment promoting their new album titled ' Unbreakable', which is doing really well. The band played for about 1 hour and they really got the crowd going and  ready for the main act with their superb performance I really couldn't fault their set, only bad thing was the sound, but other than that it was a great set. Trax they played that nite were: Rock You Like  Hurricane, Winds Of Change, Bad Boys Of Rock & Roll, Love Bites, Rhythm Of Love, Dynamite, Hit Between The Eyes, Still In Love With You, and some new songs which I haven't heard yet. A great set by Germany's biggest Metal act.


  & Dark Tranquility     The Electric Ballroom, London.      16th February 2005. 

When Kreator come to town you always know you’re in for an unpredictable evening. There’s been times when Mille and crew couldn’t even play this venue and their last visit to these shores was very much diminished by the fact that co-headliners Destruction had pulled out and Mille’s voice nearly collapsed under the strain? Now though, Ventor and the boys are surely “Senior Consistency” to a tee, certainly in their studio output, so it’s their support line up that is at best the unpredictable crew here. I mean, Dark Tranquility come here on the back of a great musical adventure. “Character” is as it hints at, a great character builder displaying some fine musical forays, but live singer Mikael Stanne’s lack of ability is even more graphic than on the CD and you’re left feeling that the band are pulling in two very different directions. Not a problem Ventor or Mille are going to have – tonight the only problem that presents itself is a relatively quiet audience (Mastodon are also in town) and just how many classic tracks they can pack into the set before it bursts. Guitarist Sami Yli-Sirnio now seems capable of handling any old tearjerker thrown at him, so the result is a brilliant night rippling with such great 80’s thrash classics as ‘Pleasure To Kill’ and ‘Extreme Aggression’. Of course, tonight is also about the last two great albums, particularly the wonderful ‘Enemy Of God’ which is pilfered liberally and its beautiful and no less caustic cousin ‘Violent Revolution’ whose title is now fast becoming as much a crowd favourite as older moments like ‘Flag Of Hate’ and the closer ‘Tormentor’. What Kreator do most subtly though, is to give their audience a trip down memory lane whilst also battering them into submission so that the buying of the new album is virtually a guaranteed cert.. Mille is his usual laid back self – the lack of an obvious big personality in this band has often lead to criticisms that they had become a little faceless in the melee that is the heavier side of Heavy Metal in the ‘Naughties’ – but the red and darker colours of the stage lighting merely make the power of songs like ‘Renewal’ and ‘Riot Of Violence’ pick up all the greater, so what the heck? It’s almost certainly kept the band together for as long as this, so mission accomplished. (Mike Exley)

Sebastian Bach   - Sheffield Corporation Club  - UK  4.12.04   

It's been a long time since Sebastian Bach came to these shores since he departed ways with his former band 'Skidrow' back in the 90's. Since then Sebastian has recorded 2-3 solo albums and recently released his debut DVD which was on sale on his recent European tour. We here in the UK thought that Sebastian had disappeared until he returned with his new line-up, which when I first heard I was quite shocked to discover the line-up he now has. The current line-up consists of former Ice d Earth members, Ralf & Mark, long side them are Johnny on 2nd guitar and Testament/ Sadus bassist Steve. It was nice to meet up with an old friend been Steve from Testamant and have a beer or too, so that made the night for me even more enjoyable. The crowd were hungry for this band to appear and like the support act who were very poor nobody seemed too interested in the local band that appeared that night. 5 guys ready to kick ass and that's what they did, opening up with 'Slave To The Grind', which the crowd loved, a nice heavy opening track and a classic Skidrow track. Most of the songs played on this tour were old Skidrow trax, something I think the crowd wanted to hear. The trax went on as followed: Big Guns, The Threat, Frozen, Piece Of Me, Bring Me Down (a new track), Here I Am, 18 & Live, In A Dark Room, Monkey Business, Time Warp (Rocky Horror...), I Remember You, & Youth Gone Wild. I also saw the band at Bradford (UK), in which they played a tribute song of Pantera's 'Walk' dedicated to the death of Dimeabg, which really did shock Sebastian. So that was really cool for them to play that as a sign of respect. A good night, but rather short , only played for about 1 hour or so. Lets see what the band can come up with for their 2005 release.

  &     Sheffield University  - UK  11.11.04  

What a night to remember, one of the Godfathers of Rock & Roll along side Brazil's biggest export 'Sepultura' as support act. It was a good night to see 2 godly bands, 1 of the godfathers of Metal and also 1 of the top Thrash act's, the biggest act to come out of Brazil 'Sepultura'. This was a night that was packed and sold out at Sheffield's University. Speultura hit the stage and the crowd went ballistic as the band hit the stage, plenty of stage diving and as the night went on the crowd wanted more by these Brazilian thrasher's. The band played for roughly 45 Minutes. This was the first time I had seen the band with frontman Derek Green, and I was pretty impressed to say the least, and it does prove that some bands can carry on without the original frontman. The band played some really excellent classic trax that night such as: Desperate Cries, Escape To The Void, Troops Of Doom, Territory, Resist/ Refuse, Roots Bloody Roots, and Beneath The Remain's. Other trax the band played were also impressive but I didn't know the songs for the rest of the set, sorry. All in all these boys an still pull it off just like they did in the 80's.

Next up was of course the mighty Motorhead, Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey are and will always be the tightest outfit the band has ever had. Motorhead never use intro tapes they just come on stage and and Lemmy been Lemmy tells the crowd 'We Are Motorhead' and off they go into a brain crushing set that leaves everybody deaf and num for a short spell. Playing for over a hour and a half the band really are what dirty Rock & Roll should be all about. Opening up with 'Dr. Rock', a typical classic Motorhead sound, which the crowd went ape shit over. The followed onto the following trax: I Got Mine, Shoot You In The Back, Love Me Like A Reptile, No Class, ect... Lemmy is without doubt a excellent frontman just as Halford & Ozzy are as well. This guy certainly knows how to get the crowd going, but then again he's had plenty of experience to win the crowd over and that is what Lemmy does best!! Other trax included were: Killers, Over Kill, Ace Of Spades, Killed By Death, Orgasmatron, Civil War, Iron Fist, Overnight Sensation, Sacrifice, just to name a few. Motorhead are a band not to be missed, and if you have not seen them before I suggest you do so next time around. Awesome night that will be remembered for a long time.

Obituary / Mortiis                Rodon Club, Athens.  24th October 2004

The old saying goes, “never mix business with pleasure”, but even when on holiday, as happens to be the case when the reformed Obituary’s European tour makes landfall, I’d have to have been barmy to have missed this. So, with several hundred Athenians, the partner and I are packed into an old cinema in one of the areas of Athens the tourist would never want to see, to witness the fresh faced thirty odd year olds who make up the original Obituary line up now roar back out of the blocks and kick some proverbial ass. Before curtain up though, we have the gimp industrial wrigglings of the new Mortiis and all I can say, is, come back Marilyn Manson, all is forgiven. I know it’s unfair to lump the work of one musician so blatantly into the camp of another, but really there is so little difference that you’d be forgiven for thinking that Manson himself had penned much of the Mortiis set. The darker more sublime side to the Scandinavian is abandoned in a headlong rush to the line and a creaky, industrial beat admittedly brought on by drums and guitars instead of samplers and keyboards, does little to raise my spirits. Mortiis runs around the stage like a demented chicken, but the Athenian roar for the intro to Sepultura’s ‘Refuse Resist’ on the in-house PA is louder than for him, and that says a lot.

No point shouting when the curtain goes up on Florida’s finest though! Holy shit. Singer John Tardy has been telling me that all the shows on this tour have been well received in the break, but tonight Athens surely can’t shout any louder. And as Trevor Peres and Allen West rip into the opening chords my mind is torn back some eight or nine years to times when this band ruled the Death Metal roost. I mean, I remember Peres’ guitar sound like a child remembers a dentists drill, but here it’s even more vicious than before tearing huge slabs of sound from tracks like ‘Turned Inside Out’ and ‘Cause Of Death’ and flinging them out to the baying hordes like the trophies of a battlefield. It’s true that some of the ‘mystery’ of Obituary has gone – you know that John Tardy’s vocals are largely spur of the moment and not the language of hells teeth itself ripping up from the ground - but Frank Watkins and Donald Tardy keep a furious pace on the rhythm section and songs such as newie ‘Insanity’ and the classic ‘Slowly We Rot’ prove that this band will be welcome anytime down Athens way. There’s a drum solo from Tardy – surely something borrowed from his time playing with Andrew AK. and not really ideal in an Obituary format – but these guys obviously just love being up there again despite the intervening years, the marriages and the children. A great sound inside the venue caps it all and everyone goes home knowing that Obituary are back from the dead – again!! (Mike Exley)

                 The Garage, 15th July 2004.

I don’t know about you, but Death Angel were probably one of the most unlikely bands I thought I would ever see in the UK. again. Fine, they had been a brilliant part on the No Mercy tour with Testament and had produced a superb come back album in ‘The Art Of Dying’, but to actually see them on a UK. stage is something else. Strange, that I’m then in a half full venue with a strangely placid audience. Never mind. Mark Osegueda and crew aren’t going to worry – they just hammer away to the front couple of rows and give a show that is as powerful as I’ve seen and as honest. Recent addition to the line up Ted Aguilar has few nerves, in fact Rob Cavestany appears to have more early on, but with a set that mixes the new album – ‘Thrown To The Wolves’ – ‘Land Of Blood’, with classic cuts like ‘Kill As One’ and ‘Mistress Of Pain / ‘Bored’, you know that this lot aim to have the maximum amount of fun possible in one hour. Andy Galleon, Cavestany, Dennis Pepa and Osegueda all get in on the vocal act – Galleon a little lost by the sound system from behind the kit – but a Death Angel live set is all about ‘the family’ and the band grip the more ‘punky’ feel of the new material and fuse it wonderfully with the old. Aficionados like me wanted an extra half an hour – ‘Thrashers’ and ‘The Ultraviolence’ – but, really, that’s just selfish and you have to let the band dictate. This band has set out to really make a big statement on it’s come back and tonight is as good as I’ve seen them.  (Mike Exley)    Pic by Jason Brown  © 1990

NIGHTWISH       The Astoria, 16th July 2004.

My review of this band’s new album may have been somewhat short, but for me tonight, this is the real test of the new Nightwish. Marco Hietala (b) and I have been chatting earlier (read it here in the interview section), but you know that if these Finns are to be truly appreciated for their risk taking capabilities, the songs from ‘Once’ have to rip off the stage and crash over the audience like a tidal wave. And, my God, by ‘Planet Hell’ they’re bloody well doing it. The most striking thing about ‘Once’ is that the band never let’s the driving rhythm be weakened by the operatic nature undoubtedly present. Thomas Holopainen is fused to his keyboard like a Keith Emerson clone, shaking back and forth as if possessed by the keys themselves, guitarist Vuorinen rampant as the chords batter the crowd; but really, it’s vocalist Tarja that takes the plaudits tonight. The crowd is huge, testimony to the tremendous job done throughout Europe by Nuclear Blast, but she handles it with aplomb, even avoiding the obvious jokes when someone throws a huge inflatable Nemo fish on stage during the single, which we all know has nothing to do with that silly beast but means ‘nothing’ in Finnish. Tarja doesn’t have to do all the work, Hietala takes over for a rather rough version of Megadeth’s ‘Symphony Of Destruction’, but the night is led beautifully from the front by the siren who lifts material from ‘Wishmaster’ to latest single ‘Wish I Had An Angel’ up into the top tier of the Astoria and involves all in the storming story that is currently the Nightwish trip up the European metal league. The biggest roar of the night is possibly reserved for ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’, the old Gary Moore singalong, but I guarantee everyone goes home from this happy, and you can’t say that that often these days!  (Mike Exley)

   Hull City Hall  (England) - 2004

It's been a while since we have seen any concerts in my home city, Hull and tonight was all set for a exciting because this night was a night of cover tunes from the 70's right through to the 90's, which featured 3 members of (TRF - The Royal Family) a Queen tribute band and Tony Martin ex Black Sabbath on voclas along side Carl Sentance ex Persian Risk & Krokus. I was really looking forward to this show as I had never seen Tony Martin with Sabbath (God I wish I had) but tonight was the first time I had seen this outstand vocalist, playing not only Sabbath covers but also other cover as well. Te other vocals for the show is Matt Moreton, who is also the vocalist for TRF and also Phenomena, the band I believe which featured Cozy Powell. Many people was unsure if this tour would be a success and tonight proved everybody wrong by playing some really classic trax. A good turn out made all the difference and the crowd really did get into the sprit of the show by singing along with the likes of Karl, Tony and Matt, all of which delivered a storming performance. The rest of the band also played their part extremely well, been tight and very professional. 6 musicians and 3 singers really did make a night to remember. Some of the trax that they played were: Rainbow (Long Live Rock & Roll) feat Tony Martin, Iron Maiden (Run To The Hills) feat Carl Sentence, Judas Priest (Living After Midnight) feat Matt Moreton & Carl Sentence, Guns & Roses (Sweet Child Of Mine) feat Matt Moreton, Black Sabbath (The Headless Cross & Paranoid) feat Tony Martin, Free (Alright Now), Ozzy (Mr. Crowley), Whitesnake (Here Ago Again), Metallica (Enter Sandman), Motorhead (Ace Of Spades), just to name a few. This was surely a great gig and well worth checking out. I do hope they come back and do another tour in 2005, watch this space!!!! Maybe they should record an album with their own material with this line-up.

   Live @ Hammersmith Apollo London 17.2.04

This was a night to remember to say the least, and with the band's stunning new album 'Train Of Thoughts' is certainly making waves throughout the world by fans and the media. it's been a few years since I last saw the band 'Falling Into Infinity' actually and this was one of 2 only UK dates planned for this year or for at least this leg of the world tour. This was after all an evening with Dream Theater, the masters of Prog Metal, and with a 3 hour set was certainly going to be a night that everybody would remember. Playing trax from the bands debut album right up to the new album was certainly a good choice and a mix bag of goodies for al Dream Theater fans out there. Been a fan of the bands debut I was really looking forward to hearing those classic, even though the production on 'When Dream &..." wasn't up to scratch the songs are still to this date a masterpiece!! The stage settings were above average with large screens and one hell of a massive drum kit, could it be Alex Van Halen's? Yes folks 3 bass drums, basically 2 drum kits in one and yes Mike Portnoy did actually play all of it. With a full house the band hook to the stage and delivered the goods as pro as you can get. Trax included were: Another Day, As I Am, Endless Sacrifice, Fortune In Lies, Stream Of Consciousness, Learning To Live, along with many more classics. A great night by one of the finest bands around, if you missing out this time, don't next time!!

  Hughes - Turner Project  -  Bradford Rio's - UK 6.4.04

Well what can one say when you experienced something like a classic Rock gig like this, yes folks Glenn Hughes (the voice of Rock) and Joe Lynn Turner both together on the same bill. I've seen Glenn many times has he still rocks and this is the first time I had seen Joe Lynn Turner and what a good this turned out to be. Bradford (UK) always gets a good crowd for Glenn and tonight was no exception. Support came from ex Napalm Death/ Carcass guitarist Bill.S, who's band 'Firebird' proved to be an eye open catch playing 70's style rock in the vain of Free etc... They certainly went down pretty well for a support act. Well Hughes & Turner delivered a excellent gig although Joe's vocals were a little too low in the mix, which was a shame. The songs that night were a mixture of Deep Purple classics and Rainbow as well as the bands own material. Line up also included JJ Marsh on guitar, ex Electric Boys drummer and a keyboard player who I had not heard of before. If you get to see this experience on this tour I suggest you do so, classic material all the way!! Trax listing for the night was as follows: Hold On, Cant Stop Rock & Roll, Losing My Head, Alone I Breathe, Mistreated, I Surrender, Streets Of Dreams, Getting Tighter, You Keep On Moving, Death Valley Driver, Stormbringer - (Encore) Devils Road, Spotlight Kid, Burn.


                Live in London 30.9.03 

Well what a night this was, two incredible bands playing on the same stage, this was one gig that would certainly stay in a lot of people minds for a long time. Having seen Nevermore a few times in Europe and also been friends of the band I just knew I had to be here to support one of Century Media's finest metal acts. Nevermore is the band which was formed out of the ashes of 'Sanctuary', Jim Sheppard & Warrel Dane's old band. This band are no stranger to the shores of the UK, having played in London last year people certainly knew what to expect, heavy bone crushing Thrash Metal at it's best. The gig also saw an old friend of mine helping Nevermore out as 2nd guitarist - Steve Symth (Testament) which came a s pleasant surprise to see him once again. This crowd were hungry for a brutal gig and this is what they got. Nevermore aimed to please and that's what they did from the start to the finish. Playing trax from the bands debut to the latest release. I have always been a fan of this band right from the demo days and also Sanctuary so I really can't say they were disappointing because I would be lying!! The set list for Nevermore included: Inside 4 Walls, Narcosynthesis, Ambivalent, Never Purify, The River Dragon Has Come, Enemies Of Reality, Sound Of Silence. This is a great band well worth a listen and check them out live if you can - they rule!! 


Arch Enemy were the headliners, which are a great band not to say the least. I have not been a fan of the band but the bands latest offering Anthems Of Rebellion's is one hell of a great album. Packed with some heavy and punchy riffs and melody hooks this band are extremely awesome live, and I mean brutal too!!  There very professional at what they do and they do it with style. If you didn't know that the singer Angelia Gossow, was a female then you wouldn't know, as she comes across between Doro and Barney from Napalm Death, strange mixture but shit this girl has one of the most if not the most brutal female voice around. Arch Enemy features ex Carcass guitarist Mike Amott, ex Armageddon guitarist Chris Amott, brother of Mike, also Sharlee D'Angelo (Mercyful fate) and drummer Daniel Erlandsson (brother of Cradle's drummer). As a band there awesome musicians and I have a lot of respect for them. The crowd that night loved them and they went down a storm. Trax played were: Silent Wars, We Will Rise, Burning Angel, Savage Messiah,  The Immortal, Dead Eyes See No Future, Behind The Smile, Enemy Within, Dead Bury Their Dead, & Ravenous. A great night had by all and one of the most brutal gigs this year on our show.


            Live @ The Mean Fiddler  - London 18.10.03

Well what can one say about this mighty U.S. band who are certainly causing a steer within the metal scene, and with several releases under their belt for Inside Out Music, this band really do mean business. They give the likes of Dream Theater, Yngwie Malmsteen a run for their money. I managed to see this band the first time around back in March when they supported Stratovarius and I have to say they then blow Stratovarius off stage without a doubt and I remember the crowd been their for Symphony X as it was their debut UK appearance, they stole the show!! This time around it was the turn of the band to really show the UK audience what they were made of as a headlining band, and yes folks they were above the call of duty. Fans from around the UK and Europe came to this show and it was certainly worth travelling for. Playing an awesome set from everything from the bands early material right up to the bands latest album 'The Odyssey'. Support act I have to mention because they were the right act for this band was the UK's very own and finest Power Metal act 'Shadowkeep', which features new singer Ronnie Styx from Texas. They too also delivered the good and warmed the crowd up for the main act. if you have not heard Shadowkeep then I suggest you check them out on LMP Music. The overall set was amazing and ending with the epic 'The Odyssey' was a really treat for the fans. Set list was: Inferno, Wicked, Evolution, Communion & The Oracle, King Of Terrors, Accolade 2, The Odyssesy. Great night by one of the greatest Prog Power bands out there, let's hope there's a DVD soon right?

Enchant   London 'Mean Fiddler'  22.10.03 

Well I've waited a while to see this band, there is something about this band that really grabs my attention, not sure what it is but their music really does appeal to me. I have been a fan of the band since the release of the bands debut album 'Blue Print Of The World' which I thought was a classic in it#s own right. This however is not the bands debut on these shores, as I heard they played in Rottherham of all places @ the @ 'Proggressive Rock Society'. I wish I had of known then because Rottherham is only 1 hour away from where I live. Anyway the band have recently released their new album 'Tug If War' and which is a great Prog album release, what would appeal to fans of Dream Theater, Marillion with a hard edge. Tonight the band were supporting 'Spocks Beard', which to me was a shame, would of loved to of seen them headline, maybe next time!! The crowd were ready for this awesome U.S. act that would deliver an awesome set of only about 40 minutes but every second was worth listening and watching. The band are very professional live and this set proved that they are truely one of the master's of Prog Rock. Set list included: The Thirst, Sinking Sand, Below Zero, Follow The Sun, Under The Sun, Comatose, and Oasis. If you miseed them this time around then make sure you don't next time around, I highly recommend this band. Let's hope they play a full UK tour next year!!


 Mortician, God Dethroned, Grave.    Camden Palace, London. October 9th 2003.

A strange day for a rock festival to break out, but in North London the lights are dimmed and the power knows no boundaries as a small but enthusiastic crowd gives a welcome to Grave. Grave are one of those old bands making a comeback, in fact comebacks are all the rage on tonight’s bill, but you have to question quite why these Dutch bruisers have actually decided to turn up on what is their first UK. outing at all ? They have a new album ‘Back From The Grave’ to push, but after only a couple of songs they’re already going back to their old material and you know instantly why the band never really made it out of the shade of European Death Metal in the first place. Their Century Media career was patchy at best, and only one song, ’Into The Grave’, really lifts them much beyond the mediocre here, but then, these festival tours are a bit of a mix and match and you have to take the very rough with the smooth. Like God Dethroned. Sorry, but this lot are quite awful. New album track ‘Into The Lungs Of Hell’ shows that they’ve slowed down a bit and now try to build their ideas more than before, but I fail completely to understand why they are trying to impress with a style that is so stuck in one dimension, namely that of the thrash band. ‘Soul Sweeper’ tries to drag them screaming into a new era but it’s just too far gone.

Mortician then are already beyond help, in fact if it wasn’t for the large and enthusiastic reaction they get from the crowd you’d have to question their musical ability because you simply can’t hear it. The band are all flailing grindcore – new drummer Sam Inzerra mixing it as well as can be expected with the crushing Crowbar like sound of the guitars – but this is for hardcore freaks only and I’m left bemused. ‘Hacked Up For Barbecue’ is one track I pick out (just) and Will Rahmer is undoubtedly one of grindcore’s major survivors leading the trio from the front, but it’s not my thing.

Agent Steel are much more vital. It’s been some time since Juan Garcia led his troops on to a UK. stage but with vocalist Bruce Hall in fine form and new album ‘Order Of The Illuminati’ to promote, this band are well worth the ticket price. There may be a huge gap for the crowd to bridge, some of the younger ones now making it into the venue possibly only remember ‘Mad Locust Rising’ and ‘Unstoppable Force’ as legendary noises from behind the bedroom doors of long since grown up brothers or sisters, but Bernie Versailles (g) and crew stand tall and the music, though a whirlwind, is true and sharp. Hall treats the old numbers very differently to former singer John Cyriiss, the roar and the scream are very much in his own key, but, you know, it works and you can’t ask much more than that, especially when the acoustics of the venue do their best to reduce the band to a noise fest and the lack of lighting on stage makes the gig seem cheap. Favourite moment ? Hall on ‘Bleed For The Gods’ – classic!

Tonight is very important for some but few come close to Nuclear Assault, especially after the criticism they received from their last ‘No Mercy’ festival appearance here with Death Angel and Testament. Personally, they were unfairly treated that night, but a suggestion that this fuelled tonight’s romp would not be too far from the truth. I’m chatting quite happily to Juan Garcia at this point – see the forthcoming interview here – but Nuclear Assault take no prisoners and the crowd reaction is as good as ever. Dan Lilker may be trying to protect John Connelly, only one new song – ‘The Price Of Freedom’ – is aired and it’s a ‘greatest hits’ set by all accounts, but this is crowd building time once again for the Assaulters and ‘Butt Fuck’ and ‘Hang The Pope’ are critical moments in a set that is sure to bring the band a lot of positive feedback. The same could be said for Exodus. It’s been some time since the classic line up of this band resumed their careers. And, from some quarters, their inability to release a new album or even as Nuclear Assault, to push the fact that they have actually been in the studio at all, is starting to drag them back, but live they still convince all but the most sceptical that this sound still has the same validity as ‘Bonded By Blood’ or ‘Toxic Waltz’. ‘War Is My Shepherd’ may be a little drawn out and it’s unwise to do the AC/DC staple ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ as anything other than an encore, but with Steve Sousa it’s not beyond the possibilities that Exodus will once again make waves when an album is released. They certainly deliver more than some of the bands on the bill tonight and although they this year, celebrate twenty years in the business, they still hold an audience from start to finish. ‘Exodus’ and ‘Metal Command’ are bruising moments and the UK. is once again blown away by a band very much back on track. Now, let’s hear more new stuff and get them back again. (Mike Exley)


           London,  Camden Palace.       December 7th 2003  

When this bill had originally been announced, American skull crushers Deicide still had to be confirmed so it was with some sweating brows no doubt that tonight’s promoters had opened the doors and waited for the masses to arrive? Thankfully when madam and I arrive however, that is no longer an issue as the place is just recovering from Akercocke and is fuller than you can sensibly put up with. The first band we run headlong into is Nile. Now, sorry Black Metal aficionados out there, I know that this band are revered for their Egyptian leanings and powerful hell driven anthems, but if you’re going to play a live set with this kind of material it might actually be worthwhile getting a decent sound? It sounds like hell’s winds have been brought right down into the venue for most of the set and although the band undoubtedly rewrote the book on Black Metal when they released the ‘In Their Darkened Shrines’ album, tonight, they simply blow away like a rapidly deflating balloon.

Not so the next band. Destruction are and have always been the band that kept me into thrash. The first time I saw them on home soil back in 1986, these Germans blasted the hell out of my ears and like many here tonight I believe it’s a criminal offence that the band hasn’t had more opportunities this side of the channel since. And what happens? Schmier’s bass decides it’s had enough early on after a punishing rendition of ‘Cure The Gods’ and the venue get the band’s intro on too early leaving a decidedly large amount of silence before the show even begins? Well, let’s not be too harsh – tonight is simply a great band coming back to conquer. Sure, new album “Metal Discharge” has to be aired and “The Ravenous Beast” and “Desecrators Of The New Age” are punishing tracks, but this all about working up a sweat to classics like “Invincible Force” and “Eternal Ban” and paying reverence to a band that has never dropped it’s professionalism or bitten the bullet of compromise. Welcome back.  




In fact, that could also be said of tonight’s headliners and although I’ve never been a particularly good bedfellow of Deicide, tonight they talk the talk and definitely walk it too, all the way from Camden to the heart of London’s black hearts. The difference is undoubtedly a new deal. We’ve all heard the stories coming out of the camp that the band’s last album “Torment In Hell” was not one of their most inspired but with furious praise for new label Earache from Glen Benton tonight you know that the professionalism of the band tonight and the punishing sound is no freak event. Brothers Eric and Brian Hoffman set up the punishing rhythm nicely, and Steve Asheim is straight into the groove as if his very life depended on it. But I’m looking for signs that this band is back at the height of it’s powers and after “Sacrificial Suicide’ and more venomous assaults on ‘him up there’ than this crowd has heard in a long time, I can tell you that this band still take no prisoners. Celebrating the fact that their 1991 debut is almost certainly the biggest selling Death Metal album of all time and that the sadly delayed but no less anticipated newie “Scars Of The Crucifix” is out early next year, Deicide blast. Benton reckons “Scars….” feels like “Legion” and look what happened to them when that hit the racks. (Mike Exley) Pictures by Mike Exley © 2003