Friday, 1 May 2020

Collectors In Rock: Pt. 4

It's no secret that rock and heavy metal possesses some of the most committed fans around. 

Collectors In Rock celebrates the dedication of avid collectors from across the globe as they display and share some of their most prized possessions with us. 
Would you like your collection featured on Collectors In Rock?Just send an email to 

Collector: Rob Evans
Location: Chester, England

Tell us a bit about you and since when/why you have a passion for collecting vinyl: 
Music as a passion started in the seventies with bands like Slade and Sweet and progressed from there. I’d always harboured a desire to be a part of the industry from an early age. From my first gig in ’77 (Black Sabbath at the Liverpool Empire) I was hooked and it just snowballed from there.
Not having an older brother or sister to guide my musical tastes, I relied on magazines like Sounds etc. Also none of my mates liked Metal, so I always felt like a loner. It wasn’t until I met a guy at football, who was in a band, that I felt like I belonged somewhere. I went in the van to all his gigs and suddenly I felt like I fitted in. There’s a scene in Almost Famous where William Miller says to Penny Lane ‘I have to go home’ and she replies, ‘You are home.’ That’s how I felt and it’s took me on a journey of managing bands that never got anywhere, to writing for some of the biggest magazines on the planet like Classic Rock, Planet Rock, Burrn, Rock Candy with all the old Kerrang writers, Powerplay and Fireworks. 

To me, music is packed full of memories and emotions.   

First vinyl purchase: That would have to be an original copy of Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ album that I got from a school mate in 1976 for the princely sum of fifty pence. It would prove to be the catalyst for a lifetime of collecting.

Most recent vinyl purchase: The last vinyl purchase from a record shop before the lockdown would have to be IQ’s ‘Nomzamo’ album. The last thing I’ve bought online is Mendes Prey’s ‘On To The Borderline’ 7” single, something I’ve been after for a while at a reasonable price.

Prized possession(s): Isn’t every record a prized possession, memories from various moments in time? I can remember buying certain albums at certain times, yet others I sometimes forget I’ve even got. I’ll say any record from the NWOBHM as it was a movement that I was right at the beginning of. Albums and singles from bands like Raven, Maiden, Saxon, Leppard, Venom, Angel Witch and a whole raft of others are my prized vinyl possessions.

The needle(s) in the haystack (rarest): It would have to be my copy of Iron Maiden’s ‘Soundhouse Tapes’ that I bought back in ’79 for the grand sum of £1.20! It commands anything from £800-£2,000 pounds these days; mine is even signed by Steve Harris, in ’84 if I remember rightly.

Most featured artist(s) in your collection: Not an artist, but a label. I collect all of the Ebony Records albums from the eighties. The likes of Dealer, Preyer, Grim Reaper, Cobra, Touched, Savage, Chateaux, Blade Runner, Holland, Hammer, Samurai, Tyga Myra, Fast Kutz and Rankelson are all prime slices of metal. I especially love the Ebony records compilations of unknown bands – Metal Plated, Metal Maniaxe, Metallic Storm, Metal Fatigue and Metal Warriors as they contain some wonderful one-off’s from the world of metal. But like everything, they are getting pricier by the day.

Top 5 favourites: I picked these albums and singles for the memories they’ve given me over the years. This bunch has given me over the years some of my favourite musical moments.

1) Wrathchild- ‘Stakk Attakk’. I loved this band in the eighties, followed them all over the country. This is a reminder of great times.
2) Torino- ‘Customised’. The debut album from Liverpool’s Torino is another reminder of wonderful times watching them in the Warrington Lion, Runcorn Cherry Tree or the Kings Arms in Wrexham.
3) Rox-‘Hot Love In The City’. Former Sounds writer and Kerrang! founder, Geoff Barton, loved these boys and so did I and this single is arguably their finest moment.
4) Silverwing-‘Sittin’ Pretty’. Another Barton rave, another wonderful band. This 12” single features ‘Teenage Love Affair’, check it out.
5) Def Leppard-‘High and Dry’. Another band I adored throughout the seventies and eighties. First saw them in a club in Birkenhead in ’79 in front of about forty people. Their second album is by far their best.

Priciest Piece: The aforementioned Iron Maiden single, Motley Crue’s ‘Too Fast For Love’ on Leathur Records or the Diamond Head white label debut, but you can throw in the likes of Treason, Shock Split, Crucifixion, Wild Pussy, Nemesis, Killerwatt, Urban Clearway, Artisan, Hyper Vyper, Arizona, Darklight and a whole host of other British metal acts that regularly fetch over the £100 mark.

Worthless wonder (not worth many pennies but might mean a lot to you!): My Slade singles from when I was a kid in the seventies, bought for me by my mum and dad. They are battered, but priceless and my first taste of music. I actually met them once backstage at the Birmingham Odeon, Noddy Holder and Don Powell was drinking pints of Whisky; it was intimidating and exhilarating in equal measures.

Guilty pleasures:
I help curate the Lost UK Jewels CD releases for an Italian label called Steelheart Memories alongside label boss, Primo Bonali. So far we’ve reissued nineteen CDs from obscure British bands like Peroux, Voyager UK, Torino, Tokyo, Geneva, Zero Zero, First Strike et al. It’s been fun tracking down old band members, collating memorabilia and writing the liner notes. They are a window to a bygone era.

Most regular place you purchase/trade/search:
These days its virtual record stores like Discogs, Ebay or Musicstack that take a lot of my money. We are also lucky to have Grey & Pink records in Chester, one of the finest selections of used vinyl in the whole of the North West of England.

Bargain Bin:
I was in a record store in Cambridge when I came across a copy of the Hammer Head (Ian Parry fronted Dutch band) EP, ‘Heart Made Of Steel’, for £5 pounds. But what made it even more of a bargain was the press releases, photos and hand written letters that were tucked inside. It was like a time capsule to the past.

Favourite non-vinyl collectable(s):
I’m going to say my magazine collection that includes the first 500 Kerrang’s, Metal Forces, Boulevard Fanzine, AOR Classics Fanzine, Loud Fanzine and Frontiers Fanzine and many others. Or my Journey ‘Live In Houston’ DVD that is signed by Steve Perry after I interviewed him many years ago.

Favourite record shop from the past:
The likes of Penny Lane records in Chester would have to be my personal favourite, so many memories attached to that store that includes meeting Lemmy and Motorhead. But out of town I’d always love going to Shades in London for the day, or Lotus records in Hanley, X Records in Bolton and ST records in Dudley. One of the coolest was Yanks/Power Cuts in Manchester. It was a huge deletions warehouse that had Vinyl and CDs by the bucket load for ridiculous prices and their sales were legendary.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Collectors In Rock: Pt. 3

It's no secret that rock and heavy metal possesses some of the most committed fans around. 

Collectors In Rock celebrates the dedication of avid collectors from across the globe as they display and share some of their most prized possessions with us. 
Would you like your collection featured on Collectors In Rock?Just send an email to 

Collector: Ray Paul
Location: Stevenage, UK

Tell us a bit about you and when/why you have a passion for collecting vinyl:
My dad gave me an old record player when I was about 8 with a stack of singles and albums, everything from The Beatles and T-Rex to the Yardbirds. I fell in love with music from that point and when I joined senior school at 11 I made a friend who was a Status Quo fan, my dad got me some of their albums and along with The Police were my first real bands. I was dedicated too... I collected anything I could find on them. 

At this point the NWOBHM started to hit and I embraced bands like Motorhead, Maiden, Vardis, Tygers of Pan Tang etc. Kerrang Magazine helped me to discover AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and of course Kiss. My vinyl addiction began. Junk shops where a great place to discover so many great records, I would sit and stare at the covers imagining what the bands looked like in concert. Then I bought my first gig ticket! Saxon Denim and Leather Tour 1981 with US act Riot in support. 

My life changed at that moment... I had found my tribe!

First vinyl purchase:
Via my dad with my pocket money it would be Status Quo - Piledriver/ Hello/ Blue For You.

Most recent vinyl purchase:
Great White - Hooked, with the original withdrawn cover of the naked model.

Prized possession(s): That's a tough one! I would say Kiss- Creatures of the Night signed by the band 1982... I met them at Virgin Megastore and being a huge Kiss fan it was a mind blowing experience.

The needle(s) in the haystack (rarest): First two Sabbath albums original vertigo 1st issues; Kiss - The Originals, Canadian import with all the inserts; Led Zeppelin - For Badge Holders Only, four LP bootleg; Celtic Frost- To Mega Therion original Noise label; Kiss - Dressed to Kill and Rock N Roll Over UK red vinyl issues. The Beatles - Help, German red lettering sleeve.

Most featured artist(s) in your collection: That's easy... it's Kiss! The band only released 20 studio albums and I have about 160. Everything from bootlegs to rare imports!

Top 5 favourites: Mostly vinyl. It means even more to me when it is signed and it almost becomes infused with the memory of meeting that artist so here they are: -
1) Kiss - Creatures of the Night 
2) Riot - Fire Down Under (officially the first rock band I ever saw live and met too).
3) Jethro Tull -Broadsword and The Beast (I interviewed Ian with a 30 min time slot, we had a delightful conversation that lasted close to an hour.)
4) Deep Purple- Fireball (original 1st issue with insert signed By Ian Gillan during his period with Sabbath.)
5) Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies (fold out poster billion dollar baby bill signed by Alice himself.)

Priciest Piece:
Kiss - Creatures Of The Night fully signed.

Worthless wonder (not worth many pennies but might mean a lot to you!):

Electric Light Orchestra - Out Of The Blue blue vinyl with poster and fold out card board spaceship, a truly glorious sounding and looking vinyl that quite easy to pick up at a good price.

Guilty pleasures: The Beach Boys. I have every album from the early sixties to present day on original label issues.

Most regular place you purchase/trade/search: It used to be Shades Record Shop in London in the '80s. It was the only dedicated metal rock shop of its day! These days it's car boots and Ebay.

Bargain Bin:
The Beatles- Rubber Soul and Help £1 each at a car boot sale.

Favourite non-vinyl collectable(s): That would be my Kiss '70s merchandise collection, everything from dolls and lunch boxes to radios and Halloween costumes.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Live Review: Glenn Hughes at the De La Warr Pavillion

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside...especially when that means seeing the voice of rock himself - Glenn Hughes!

It's certainly not our first time witnessing Glenn Hughes' live shows, however we were never lucky enough to be present during Mark III or IV Deep Purple. This makes nights like this that much more exciting and with Glenn bringing this tour to lesser known areas such as Bexhill-On-Sea, we feel as if we're on holiday!

After a short walk along the breezy seafront, we take our seats at the front of the stunning De La Warr Pavillion. The grand stage is dressed with the deepest purple backdrop and in the distance,  the echoes of Glenn's vocal warm-up can be heard, leaving fans on the edge of their seats. The moment Glenn sets foot on stage we're reminded of the pure soul and sensationalism that he executes. His stage presence is cool and effortless. He struts across the stage, bass hanging low, playing along to the opening riff to 'Stormbringer'. It feels natural to stand, applaud or dance and at times it seems as if Glenn is beckoning the audience to do something more than sit. Surprisingly and unlike other seated rock events, the fans do not take away from the atmosphere. Many fans tap, bounce and sing along to every word. There aren't any new numbers in this set...only fan-favourites and Deep Purple classics.

Glenn's band are first rate and prove this as they break into Burn favourite 'Might Just Take Your Life'; the perfect opportunity for keyboardist Vince Dicola to show-off his skills and pay unspoken tribute to the late Jon Lord. Glenn announces "It's good to be home" as he sports his Union Jack emblazoned sleeves. The soft hum of the moving bass line vibrates across the Pavillion and a light buzz fills the room. 'You Keep On Moving' from the masterpiece Come Taste the Band is soothing and the ultimate evidence to prove how Hughes' vocal range seems to continuously improve over time. A song like no other.

The set continues with Deep Purple classic after classic including 'Sail Away' and 'You Fool No One/High Ball Shooter' where Glenn truly connects with the audience, showing off his pearly whites and pinpointing individuals in the crowd.  'Gettin' Tighter' and 'Mistreated' arrive later down the line. Glenn shares stories of his time in Deep Purple, including that time in Ritchie Blackmore's kitchen where the beginnings of 'Mistreated' were first composed.  Guitarist Soren Anderson does a phenomenal job playing the styles of both Ritchie Blackmore and Tommy Bolin. Drummer Ash Sheehan not only blows the audience away with a charismatic and varied drum solo but is able to deliver every Paice beat with ease.  Hughes compares Sheehan to the characters in the movie Snatch, going on to say "he's completely crazy... and that's why he's in my band".  The stage banter and connection only adds to the musicianship and on-stage relationship.

They say time flies when you're having fun but this set is flying by quicker than expected.  Hughes continues with a bluesy medley of 'Smoke On the Water/Georgia On My Mind', the classic 'Burn' and a surprising finishing number in the form of 'Highway Star'.  He delivers this with pure power and passion yet I'm left wanting more... more from the Marks of Deep Purple that Hughes contributed on. A personal preference would have been to replace these Mark II songs with 'Love Don't Mean a Thing' or even an added treat with something from Seventh Star (I'll keep dreaming!) It was Hughes himself who introduced the set as "songs that Paice, Glover and Gillan do not play!" This is all minor in the grand scheme. The room is moving and as Glenn hits every note, the audience attempt to do the same.  Smiles surround me and I try to remember the last time I was at a show with such an uplifting vibe from all present.

A truly moving performance by a unique, modest and humble human being who somehow manages to make you feel like you're the only one in the room. His vocal range is consistently impressive and his ability to reach those extraordinary high notes keeps fans coming back for more. Glenn's positive spirit shines through both on a personal and musical level and we can't wait for him to be back again.

Photography: Michelle G
Writer: Kayleigh V

Live Review: Alive and Dangerous at The Underworld, Camden

The boys are back in London again!

Judging by all the pushing and shoving at the stage of the packed Underworld, it's clear from the get-go that Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous haven’t lost any of their appeal. It’s the fifth time that they've brought their celebration of the 1978 masterpiece to Thin Lizzy’s London fans whose numbers seem to grow each time.

How perfect a choice Brian Downey has made with his band is clear from the moment they begin to play. We’re treated to not just a faultless run through of Live and Dangerous but a genuine and heartfelt tribute to the music and those behind it. Matt Wilson embodies the spirit of Phil whilst implicitly making it clear he is here to pay tribute rather than to imitate. He doesn’t let us forget the man at the back either, giving plenty of credit where credit is due. Brian draws attention to himself through his drumming alone, showing how little has changed in his musicianship and style since the good old days.   

Phil Edgar and Brian Grace bring Lizzy’s twin guitar magic to life again, capturing hearts during ‘Still In Love With You’ and getting the whole room moving to the melodies of ‘Don’t Believe A Word’, ‘Sha La La’ and well, everything else. It’s a joy to watch a band who are truly making the most of what they’re doing - having fun with each other and with some of the best music that the world of hard rock has ever seen.

With ‘Got To Figure Out’ we get something a bit different - a new song, written by Alive and Dangerous this year. There’s a little confusion from the crowd perhaps expecting only to hear songs they’ve heard time and time again. No matter, people are moving to the tune of this modern creation soon enough.

Finally, after a goosebump inducing ‘Black Rose’, we’re sent on our way to the sounds of ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ and promises of a next time we’re already looking forward to.

Upcoming 2020 February tour dates with Don Airey:

22nd - Waterfront, Norwich
23rd - Welly, Hull
24th - Academy 3, Manchester
26th - Foundry, Sheffield
27th - Lemongrove, Exeter

Check back at for added dates in the future.

Gallery coming soon!

Writer: Louise Dornan
Photography: M Godding

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Live Review: Grim Reaper @ Boston Music Rooms, Archway

Grim Reaper are back at London's Boston Music Room tonight, launching their new album 'At The Gates!

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Grim Reaper are no stranger to London music venues, and what with this being 1 of 2 London shows in close proximity, I was initially unsure of whether or not the venue would fill up. Oh me of little faith. Of course, throwing an album launch alongside Toledo Steel, Salem UK and Blizzen, as well as having a reputation of great consistency, it was no doubt that tonight would have a decent turnout. 

Germany's Blizzen kick the night off and although the atmosphere is yet to pick-up, these chaps waste no time getting stuck right in to a set list of songs from their 2016 release 'Genesis Reversed'. Through image, sound and delivery, Blizzen show-off influences of '80s heavy metal  with added epic choruses, fast paced riffs and melody.

With Desolation Angels pulling out of tonight's line-up we have NWOBHM legends Salem UK next up on the bill. Vocalist Simon Saxby fronts the band with the swagger and confidence we expect. The band look like they're having the time of their life as they work through a short set consisting of tracks from their new release 'Win, Lose or Draw', as well other recent releases including songs Black and White, Attrition and Forgotten Dreams. 

It's time for Toledo Steel whose fans make it quite clear that there is a reason they're this high on the bill. The empty space that has been surrounding the front of the floor has now started to fill as fans enthusiastically pump their fists and sing along to songs from their full-length album 'No Quarter'. Toledo Steel continue to prove what dedicated and impressive musicians they are as they power through a fast and energetic set. The band have gained themselves quite the reputation, and rightly so; you wouldn't guess from their enthusiasm that they're almost at the end of a European Tour!

The venue has begun to pack out with fans of all ages nearing the front for the arrival of Mr Steve Grimmett and his band of Reapers. He graces the stage with such a powerful presence matched perfectly with the immediate pelt of the impressively unique vocal range we all know and love. Steve's still got it and although (like many other long-time musicians) he reads his lyrics from a tablet, this isn't met with criticism. He does so with grace and modesty and delivers exactly what the fans want and expect from NWOBHM royalty. The set list consists of songs taken from their new release At the Gates as well as crowd-pleasing favourites such as 'Lust For Freedom' and 'Rock You To Hell' A personal favourite and welcomed surprise 'The Show Must Go On' is executed wonderfully and Steve acknowledges those joining in unison. In such a small venue, one wouldn't expect a stage diver- however someone attempts to do just that, blocking the band and knocking equipment. As he falls to the ground he's met with unimpressed stares from each member of the band. Needless to say, he didn't attempt it again.

Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper never fail to impress. They're incredibly active and tour regularly, all across the world, but it's never a chore witnessing the pure love that Steve and the band have for playing the songs that they clearly enjoy playing. The reception they receive is impressive and the singalong to 'See You In Hell' is always an instant goosebump moment. Steve is passionate about music and life and this is reflected in their live performances and recent releases. 

Check out Grim Reaper's new release At The Gates, out now on Dissonance Records.

Writer: Kayleigh Valentini

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Album Review: Tanith 'In Another Time'

Inspired by the sounds of the '70s, heavy rockers Tanith release their full-length debut album!

Tanith seemed to appear from out of nowhere with the Citadel single in late 2017, presenting an unsuspecting public with something new and exciting with little initial hype. The largely-NYC-and-also-Newcastle Upon Tyne four-piece have as clear an idea of what they're about as any band I've encountered.  Their own promotional material invokes Wishbone Ash, Uriah Heep and Blue Oyster Cult as inspiration, and it's easy to detect some early Rush lurking around in the grandiose, fantastical vision they offer.  Their debut full-length, 'In Another Time', communicates this clearly from the vivid, cosmic cover work by Brooklyn based artist Luke Cantarella to the wealth of melody, riffs and atmosphere contained therein.

Opener Citadel (Galantia Pt 1) pushes the listener straight into the world that Tanith have created with this record.  The key features of the their sound are quickly given prominence here: dual guitar leads supplied by Russ Tippins (Satan, Blind Fury, Pariah, Russ Tippins Electric Band) and Charles Newton, powerful riffs in a lush, over driven sound and the interplay and harmony of Tippins' and bassist Cindy Maynard's vocals.  The pacey bombast of Citadel is immediately followed by the more sinister-sounding, traditionally 'heavy' Book Of Changes.  This reinforces the band's effortless command of dynamics and atmosphere with stately-sounding dual leads giving way to a surprisingly heavy main riff played at a marching pace.  Melodic, harmonising vocals reinforce the heavier atmosphere through contrast.

This well-honed sound continues with minor variations throughout the album, lyrics chiefly keeping a studied focus on fantasy themes with a generally positive bent. The chief example of this comes with album highlight Under The Stars, a paean to confronting a world of cynicism and materialism with childlike wonderEleven Years provides something of a break from the 'Wishbone Ash with more bite' formula, this song's tale of a man afflicted with ennui lent an almost 1960s psych-pop quality and allows for some low-key showing off by drummer Keith Robinson.

By the album's conclusion (a short instrumental reprise of Under The Stars), the listener can be sure of a band greater than the sum of its' parts.  In the songwriting, the vocal harmonies and the overall musicianship this band is a force to be reckoned with.  Do yourself a favour and see them on tour this Autumn!

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Listen to and purchase Tanith's music from Metal Blade.  For upcoming news and tour dates follow the band on Facebook.

Writer: Craig Stewart