Sunday, 29 April 2018

Album Review: Seven Sisters 'The Cauldron and the Cross'

As heavy metal pioneers continue to depart this world, leaving us with musical gems that will no longer be played in their full, live glory, the future of live music in this genre continues to worry fans. However, when a band like London's Seven Sisters pull yet another wonder out of their denim bag of tricks, that worry most certainly subsides. After seeing them play tracks from new album The Cauldron and the Cross at a packed-out, sold-out Black Heart in Camden, we knew we had to get our hands on a copy- and just look at the artwork!


Opening track 'The Premonition' wastes no time throwing you right into the deep end with continuous heavy riffing and battered skins, coated beautifully with now very familiar leads from guitar duo Farmer and McNeill. Perfectly titled as the flawlessly fused instruments create a sense of panic juxtaposed well with the telling tones of Kyle McNeill's pipes and the change in tempos throughout. Most certainly a sign of things to come.

Eased into 'Blood and Fire' and 'Once and Future King', the cleaner, smoother production on this record supplies the band with an increased sense of confidence and clarity. These tracks and their more simplistic rhythm provide ample opportunity for each instrument to shine, as individual influences from many sub-genres of metal start to expose themselves. 

The inspiration taken from Marion Zimmer Bradley's novel 'The Mists of Avalon' is most evident from here onward as the fantastical elements battle through into song 'Parting the Mists' which may well be my favourite track on the album. The vocal harmonies meet effortlessly with the dual guitars as Loftin's smooth drums power on through and team up with Javi's bass, creating a sturdy rhythm section throughout. The musicianship and skill is impressive and makes for an atmospheric, thought-provoking piece of music. 

As we travel through to perfect sing-a-long material in the form of the very powerful 'Turning of the Tide', Graeme and Kyle once again treat us with a handful of guitar solos which really hit you in the gut. We're then seamlessly led into the very necessary ballad 'Oathbreaker' which naturally leaves us grabbing dramatically at the air before a Norum-Malmsteen edged solo is thrust upon us.  The next track, 'A Land in Darkness'  with it's heavy, power metal driven gallops evokes images of battle and victory with some seriously solid changes in tempo and refrain.

The album ends on a tremendous high with a title track in 2 parts. With part 1 being nearly 8 minutes long, it's triumphant with some truly impressive guitar work and a solo which stays with you through to Part 2. Different, this part builds slowly with an emotive vocal performance from Kyle backed with undertones of Medieval England shortly broken by robust shredding and speed. No other way to end an album like this.

From their first demo The Warden to their first self-titled album released in 2016, these London lads have been no stranger to the underground heavy metal scene. Being one of the most hard-working bands in London has well and truly paid off. The Cauldron and the Cross is so varied and dynamic. An outstanding album from start to finish where Seven Sisters have truly mastered their own sound and style which they embrace with full force and power.

Score: 5/5

You can get your copy of The Cauldron and the Cross here. 





Writer: Kayleigh MG

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Live Review: Night Ranger & Skid Row @ Shepherd's Bush Empire

Both Bad Touch and Toseland do admirable jobs at getting things on the go tonight. Bad Touch seem completely comfortable opening for such big names. They’ve certainly had a lot of experience in that field and it shows. Toseland are on good form and despite possibly being a little on the heavy side for this line-up, they are going down well with those gathered already.

Night Ranger have been given the short straw and are taking the opening slot of this double headliner tonight but the rarity of them playing a show this side of the Atlantic means there’s plenty of fans who couldn’t care less and are simply excited for things to get underway. After a bit of a slow start in the form of new track ‘Somehow Someday’, things really kick off with ‘A Touch of Madness’ and ‘Four in the Morning’ with Brad Gillis squealing away on lead guitar with a huge, climactic solo. The crowd is warming up now and there’s a mass singalong going on which manages to eclipse Jack Blades’ vocals which are almost inaudible due to sound issues. The issue persists into classic ‘Sing Me Away’ where drummer Kelly Keagy’s lead vocals can barely be heard over a muddy, bass-heavy wall of sound. Despite this, the band are giving it their all without having lost any of the swagger and confidence of their earlier days.

‘Coming of Age’, the first of three Damn Yankees songs in this 13 song set, go down a treat with a fantastic reaction from the crowd. Perhaps though, the highlight of the evening comes next in the form of ‘Rumours in the Air’ with Eric Levy’s keys stealing the show. After a tight rendition of their eponymous track with Gillis and Kelli furiously battling it out at the front of the stage, it’s time for things to slow down a bit. The enthusiasm of the crowd, who are lapping up every moment, doesn’t go unnoticed. Blades asks one particularly enamoured fan what age he was in 1985 to which he shouts back “minus 12” sending the band laughing into the beginning of ‘Sentimental Street’, released in that very year. It’s a special moment as Keagy takes the stage alone to sing the intro, getting a chance to show he’s not lost any of his range or power.



A further two Damn Yankees covers morph straight into a guitar solo-filled ‘Don’t Tell Me You Love Me’ with a snippet of Deep Purple’s ‘Highway Star’ thrown in for good measure. An emotive rendition of 'Sister Christian' prompts a mass swaying, lighter waving sing along and all too soon Night Ranger finish up their time on stage with ‘(You Can Still) Rock in America’ also from 1983’s Midnight Madness. Despite some sound issues, Night Ranger showed tonight that they still have much of the attitude, skill and energy which gained them such attention in their heyday.

From before they’ve even taken the stage, it seems as though Skid Row have been given the better end of the bargain tonight. They have a more expansive stage set up than Night Ranger as well as their own backdrop and as we’ll come to see, none of the sound issues which plagued the preceding act. Although there’s been a small exodus of Night Ranger fans both upstairs to the balconies and out of the venue altogether, the place is still packed out and there’s an atmosphere of anticipation especially as long term fans are curious as to how new addition ZP Theart will take to his vocal duties.

A punchy ‘Slave to the Grind’ gets things off to an energetic start with Theart clearly eager to live up to his predecessor. He is full of bravado and energy and stays pretty true to the original versions of the tracks. The band are completely tuned into each other as they fire out impressively tight versions of ‘Sweet Little Sister’ and ‘Piece Of Me’. Dave Sabo and Scotti Hill really come into their own together during ‘Livin' on a Chain Gang’ and ‘Big Guns’. ’18 and Life’ sets the crowd on fire, the whole room jumping and screaming in unison. It’s as if no time has passed since Skid Row were topping the charts. The edgy and more aggressive ‘Makin’ a Mess’ allows Rachel Bolan and Theart to really let loose on bass and vocals, taking things up a notch.

Bolan gets his time in the limelight as he takes over vocal duties for a fierce cover of
The Ramones ‘Psycho Therapy’ and does a damn good job of it. ‘Monkey Business’ finishes off the main set with Rob Hammersmith, drummer of eight years showing us what he’s made of, thundering away on the kit. The combination of acoustic ballad ‘I Remember You’ and the anthemic ‘Youth Gone Wild’ brings fans through a range of emotions and allows the band to showcase the whole spectrum of their greatest strengths as musicians and songwriters. The night ends on a high with the entire crowd truly going wild for Skid Row who still clearly have a special place in the hearts of their European fans. 

Score: 4/5




Photography: Charis Bagioki
Writer: Louise Dornan

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Pre-order The New Rock Goddess Album 'This Time' Now!

Just over thirty years since their last full album, the heavy metal angels are back with a brand new one, 'This Time', hitting the shelves this October.


On June 19th 2017, eager heavy metal fans were finally able to get a taste of something new when Rock Goddess released a three track E.P entitled It's Only Rock And Roll. It had been a long time coming, considering the ladies reformed back in 2013 and have been keeping active on the gig circuit. The wait was worth it just to hear those signature vocal harmonies of Jody Turner, Julie Turner and Tracey Lamb, which probably sent shivers down the spines of loyal devotees.

The ladies will be entering the studio on May 14th, working with award-winning sound engineer Wes Maebe (Robert Plant, Praying Mantis & UB40...). Wes has previously worked with Rock Goddess and will be sure to know how to capture their unique sound in the best way possible.

This Time will be released digitally via Cargo Records on Rock Goddess' very own label, 'Bite You To Death Records'.  It is available for pre-order now on cd/vinyl via Pledge Music. However, if you fancy a bit more, you can also purchase various other Rock Goddess goodies, ranging from a signed drum skin and t-shirts, to a one-off backdrop and VIP gig experiences!

Jody states: "It's been a long time coming and thanks for your loyalty, love and patience. We can't put into words how excited we are about making this album. Here we go.."

Show your support and check out the full list of items and experiences up for grabs at Pledge Music.




Writer: M Godding

Thursday, 12 April 2018

One off screening of 'Sunshine Of Your Love: A Concert For Jack Bruce'

An exclusive screening of 'Sunshine Of Your Love: A Concert For Jack Bruce' is to take place on 14th May, Jack's seventy-fifth birthday, at the Curzon Mayfair in central London.


Celebrated primarily for his advanced electric bass playing and commanding vocal range, Jack Bruce's talents were varied to say the least. Besides writing, singing and playing on some of the most memorable songs from rock's formative years - 'White Room', 'I Feel Free', 'Sunshine Of Your Love' to name only a few - he was a multi-instrumentalist who fearlessly traversed musical genres. In truth, anyone familiar with his solo albums of the early seventies would be inclined to say that the man belongs in a category of one. There are simply no appropriate parallels for Jack Bruce's work, then or now.

Directed by Kyla Simone Bruce, the film documents the evening of 24th October 2015 when a gathering of acclaimed musicians performed a tribute to the life and work of Jack Bruce at the Roundhouse in London. Luminaries such as Ginger Baker, Ian Anderson, Uli Jon Roth, Vernon Reid, Clem Clempson and Bernie Marsden were among the many paying homage that night.

This one-off showing will include a Q & A session hosted by Edith Bowman, allowing audience members the opportunity to quiz the likes of Nitin Sawnhey, Phil Manzanera, Mark King and various Bruce family members about their experiences of the man and his music.

Ian Anderson states: 'From Jack's earliest days with the Graham Bond Organisation, the Cream era and on through the various collaborations and solo work, he has continued to serve as a prime inspiration for me and thousands of other musicians, especially those whose performances graced this Roundhouse evening. I first saw him play at the Nottingham Boat Club in 1966 and had the pleasure to work alongside him on collaborations several times in the final years.'

'Jack was a musical hero of mine, a true force of nature on and off stage, and became a great friend. I was delighted to be part of this powerful and moving tribute concert. I'd like to think that he was looking down on us all, with a wry smile, and thinking Wow what talented kids Margrit and I have, for me, their performances were the concert highlights! ' - Phil Manzanera

'I was thrilled to perform at the memorial concert for dear Jack. It gave me the chance to say thank you for a lifetime's inspiration, and I am so glad that those who couldn't be there can now share the love that we all have for this truly great musician. And those who were lucky enough to be there in person will now be able to experience that wonderful night all over again!' - Mark King


Standard tickets can be purchased online via Curzon here.

Special VIP tickets can be purchased online via Music Glue here.
VIP tickets include: Royal Box seat, access to the Private VIP Reception, glass of bubbly, exclusive Jack Bruce merchandise package including tote bag, personalised event T-shirt, limited edition concert programme, and 2 x AAA passes for the after party raffle draw.



*All profits will go to EACH - East Anglia's Children's Hospices, who were also the beneficiaries of the tribute concert* 


More information at www.jackbruce.com





Writer: George Colwan

Festival Profile: TRVEHEIM Festival, Germany

In the short time that it’s been around, Trveheim Festival has risen to become one of the summer's most unmissable weekends. Seemingly from nowhere, it’s popped onto the radar so we’re here to give you the low-down on this little slice of heavy metal heaven outside Munich.


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The history of Trveheim began back in 2015 with a desire from creators Lenny and Konsty to support the NWOTHM (New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal for the uninitiated). In trying to find a way to allow young bands to reach a wider audience, the first Trveheim sampler was born, packed with a hand selected collection of tracks from some of the best new talent on the scene.

The sampler’s success spurred Konsty and Lenny on to create their own small, one day festival in October 2016. As well as a selection of young acts like Skullwinx, Attic and Steelwing, the line-up was filled out by old school heavy weights Demon and Trance. Things went down so well that dreams of a two day summer festival started to appear in the minds of the Trveheim crew and so in August 2017, the first full scale, two day, Trveheim Festival was born.


Needing somewhere which could offer camping, the festival was moved from its original location to Hausler Hof, a beautiful farm/venue complex in the village of Halbergmoos. The idyllic surroundings give the feeling of being deep in the German countryside, surrounded by open fields, dirt roads and lakes. There’s a fair amount of German festivals in this kind of setting which are almost exclusively attended by fans who are able to drive to their secluded locations. Trveheim on the other hand has a secret weapon up its sleeve. Munich Airport is a mere six miles from the festival site giving easy access to anyone who is able to catch a flight.

Sticking true to their roots, the second Trveheim sampler of young and upcoming bands was released at the 2017 edition of the festival which itself was stacked with its fair share of new talent – a 50/50 mix of old and new acts including Ostrogoth, Cloven Hoof, Heathens From The North feat. Eddy Malm, Ambush, Blizzen, RAM and Saboter.


Photo by M Godding
For those at the festival who need a break from the endless stream of fantastic live shows, there’s a lot on offer from Trveheim and its beautiful countryside location. Between the lakeside and the extensive beer benches, there’s an abundance of comfy spots to lounge around and drink a cold Weißbier, Goaß or long drink. The 30 degree sun beating down for the entirety of 2017’s edition had people milling in and out of the hall all day soaking it in, mixing drinks, swimming and splashing in the lake, playing frisbee and enjoying the great food and drink selection in the cosy courtyard. There’s more than enough space for everyone to camp, no portable toilets in sight and a lake right on site for washing off the hangover from the night before. Trveheim feels like a summer holiday with a festival thrown in and that’s before we even get to the night-time after parties with DJs playing only the best of hard rock, heavy metal and everything in between.

It seems things couldn’t have gone any better last summer and so Trveheim has shot onwards and upwards with a whole host of amazing new bands booked for 2018. It’s arguably the biggest and best line up so far with huge names Satan, Q5, Pokolgèp, Portrait, Praying Mantis, White Wizzard and Witchfynde joining the likes of Iron Thor, Skullwinx, Horacle, Electric Shock and Axe Crazy to complete the 18 band bill.


There are plenty of good reasons you’ve probably started to notice more and more mentions of Trveheim in recent months, all of which make it an unmissable addition to your summer plans. Come join us at one of the best heavy metal festivals on offer, you won’t regret it!




Writer: Louise Dornan

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

New AIRRACE Single and Upcoming UK Tour


One of the UK's pioneering AOR acts, AIRRACE were originally formed in 1982. Having recently re-signed to the Fronteirs label, the band have released their new single 'Summer Rain' as well as announcing a forthcoming album and UK tour

Band leader Laurie Mansworth describes the song as "a song for the summer." and goes onto say "I wanted to write something upbeat with a positive feel as there is far too much doom and gloom around at the moment."

The single is taken from the forthcoming abum entitled Untold Stories which is set for release on 10th August 2018. The band describe it as not 'typical Airrace' and go on to say that there is a lot more of a '70s vibe with influences ranging with everything from ELO to Led Zeppelin as well as further influences from over the years.

You can catch AIRRACE at many dates across the UK in September this year and can also check out their new single right here.

21.09.18  CARDIFF Clwb Ifor Bach
22.09.18  LONDON Underworld
23.09.18  NORWICH Waterfront
24.09.18  CAMBRIDGE Portland
27.09.18  WOLVERHAMPTON Slade Rooms 
28.09.18  SHEFFIELD Corporation
29.09.18  NEWCASTLE Cluny
30.09.18  GLASGOW Stereo







Writer: Kayleigh MG

Friday, 6 April 2018

Festival Preview: Rock Fest Barcelona, 5-6-7 July 2018


Trapped in this cold and grey springtime in London, we can’t be blamed for our minds being firmly planted on thoughts of July in Barcelona: sunshine, cocktails, sand, sea and heavy metal.

For the fifth time, masses will descend into the heat of summertime Spain to be treated to some of the greatest hard rock and heavy metal acts on offer. In the short time it’s been running, the festival has climbed to a level which rivals the most well established events on the summer circuit.

There’s no shortage of big names with Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions and Kiss taking the headline slots on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There’s enough showmanship in those three bands alone to make this a weekend to remember but it doesn’t stop there. On the back of the release of the widely acclaimed Firepower, Judas Priest will be stopping off in Barcelona after a series of dates across the US, Canada, Mexico and elsewhere in Europe. Another big treat is coming to the festival in the form of Helloween and their ‘Pumpkins United’ tour. Original members Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen have joined forces with the current band line-up to deliver a set list and show which is absolutely unmissable for super-fans and casual listeners alike. Megadeth will also be visiting Barcelona as part of their run of summer festival dates, with both original members Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson now making up half of the foursome.

There’s plenty on offer for those of us who are firmly stuck in a pre-90s state of mind with appearances from Uriah Heep, Stryper, Vixen, Axel Rudi Pell, Tankard and Accept all on the cards and Tygers Of Pan Tang bringing some much needed NWOBHM to the mix. With Twisted Sister having come out to play for the final time in 2016, fans mourning the loss of one of the greatest shows in heavy metal history will be excited to witness the return of the sheer force that is Dee Snider with his solo band.

Another highlight slightly lower down on the bill is sure to be Ross the Boss of Manowar fame. Those lucky enough to grab tickets and make it to the 2016 edition of Keep It True festival can attest to the absolutely electric atmosphere that filled the hall throughout their set. We’re hoping for a repeat this July!

Amongst a vast array of more modern bands – Dimmu Borgir, Amaranthe, Dark Funeral, Korplikaani, Lacuna Coil, Dark Tranquility – are a couple of newer acts solidly paying tribute to those gone before. In the very recent past, we could have expected Motörhead to be blasting away in the Spanish heat, headlining as they had done for so many years. Sadly, we don’t have that privilege anymore. In the absence of three of the loudest, filthiest, fastest and best we’ve ever known, Bömbers and Motörhits will be flying the Motörhead flag high above Barcelona and are not to be missed!

The countdown begins now, we’ll see you there. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

Info and tickets at www.rockfestbarcelona.com/en


Writer: Louise Dornan