Bradley Cassidy

I'm a metal fan that gets pumped about most music. I am also into Punk but not as heavily bands, I sort of like include; Sunn O))), The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Exploited and Amon Amarth. I also like comedic music such as Alestorm, Psychostick and Evil Scarecrow

Prophets Of Rage Announce London Show For November

Prophets Of Rage, the side project of Rage Against The Machine featuring members of Public Enemy and Cypress Hill have announced today they will be playing an exclusive show at London’s 02 Kentish Town Forum on 13th November 2017.

This will be the band’s first chance to play their S/T debut album in the UK which is scheduled for release on 15th September  This show is following the band’s debut UK show at Download Festival this year and their 13th June show at 02 Academy Brixton.

Presale for the tickets begins on Wednesday with general sale beginning on Friday. They can be bought from the following – link. 


Metal Blade Records – Newsletter 6/5/17 (6th May 2017) (Featuring: Goatwhore, Igorrr, Entrails, Downfall Of Gaia and Sacred Reich)

Upcoming Releases
05.05.17 GOD DETHRONED – “The World Ablaze”
19.05.17 AMON AMARTH – “The Crusher” (vinyl re-issue)
19.05.17 AMON AMARTH – “Versus the World” (vinyl re-issue)
19.05.17 BELOW – “Upon a Pale Horse” (Digi-CD/LP)
16.06.17 ENTRAILS – “World Inferno” (Digi-CD/LP)
16.06.17 IGORRR – “Savage Sinusoid” (Digi-CD/LP)
16.06.17 TOMBS – “The Grand Annihilation” (Digi-CD/LP)
23.06.17 GOATWHORE – “Vengeful Ascension” (DCD Book/Digi-CD/LP)
14.07.17 BLOODCLOT – “Up In Arms” (CD/LP)

Goatwhore will release their new album Vengeful Ascension on 23rd June. This ten-track (41 minute) album marks the band’s seventh  and second recorded reel-to-reel captured at Earth Analog in Tolono Illinois with producer Jarrett Pritchard (whose previous work includes records by 1349 and Gruesome) breaking a 4 album tradition of working with Erik Rutan. The album was also mixed by Chris Common (whose previous work includes records by Tribulation and Pelican) and mastered by Maor Applebaum (whose previous work includes records by Faith No More, Halford and Today Is The Day).

Frontman Ben Falgoust said: “Working with Rutan was awesome. We did some great records with him. But you come to a point where you’re like, ‘All right. Let’s try something new.’ It was part of trying to remove ourselves from a comfort zone and a risk thing we needed to take. Plus, we really wanted to hit the essence of where we are live and what better way to harness that than by having our live sound guy involved. Jarrett is knowledgeable with the studio stuff. He also knows how we sound coming out of a PA and we really wanted to get closer to that.

“Each song is a representation of Goatwhore. From day one until now. It really shows our evolution as a band,” the front-man reflects.”I don’t think that this band has reached its peak yet. I mean, I think we’re closer now than ever but we’re still growing; we’re still evolving.”

Vengeful Ascension will be available on the following formats:
–Digipak CD
–Limited “spell book” edition including two CDs (limited to 3000 copies)
–180g black vinyl
–clear/black-marbled vinyl (limited to 300 copies – EU exclusive)
–sepia/white-splatter vinyl (limited to 200 copies – EU exclusive)
–violet-red marbled vinyl (limited to 200 copies – EU exclusive)
–Clear with black and white swirls (limited to 1500 copies – US exclusive)
–sepia-marbled vinyl (limited to 100 copies – US exclusive)
* exclusive bundles with a shirt, plus digital options are also available!

Goatwhore’s new album has been described to theme itself around Luciferian notions, with Lucifer seeming as a emancipator and a guiding light. It is seen as a theme of struggle and transcendence and is heavily borrowed from John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Falgoust said: “There’s that whole idea of Lucifer being the anti-hero, he’s cast out from this place in Heaven to the depths of nothing. He keeps trying to ascend to the top again but no matter what, there’s always this significant force trying to destroy him at any point and banish him back to Hell. If you look at it from an everyday aspect in life, it’s the idea of people, hitting the bottom of the barrel or you know, things just aren’t going right in life… emotion plays a huge part in how people react. Whether it’s based on love or hatred or sadness or whatever, there’s always an aspect of emotion that drives people to an extent. So the whole idea of a ‘Vengeful Ascension’ is built on being at the bottom, working your way to the top, and realizing along the way that there are other facets to the journey aside from just pure retribution. Within negativity there can exist a positive angle as well.”

Vengeful Ascension‘ track-listing:
1. Forsaken
2. Under The Flesh, Into The Soul
3. Vengeful Ascension
4. Chaos Arcane
5. Where The Sun Is Silent
6. Drowned In Grim Rebirth
7. Abandon Indoctrination
8. Mankind Will Have No Mercy
9. Decayed Omen Reborn
10. Those Who Denied God’s Will

Goatwhore are currently on tour supporting Amon Amarth the dates for this are below:
May 8 – TLA – Philadelphia, PA
May 9 – College Street Music Hall – New Haven, CT
May 10 – The Paramount – Huntington, NY
May 11 – The Garrison – Toronto, ON * Goatwhore only
May 12 – 20 Monroe Live – Grand Rapids, MI
May 13 – Dark Lord Day @ Three Floyds Brewing – Munster, IN
May 16 – The Cotillion – Wichita, KS
May 17 – Boulder Theatre – Boulder, CO
May 18 – Lookout – Omaha, NE * Goatwhore only
May 19 – The Blue Note – Columbia, MO
May 20 – Mercury Ballroom – Louisville, KY

Entrails look set to release their new album World Inferno on 16th June with Metal Blade Records. Check out their site now where you can order their album as either a Digi-CD or on Vinyl.

Entrails guitarist Jimmy Lundqvist said: “I am damn proud to finally unleash this nasty beast, A new chapter is written for Entrails to satisfy all old school maniacs out there. Having new blood in the band, Martin and Tommy, helped making this fifth album the rawest and heaviest to date. Prepare yourself to stretch out your neck in full headbanging!

The recordings for the new album started in December 2016 in Lundqvist’s Bloodshed Studio, Dan Swano who did mixing and mastering for the album said: “I don’t know if I had said this before, but I say it again. Every time I start thinking about putting together some new SweDeath project, Entrails show up at my doorstep with a new album to mix, and every time I think “Fuck!! – What’s the point in making my own project when this is so fucking good, and exactly what I wanted to do…” And if I felt there were some details to improve upon from our previous work together, they fix that and then some, and return with an album even stronger than the previous one. What the fuck is going on in Linneryd!? Are Jimmy cloning death metal warriors in some barn over there or what!? To sum it up. Yet another amazing slab of SweDeath coming your way from Entrails! Beyond. Blown. Away!

World Inferno‘ track listing:
1. World Inferno
2. Condemned to the Grave
3. Serial Murder (Death Squad)
4. The Soul Collector
5. Dead and Buried
6. Insane Slaughter
7. Into Eternal Fire
8. Suffer
9. The Hour of the Casket
10. The Blood Breed

Downfall Of Gaia release their new lyric video for Atrophy the title track of their album released last November, check this track out now to sample what they had in store on their most recent release the video was made by KDigitalProductions. 

The band’s new album can currently be ordered on vinyl,  as a Digi-CD or bundled with a T-shirt check the link out – here to order.

Atrophy was recorded at the Hidden Planet Studios in Berlin with Jan Oberg and mixed and mastered by Jack Shirley from the Atomic Garden Studios in San Francisco.

Downfall Of Gaia will also be on tour in Europe this week, check dates out below:
6/05/17 UK – Manchester – Rebellion
07/05/17 UK – London – Underwolrd
11/05/17 PL – Poznan – Pod Minoga
12/05/17 DE – Hannover – Bei Chez Heinz
13/05/17 DE – Leipzig – Westwerk
17/06/17 DE – Kiel – Kiel Explode
24/06/17 DE – München – Saint Helena Festival
05/08/17 DE – Karlsruhe – New Noise Fest

Igorrr – the creation of French musician Gautier Serre – will release their new album Savage Sinusoid via Metal Blade Records on 16th June. The record sees the melding of instruments such as electronic manipulations, accordion, saxophone, sitar and the harpsichord alongside blastbeats, death grunts, chunky riffs and soaring operatic vocals.

The band’s new single Opus Brain is available now to see what this intense creative mind can do within the world of music.

Be sure to check out the band’s site at Metal Blade Records, where the album can be boughts in the following formats:
–Digipak CD
–pale skin clear vinyl (limited to 500 copies)
–cream/white splatter (limited to 200 copies – EU exclusive)
–golden yellow vinyl (limited to 100 copies – Bandcamp exclusive)
–tan-marbled vinyl (limited to 200 copies – US exclusive)
*exclusive bundles with a shirt, plus digital options are also available!

‘Savage Sinusoid‘ track-listing:
1. Viande
2. ieuD
3. Houmous
4. Opus Brain
5. Problème d’émotion
6. Spaghetti Forever
7. Cheval
8. Apopathodiaphulatophobie
9. Va te foutre
10. Robert
11. Au Revoir

Serre has collaborated with several musicians on this project including vocalists Laurent Lunoir and Lauere Le Pruenec, drummer Sylvian Bouvier and plenty of collaborations including Cattle Decapitation’s vocalist Travis Ryan on Apopathodiaphulatophobie, Cheval and Robert. 

Serre says: “I just want to make the music I love, without asking myself if it’s gonna be too complex or too far from what people like. I want to make the music which has sense to me, with no restrictions, like a big party with metalheads, electronics nerds, classical and baroque-heads and gypsy violinists getting drunk and joining together to bring the best of every genre.

Igorrr will be on tour in Europe this summer, dates are below:
June 17 – Hellfest Open Air – Clisson, France
Jul. 7 – What The Fest?!#2 – Vendargues, France
Jul. 9 – UK Tech Fest – Winthorpe, United Kingdom
Jul. 15 – Dour Festival – Dour, Belgium
Aug. 11 – Brutal Assault – Jaromer, Czech Republic
Oct. 17 – l’Aeronef – Lille, France
Nov. 15 – La Maroquinerie – Paris, France

Sacred Reich will do a global tour in celebration of their album Ignorance reaching it’s 30th anniversary. The tour will feature Byantzine as support and will look set to commemorate this historic milestone for this classic Thrash band. The group shares lineage with many of the second wave Thrash Metal bands including Testament, Destruction and Dark Angel.

Byantzine will be touring their new album The Cicada Tree due for release this Summer. The band have also started a PledgeMusic campaign with every purchase receiving a digital download of the tracks and other exclusive content including cover songs by Fishbone and The Cars, reserve your copy now.  The dates for both of these bands are listed below:

Sacred Reich “30 Years of Ignorance” EU tour dates
Jul. 26 – London, United Kingdom – The Underworld
Jul. 27 – Birmingham, United Kingdom – O2 Academy Birmingham
Jul. 28 – Glasgow, United Kingdom – The Cathouse
Jul. 29 – Belfast, Ireland – The Limelight 2
Jul. 30 – Dublin, Ireland – Voodoo Lounge Dublin
Aug. 2 – Aschaffenburg, Germany – Colos-Saal
Aug. 3 – Osnabruck, Germany – Bastard Club
Aug. 4 – Wacken, Germany – Wacken Open Air
Aug. 5 – Eindhoven, Netherlands – Dynamo Metal Fest
Aug. 6 – Drachten, Netherlands – Into the Grave Fest
Aug. 9 – Munich, Germany – Backstage Halle
Aug. 11 – Josefov, Czech Republic – Brutal Assault Festival
Aug. 13 – Kortruk, Belgium – Alcatraz Festival
Aug. 16 – Dornbirn, Austria – Dornbirn Conrad Sohm
Aug. 17 – Innsbruck, Austria – Innsbruck Hafen
Aug. 18 – Dinkelsbuhl, Germany – Summer Breeze
Aug. 19 – Essen, Germany – Turock Open Air
Aug. 21 – Thessaloniki, Greece – Eightball Club
Aug. 22 – Athens, Greece – Kyttaro Club

Sacred Reich “30 Years of Ignorance” USA tour dates
w/ Byzantine

Sept. 14 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory w/ Hirax, Yidhra
Sept. 15 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy Theatre w/ Hirax, Yidhra
Sept. 16 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s w/ Yidhra
Sept. 18 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theater
Sept. 20 – Chicago, IL – Reggie’s
Sept. 21 – Toronto, ON – Opera House
Sept. 22 – Montreal, QC – Les Foufounes Electriques
Sept. 23 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
Sept. 24 – New York, NY – Gramercy Theater
Sept. 25 – Philadelphia, PA – Voltage
Sept. 27 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
Sept. 28 – New Orleans, LA – Southport Hall
Sept. 29 – Dallas, TX – Trees
Sept. 30 – Houston, TX – Scout Bar w/ Slim
Oct. 1 – San Antonio, TX – Rock Box
Oct. 2 – El Paso, TX – Tricky Falls *
Oct. 7 – Phoenix, AZ – Club Red *
* = no Byzantine

The Rising Few Claim To Have A Bigger Sound On Their New EP “Adult Entertainment”

Montreal QC band The Rising Few have claimed to increase their game and have a bigger sound on their new EP Adult Entertainment, the followup to the Alt-Rockers 2014 EP Sinners On St-Laurent. 

The band have been described as being a culturally diverse group with members coming from; Haiti, France, Syria, Canada, Brazil, Armenia and Egypt coming together in Canada with a love of Bruce Springsteen and a knack of storytelling within their music.

Delusional behaviour is what describes the EP’s lyrical content with Big Boy Games describing treason, The Sinking Of The I’m Alone describing the sinking of the Canadian schooner the “I’m Alone” during the prohibition era, Try Try Again depicts the delusion of failure and Lights And Shadows tackles melancholy in love-loss. The Rising Few might be a new band but with the statement that is driven from all of the above songs, their certainly a group to keep an eye on.

The main songwriter for the band Karim Terouz said: “It was GO BIG or GO HOME! We’re all recent immigrants to Canada and in a time where cultural differences are threatened, THE RISING FEW take the chance to promote their unity, by tackling these issues and presenting them in classy, colorful, adult contemporary rock.

Adult Entertainment is set for release this coming Friday and will be available on iTunes and Spotify.

Track Listing:

1. Try Try Again (Gonna Need A Helping Hand) (4:24)
2. Gullible (4:08)
3. The Sinking of The I’m Alone (3:22)
4. Big Boy Games (2:52)
5. Save Yourself (2:52)
6. Lights And Shadows (5:16)
7.Try Try Again (Bonus) (3:40)
8. Hit The Monarchy (Bonus) (2:46)

EP Length: 29.24
The band will also be hosting a free entrance CD presented by Hennessy   at Le Plateau Lounge (901 Rue du Square-Victoria) on the 26th May in Montreal. The show will be opened by Po Lazarus performing an acoustic set and will also serve as a gallery with a hand drawn photo of the mural created by Karim Therouz and the installation art, all of which will be auctioned. The Rising Few will also be joined by The Vocalist Magazine and The Bell Media Documentary Show (the Bell Media documentary show that highlights Montreal artists on Bell Fibe TV).

Freedom’s Note Release Tribute Video For The Firefighters/First Responders Of Fort McMurray’s Wildfire

Local rock band Freedom’s Note have a released a special edition video of their single The Fight to honour the one year anniversary of the firefighters and first responders to the wildfire’s in Fort McMurray. The video can be found on PureGrainAudio now.

Vocalist/guitarist Donny Synard said as part of the press release: “All of us in the band, like so many more living in Fort McMurray are from other parts of the country and the globe. The day we left our homes we had no idea if we would ever return to the city. Those brave men and women sacrificed so much to ensure we had a community to come back to. They were an inspiration to us and 80,000 plus more people. To show our appreciation we wanted to not only write this song, but share a special video as well!”

Freedom’s Note are currently working on their debut EP which is due for release this summer and will be performing with Finger Eleven and Buckcherry on August 25th at the East Coast Garden Party in Fort McMurray. More dates are set to be announced.

Check out previously released tracks All We Know and In Front Of Me on iTunes now.


Overkill – The Grinding Wheel [REVIEW]

When the words Thrash Metal are mentioned (especially from the older wave) fans have the tendency to think back to the time when it was great, when bands like Testament and Slayer were kings of the genre and when the scene had a sense of kick that sacrificed the control and creativity from the intense genre. Conversely the comparisons to newer fans might see a slowing up band that is mainly playing a genre that has become archaic and stale.

Within the case of Overkill they straddle this line perfectly giving the pure Sabbath worship on the intro to The Wheel and then kicking it back into the pace of newer bands like Havok on Goddamn Trouble. What can be seen most from this release is a great sense of variety, and shows that the band release it’s not the mid 80’s anymore, but they have gotten older in a much more graceful and controlled manner.

What is a huge characteristic of the sound of the band is Blitz’s harsh scream, and whilst this might seem a drawback for some (as it is not the cleanest vocal in metal), it’s very easy to identify the lyrics in the songs and to follow his interpretation. With tracks such as Red White Blue referencing “clowns” during American’s interesting period with the new leadership of Donald Trump might be seen as poking a sense of fun at the establishment and gives the song a whole new meaning. The clean singing on the end of Shine On also allows the vocalist to show what he can do within this type of role, and in truth Blitz pulls this off perfectly.

Going into the realms of creativity with a symphony to end the album on is a brave move from a band whose listeners will want them to “keep it heavy”. Within the context of what the group has set out to achieve however, it has made the record seem much more creativity than a typical Thrash release. With mixing and mastering credits to Andy Sneap his work recently in creating quite a theatrical sounding band in Hell might have carried over into the creation of the record and made for the band to start going into other avenues, the album has carried on the larger production quality of latter day Overkill records perfectly, and has made for great live moments to be inserted within the set.

Finally the band as a whole have brought through the great way Thrash has developed, particularly in the guitar interplay of Dave Linsk and Derek “The Skull” Tailer on the speedier tracks such as Goddamn Trouble. The work of both of these amazing musicians has added heaviness to Overkill’s music and has made it retain the quality of Thrash the band had on earlier releases. Ron Lipincki as a drummer does expert and precision drum fills throughout the context of the album and same with bassist D.D. Verni.

In essence the band have not done anything truly new, most of these elements have been done before throughout the scene, in a multitude of different ways. What the group have done however, is created something that sounds great for their fan base, and have made a set of songs that the group will continue to play within their live set and ones which hold up towards their great legacy.

The Mist – Phantasmagoria [REVIEW]

Coming out in the initial boom of Thrash during 1989, the same year as Testament’s Practice What You Preach, Overkill’s The Year Of Decay and Sepultura’s Beneath The Remains, comes Brazilian band The Mist with their debut album Phantasmagoria. Only getting a domesticated release the band was mainly known throughout the realms of tape trading to a large underground audience, finally in 2017 this album gets its long overdue UK release.

Unfortunately to get the negative out the way, this doesn’t have the cleanest of productions. Though it is obvious that the album has been improved by the version currently on YouTube’s standards. For fans of this type of music to get a gem of this quality this is a factor which can be largely ignored, this can put a lot of fans off but hopefully metal fans can overlook this factor and get to the meat of what this band meant, the songs.

The dual guitarists of both Roberto “Beto” Lima and Reinaldo “Cavalão” Bedran kick through the album from the word go as initial track Flying Saucers In The Sky has a metal riff that could still be considered vital in 2017. This is backed up by the riffs in the latter part of the song which feel’s absolutely phenomenal compared to the pure Thrash attack, this could be seen as the initial signs of Groove Metal which bands like Pantera and Machine Head would later go onto perfect. There is obvious signs of this bands influence from the word go and thankfully this is continued right away on Smiles Tears And Chaos by Marcelo Diaz in what can be described as an iconic bass line at this point galloping throughout the entirety of the track with the warping riffs from the two guitarists.

What can be described as a typical extreme metal vocalist Vladimir Korg blends the vocals of Max Cavalera with a Black Metal vocalist such as Sakis Tollis (Rotting Christ) especially on a track such as Hate where the band go into a quick 2:30 blast of aggressive Punk inspired Thrash. The singer also blends lyrical poetry with pure aggression, especially when comparing a track such as Hate where Christiano shouts out what he “hates” with pure oldschool aggression and a track such as A Step Into The Dark which is basically telling people not to judge and the pressures of suicide with lyrics such as “I got the scorpions poison in my tongue” and “It’s all over and in the end I’ll only be a fool who jumped from the 26th floor”.

Lead guitarist Reinaldo “Cavalão” Bedran will be seen as an unsung hero in metal especially with his incredible solo on The Enemy which holds up to scratch 28 years after it’s release. Sadly the guitarist passed away in 1991 but with appearances on 3 of Mayhem’s demos and his impressive performance in The Mist his work has gone onto influence incredibly on an underground level on a track such as Barbed Wire Land (At War) which essentially goes into the heaviness and aggression of Mayhem this is seen as being quite an impressive feat. The talked echoic vocals during this track and the backing vocals shouting “As One” “Marching To The Barbed Wire Land” to show a pure sense of solidarity only shows what the extreme metal spirit means to the band and make it one of an impressive nature.

Phantasmagoria stands out as a track due to the length of it being over 6 minutes and the slow build to the track with the drum beat building up and the thrashy guitars not leading to take the drums in a similar direction. The riffs go in quite a heavy march in its direction and makes the band feel like their taking a strong hold of you as a listener. The speedier moments before the stomp breaks it up thankfully, but in all honesty the slower moments of the track feel a lot more creative than the speedier moments. This is followed by the bands as known for 30 second instrumental Lighting In The Dark which takes the album to its penultimate track Like A Bad Song and from this point both that and Faces Of Glass bring the perfect end to the album.

This is not an album for everyone, as without being rude, the music feels very “of it’s time” and the production reflects this unfortunately. For a piece of metal history however this is a keen release to get and find out how pretty much the entire Black Metal felt some sort of influence from The Mist.

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Manchester Academy 2 – 20th January 2017

Coming into a gig like this, of a last show and a band that means so much to the world of a Hardcore fan, it seems stupid that any support could amass to this. Thankfully Primitive Weapons (7), took this opportunity perfectly and delivered an intense Hardcore delivery. Though this band might not have been known to the British audience due to coming from America and only being on their debut record, the group impressed amazingly and certainly gave fans enough to talk about coming from their set. For starters the band’s infectious frontman busted out great moves flailing his arms to the intensity caused from the rest of the band, causing the mood of an already intense gig to seem uncontrolled from the start. The best moment however came from a track from their debut album The Future Of Death, entitled Panopticon Blues, with lyrics such as “we’re locked, we’re trapped, we’re never alone” dedicated to new American President Donald Trump. If this band carry on releases like this and touring in the UK, we could see the next big hardcore band to take the reigns from the retiring Dillinger Escape Plan and this can only be good for the scene.

Coming up next was Ho99o9 (pronounced “Horror”) (8) with an intense sense of Punk, Rap and Dub within their musical sensibilities, made obvious with frontman Eaddy‘s choice of a Bad Brains T-Shirt which the group were hugely similar too. Placid and static would not be the right words for this group as with the band only having 3 members they caused intensity right from the off. In truth the way they acted on stage made Dillinger reserved, which for most is no easy feat to pull off. After throwing popcorn, cornflakes and Eaddy climbing on the shoulders of one of the crowd members to add chaos to the moshpit, this was a band security had to be there to deal with. The other frontman and DJ theODG  had a one man mosh-pit controlling the soundboard that accompanied Ho99o9‘s intense sound. With tracks such as No Regrets taking an intense electronic and rap spin through to the intense hardcore shouts of Twisted Metal, this is a true underground band that needs to be pushed to more people.

Finally the main event of the evening came from The Dillinger Escape Plan (10) who gave a set that few others could even try to compete with. What was good to note was that out of the 16 songs they played, 9 came off their last two albums. This shows that the band are hugely proud of their most recent material and rightly so. Playing tracks such as One Of Us Is The Killer, set opener Limerent Death and Symptoms Of A Terminal Illness, all sounded perfect live and up to the quality of the rest of their material. This is a band that it is sad to see go, but to know they did it on their terms in a set choice that screams out for modern material this is only the best way to summarise a quality band that is Dillinger.

For the rest of their time on stage however, hits such as Milk Lizard, Black Bubblegum and Prancer made the crowd go ballistic. From front to back the arena screamed out every lyric to every song, and the room came alive for what was considerably the best band to have come out of Hardcore/Metal in the past 20 years. From what was seen on pictures from this tour (of the band jumping from balconies) and their history from shitting in a bag at Leeds 2002 or climbing the rungs of the tent at Download 2014, this was a more reserved and more focused Dillinger we saw tonight. Not too dissimilar from your average metal band they seemed on point, focused and in touch with the music. What was different was their technical proficient ability and the crowd’s reaction to this insane band. As Dillinger have always been shrouded in controversy their last Manchester gig was no different as their encore was stopped halfway through Sunshine The Werewolf and just before 43% Burnt (as seen from the sets on the rest of the UK tour) due to an injury in the crowd. With this talking point however, this gives a great memory to this show, and puts them out there as a band whose existence has been a controversial talking point, right until their very last tour. It’s a shame that The Dillinger Escape Plan are choosing to retire, but what an amazing way to do so.

Sabaton – Manchester 02 Apollo – Friday 13th January

Putting a band on from doors opening, the venue had too much of an early start for fans to get settled for Twilight Force [5]. In the case of this band, that’s what was needed. Walking into the group wearing, what can only be described as a full on Lord Of The Ring’s costumed -with elf ears, cape and all- band playing a form of Folk Metal. As a live act the band felt a bit too pantomime and would have fitted much more so at a show such as Ensiferum or Sonata Arctica with a more fantastical message to their music. That’s not to say that the band were bad though as they wove intricate solo’s from guitarists Lynd and Aerendir and most impressively of all from keyboardist Blackwater as they played songs from both Heroes Of Mighty Magic and Tales Of Ancient Prophecies. The show would have worked in it’s unique context, or possibly if it was staged out a bit better, but for a sober crowd entering their venue, the band just felt like a silly gimmick, in comparison with the next two acts.

Accept [7] played a decent show. In a vein such as how  Motorhead used to play live, it was simply a case of plug in and play from the group. In a room full of metal fans their tracks seemed as classic as a band could be, and with songs such as Metal Heart, Stampede and London Leatherboys spread throughout their set, the group played at a pace which a majority of classic bands simply can’t keep up with. It’s criminal that Accept aren’t considered as big as a group like Slayer or Mastodon as it felt criminal to see that a classic band in this vein was only in the main support position of the bill. This was only made more obvious when the group ended their set with crowd pleasers Teutonic Terror and Balls To The Wall with the whole room bouncing and singing every lyric. Accept might not be a household name to most metal fans but if you wish to find the inspirations to the majority of modern metal, this is a group to certainly check out live.

With Sabaton [8] only just playing the city 10 months ago fans could have been forgiven for going into the gig with a sense of unsurprised familiarity, but in all honesty, the band managed to topple their 2016 show by some considerable length. First of all an upgrade to the stage setup with a big screen displaying lyrics and visuals to some of their songs seemed a welcome addition, and added a certain level of interactivity. Next the crowd getting into it a lot more felt astounding, it’s rare a band of Sabaton’s size could have a room singing every lyric to every song but the band created the atmosphere and connectivity to the audience, through relentless touring and consistently great albums, including new release The Last Stand. 

With moments from the set such as “letting the new guitarist Tommy Johannson choose the upcoming song” and having the crowd sing the chorus to Swedish Pagans gave what was meant to be a throwaway moment, something of great spectacle. The fact the group gave a rendition for a couple bars of Jump by Van Halen to tease the audience, and finally to have the audience enjoy an acoustic rendition of The Final Solution made from what could seem as an average Sabaton show to feel something entirely new, special and a reason enough to see them again. Most bands keep an air of sameness to them, within the fact of you’ve seen one show you’ve seen them all, in Sabaton’s case however, the new level of interactivity and the fact their stage show is ever updating, means that even if you’ve seen them once, it’s definitely worth watching them again.

Pilosa – Such Animals

Taking a Minimalistic Synthwave approach mixing it with Indie music Pilosa emit the sound of bands such as LCD Soundsystem, Radiohead and Primus into a new direction entirely, if nothing else can be said about the band is that there extremely inventive and creating something truly innovative.

The sound of a track such as Semaphore takes an extremely atmospheric beat and expands upon it throughout the vocals in the mid-section of the song. The band tend not to deviate from this approach much on the song and develops the track extremely technically. This approach is used on second track Melodramatica but is expanded with a heavier rhythm section from the group’s drummer.

It might seem pretty self-explanatory but with a rap section on Junk Miles which goes into a weird rap section, picture a mixture of Primus with The Mighty Boosh’s crimping style of singing, with an interesting warpy dubstep/pop vocalist (Julie Smith) on the end of the chorus makes for it hard to categorise. The fact that a band as new in their career as Pilosa can emit such an interesting composition as this is just amazing. It might be fair to call them Prog but the band are much more minimalistic in their response than the vast majority of Prog.

What can’t be understated is that other than occasional uses of Julie Smith, John Parker, Paul Piper, and Susy Hall on select songs the band consists of just three members; Gareth Chaplin, Adam Follett and Dan Hilton. The fact that the band can mix the harsh sounds of Industrial with groups such as Nine Inch Nails compared to the lightness and beautiful tones of The Beatle’s (Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band) and then go into a disjointed funk section on Freezing Point with both bass and keyboard playing over it. This is an extreme departure for the majority of the music scene in the 21st Century, but weirdly Pilosa straddle the line between macabre and easily digestible in a way that words that can’t simply describe.

The band go into a full on Skrillex dubstep track for a minute on Dogs Die In Wet Fleeces which if not knowing it was a track it feels like the album is skipping like it is scratched. Weirdly this works incredibly well, and is much more pleasant than words could describe of it. This is definitely a track to check out, as it makes for one of the most interesting parts of the album. An interesting point of contention for any band is of their lyrics with the band using backmasking on Savage Benefactor and listing films being in a space on Total Recall (examples being Citizen Kane, Schindler’s List and Wickerman, the remake) to try to make sense of this is a task that would just be seen as a waste of time as the lyrics remain this obscure throughout the album. This is a perfect choice for fans of creativity.

Words can’t really describe what makes Pilosa so great and in many respects this is their strength, all that can really be stated is that the band have made a Prog album without trying too hard to be alienating to the mainstream fan. If you like creative music, electronic, Indie, or even rap or heavier Punk on sections of songs (such as Interpolate Me) there’s no reason why this band won’t attract you. Give them a shot if you fancy something different, as there’s no group quite like Pilosa (for better or worse).

The album can be found in full on Bandcamp now –

Dropkick Murphy’s – 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory

With a sound that combines a band like The Pogues in Irish flair, with the skate Punk sound of NOFX, Dropkick Murphys kick off 2017 right with a full on assault to start the New Year. On the bands 9th album, it becomes hard to change their sound, but when it’s to try and cause as much of a Boston party as can possibly be, there’s little more that needs to be said.

Kicking off with The Lonesome Boatman, the chants of all the members of the band are heard right away. This fun nature is carried on by the first song with lyrics of Rebels With A Cause leading to a sense of family nature within the song, the accordion of Tim Brennan also adds to the good fashioned nature of the song, and allows it to have the Irish flair the band’s fans are accustomed to.
Sandlot also features the first sounds of acoustic guitar from Jeff DaRosa combined to the synchronised clapping from the rest of the band members. The song feels like it’s reminiscent of the bands past especially with the line “we had it all when we were young” this is a song that feels like a real celebration of the family nature on the album.

The key theme of family and trying to have a good time is not without good reason however, as with any good story the setbacks for the individual members become obvious. Take their cover of Jerry And The Pacemakers’ hit You Will Never Walk Alone for instance and their reasoning for choosing to release the track as a single. Ken Casey had lost his cousin and Al Barr lost his brother to an opiate overdose which he dedicates the song to. This is something that he states in a YouTube video as being a key factor in his life with himself saying he’s been to thirty wakes in two years.

The way the two lead singers of Al Barr and Ken Casey bounce off each other on First Class Loser and join together on the chorus of Paying My Way creates a great theme on the album. This is something that might seem minor for most bands but due to Dropkick’s nature of creating a good natured atmosphere across their music making the love of the band to their craft stand out amazingly. On the latter track the sound of the Harmonica solo from Jeff DaRosa adds an extra layer of creativity that most Punk bands ignore.

Whilst the record has a good sound to it, it doesn’t mean that the band haven’t got serious intentions in mind. The album is inspired by the bands work with the Claddagh Fund which helps people with addiction, Rebels With A Cause is about kids who have been left as hopeless by the system and 4-15-13 (which has to be the most sombre part on the album) marks the date of the Boston Marathon Bombing. What this shows most of all however, is that no matter what life might throw at us, we can all celebrate the good in life, and after the time 2016 has given to most people, a record like this proves there’s still hope.