Fiona Stephens

Decade – Live @ The Cookie, Leicester (4/3/17)

Down in the basement of coffee shop/bar The Cookie in Leicester city centre is a tiny venue, with an astonishing sound and lighting system that makes great use of the space. Since The Charlotte closed down there has been a lack of 14+ venues in the Leicester area, but The Cookie serves this purpose well.

First up on Saturday night were the alt-rockers Wallflower, a group of five from South London. They started on a slow instrumental to introduce themselves. Right away it was clear that between them they were well rehearsed, and their timing was solid. However at first, it felt like the vocals were competing over the rest of the group, particularly as there were three guitars, but this was soon rectified. It did feel like three guitars was too much in some places. In the last track, the vocalist was having some issues with his guitar that were not obvious to the audience until he took it off, however the balance was a lot better with just two guitars and his part wasn’t missed.

Wallflower have great stage presence, but didn’t interact with the audience much. They had great instrumental seaways between songs, but the backing vocals let them down a little bit as they weren’t always in tune with the lead vocals. Wallflower could be seen later in the show in the crowd supporting Decade. Overall they played a solid set, providing a good first support act to warm the crowd up.

[7/10]

Next up were Big Spring, also from London. The bassist took his shirt off before the show even started, the room wasn’t warm though so clearly he was just trying to show off. It didn’t add anything to the performance whatsoever.

Just like Wallflower, the guitars overpowered the vocals at first. The vocalist had an impressive range; his lower tones sounded like Dave Grohl whereas his falsetto could rival Matt Bellamy. In some tracks there were clearly huge Radiohead influences too.

Big Spring are more cheerful than Wallflower, and are very riff based, with a few more indie and pop influences. This makes them different to most rock bands. The vocal harmonies were also great, they weren’t too overpowering. They interacted well with the audience and they had a great mix of heavier and more commercial songs in their set.

[8/10]

Finally, on came Decade, who had an incredibly polished performance right from the start. They had great stage presence and chatted to the audience in between songs, clearly enjoying themselves. They repeatedly praised their support acts, who could be seen in the audience too. Decade had a much more positive crowd reaction than Big Spring or Wallflower.

They played a mix of material from Good Luck and Pleasantries; the older material from Good Luck was more pop-punk based whereas the material from Pleasantries was more alternative, which still retaining Decade‘s individual sound. The interesting basslines provided a solid foundation for guitars and vocals. The newer material was much more dynamic than the old, however clearly there were crowd favourites from Good Luck, which clearly had influences from Yellowcard and A Day To Remember. Thrown into the mix was some indie too, proving that Decade are a very versatile band.

When Decade announced that it was their final song, the crowd sighed: they didn’t want the set to be over. Decade had saved the best for last, however, and ended on Daisy May.

 

[10/10]

Without Mercy release Lyric Video for In Waves

Vancouver’s Without Mercy released their latest EP Mouichido in May 2016. Mouichido is the Japanese word for “repeat”, and is perfectly titled for the EP to signify its re-release of previously recorded versions that now feature new vocalist Alex Friis and bass tracks recorded by Tristan Martin, plus live performance being done by Ryan Loewen. Newly added to the EP was also a guest appearance by vocalist Mark Hunter of Chimaira on the track In Waves, which the band has released a new lyric video for and teamed up with Bravewords.com to exclusively premiere.

Madina Lake add extra UK shows!

Madina Lake, who have recently reformed and announced a UK tour, have added extra dates in Southampton, Newcastle and Cardiff.
Thu 25th May – SOUTHAMPTON Engine Rooms
Fri 26th May – LONDON O2 Islington Academy
Sat 27th May – BIRMINGHAM NEC – Slam Dunk Midlands
Sun 28th May – LEEDS City Centre – Slam Dunk North
Mon 29th May – HATFIELD Forum – Slam Dunk South
Tue 30th May – MANCHESTER Sound Control
Wed 31st May – GLASGOW King Tuts
Thu 1st Jun – NEWCASTLE O2 Academy 2
Fri 2nd Jun – CARDIFF The Globe

Clean Cut Kid Announce Debut Album ‘Felt’

Clean Cut Kid have officially announced the release of their debut album Felt, which will be released via Polydor Records on 28th April. Preceding this is lead single Leaving You Behind.

Clean Cut Kid have also announced that they will be supporting Mercury Prize-nominated Michael Kiwanuka on four select dates of his UK Headline Tour. This includes a sold out show at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall on 5th May. This is in addition to the band’s own UK headline tour which includes a show at London’s Scala and ends in their biggest hometown show to date at Liverpool’s O2 Academy on 20th May.

Tour dates:

28th April Glasgow King Tuts
1st May Glasgow O2 ABC (w/Michael Kiwanuka)
2nd May Bristol Colston Hall (w/Michael Kiwanuka)
4th May Cambridge Corn Exchange (w/Michael Kiwanuka)
5th May London Royal Albert Hall (w/Michael Kiwanuka)
6th May Birmingham O2 Institute
8th May Bristol The Exchange
9th May Brighton Patterns
10th May London Scala
12th May Manchester Sound Control
20th May Liverpool Academy

Skulthor Ebonblade – Temptation’s Wings

Skulthor Ebonblade, the concept album by doom metallers Temptation’s Wings, is due for release on 10th March. The album is a self release. The vocals are reminiscent of Disturbed.

The story of the album is about legendary warrior Skulthor who returns to find his village burning in black flames, and catches a glimpse of a witch as she disappears behind the smoke. He sets off on a quest to obtain a sword of great power (Ebonblade), so he can avenge his clan but loses his humanity along the way only to have to rediscover it to ultimately obtain revenge he sought all along. The story would make a great real time strategy game, or even a movie.

Skulthor Ebonblade opens with Burning of Hjalmar, an instrumental track that tells the tale of the warrior discovering his home village burning. The album really kicks into gear in the next track, I Destroyer. Musically there are lots of different themes as the track evolves over the five and a half minutes it plays for.

Into the Maelstrom contains plenty of instrumental sections, showing the diversity Temptation’s Wings, as they don’t need to solely rely on lyrics to tell a story. The epic 7 minute 46 second To Forge A Legend (Ulfberht) also has solid instrumental sections, but each section evolves like I Destroyer did.

The first really different track is Lair Of The Gorgon Queen, which starts off with clean broken chords on guitar, before adding in the distortion and other effects with the typical metal chug. The different musical themes are tied together really well by Temptation’s Wings and this is one of the best tracks on the album.

By the time the listener is halfway through the album they are invested in the story and want a satisfactory ending. It’s not clear yet whether the hero will emerge victorious. Due to the lack of screamed vocals, even casual listeners would find something to enjoy in Skulthor Ebonblade.

The longest track at a whopping 9 minutes and 41 seconds is Witches of Dredmoor, however there is less musical evolution in this track than in previous tracks. Musically, this is the only track on the album that lets it down.

The final track, My Name Was Skulthor, opens with a gritty bassline that draws the listener’s attention back. This bassline continues throughout the track, keeping the listener focused. There are sections where it varies slightly, but the main theme is the same all the way through. There is even a bass solo about two thirds of the way through the track, which is really refreshing as most metal groups focus on guitar solos.

Although only an 8 track album, each track contains a lot of lyrical content to really move the story along. The majority of the tracks are also longer than the typical 3 minute songs that listeners are used to. A lot of different techniques are used in the performance of Skulthor Ebonblade, counterpoint, harmonising vocals and guitars, and the use of different dynamics are just a few examples.

[9/10]

Pvris add a second London show due to demand

Pvris, who are supporting Muse for their US shows this summer, have announced a second London show due to demand. They sold out O2 Shepherd’s Bush in minutes, and have added 5th May to their tour.

4th May – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, UK SOLD OUT
5th May- O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London,
8th May – Trabendo Paris, France
10th May – Melkweg, Amsterdam
11th May – Columbia, Berlin

Tickets are on sale via Pvris‘ website.

Deez Nuts announced to support Suicide Silence on UK tour

Deez Nuts have been announced as the main UK support for Suicide Silence on their upcoming tour. Playing alongside both bands will be Venom Prison.

19.03.17 Southampton – Engine Rooms
20.03.17 Manchester – Club Academy
21.03.17 Glasgow – Garage
22.03.17 Birmingham – O2 Academy 2
23.03.17 Bristol Marble – Factory
24.03.17 London – KOKO

The tour is just a few days prior to the release of Deez Nuts‘ upcoming album which is set for a worldwide release on 7th April.

Trivium – Rock City 18/2/17

Saturday night was a great night in Nottingham for the local metalheads – Trivium were back and headlining the stage at Rock City. Supported by the recently popular Shvpes and Sikth, who were unfortunately missing a guitarist, it was with mixed feelings the crowd entered the venue.

Shvpes had a very energetic front man, who engaged the crowd extremely well and got them pumped. Their 7 song set was short, but the crowd were singing along by the time they played Skin & Bones. The vocalist was constantly calling for a circle pit, and repeatedly spoke to the crowd and tried to get them as hyped as he could for the following acts.

[7/10]

Up next were Sikth, and although they were down a guitarist, it didn’t stop them from giving the performance 110%. The prog metallers have two lead vocalists, and although it seemed like this might be overwhelming, they both incorporate different styles into their performances and blend them together really well. The crowd gave Sikth positive reactions, singing along and giving them a circle pit. Shoeless guitarist Dan managed to fill the empty guitar space with some insane prog metal riffs that the crowd went crazy for.

[9/10]

Finally, out came Trivium. The crowd knew what was coming with a stage set up of a huge stone throne for drums. The trademark Trivium skulls were also present. The entire performance was planned, but it felt like the group were just going through the motions, all the way from Rain to Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr. However, that didn’t stop the crowd from getting into the performance and vocalist Matt Heafy frequently asked the crowd for help on the vocals.

[8/10]