Thursday, 26 October 2017

Connoisseur's Choice: Born Again's Top 10 Judas Priest Gems

There are some questions in life which are almost impossible to answer. "What's your favourite Judas Priest album?" is most certainly one of them. So, we've done something even more challenging and have shared 10 of our favourite Judas Priest tracks in preparation for our Born Again: Judas Priest Special

There's only one thing left to do! Get your Priest collection out and listen along with us!

10) Victim of Changes from Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)

An inspiringly perfect heavy metal album. Victim of Changes is a track that represents the brilliant musicianship, darkness and power that the entire album executes. It was a face-off between this and Dreamer Deceiver/Deceiver as both similarly display all that is great with the Priest. Solos, soul, atmosphere and a vocal range to make changes well and truly come over your body.

9) Fever from Screaming for Vengeance (1982)

With an intro to send tingles down your spine, quickly disturbed by the sounds of KK and Glenn, it's not long before you're sent into a classic Priest sing-a-long. Much like other songs on 'Screaming' this song brings pure emotion and power in the heaviest form. Once again, it's difficult to choose just 1 track from this album- particularly when it's got numbers such as '(Take These) Chains' on it!

Fever all day and all night!

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8) Rapid Fire from British Steel (1980)

If you're a Born Again regular, you'll know this is a tune we can't help but belt out every night. Heavy from the get-go with drums to bust your gut (forgetting for a moment that they're played by kiddie fiddling Dave Holland). Pounding the world with ultimate muscle, steel and speed! Rapid Fire is one of those songs that gets every part of your body moving. Proper British heavy metal!

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7) Diamonds and Rust from 'Unleashed in the East' (1979)

There are many variations of this song composed by Priest alone not to mention other artists. However, we didn't hesitate when thinking of our favourite version, found on Priest's 1979 live album 'Unleashed in the East'. It's raw energy transports you to to Tokyo where you find yourself in a trance; face screwed up and muscles contorted trying to replicate the KK/Glenn combo once again. Halford's vocals are truly flawless and knowing this was performed live makes it even more pleasing to listen to. 

6) Burnin' Up from Killing Machine (1978)

If there was ever a Priest song to 'sexy-dance' to, it'd be this. The suggestive lyrics, sensual guitar tone and Halford's sexually sinister vocals certainly do get you Burnin' Up. Perhaps not the greatest song on the album, but a song I often find myself having the urge to listen to and one rarely mentioned. Combined with 'Evil Fantasies', it makes you wonder what environment this album was written in! Whatever it was, I wanna be there!

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5) Blood Red Skies from Ram It Down (1986)

An ultimate for fans of  '80s heavy metal. The intro is a collection of acoustic sounds with the operatic vibratos of Rob reminiscent to that of a storm building. These sounds are soon shattered by those 80s iconic drums that give off enough reverb to shake you from within- tremendous! Halford's vocals in the verse are slow and subtle which only add more passion to those on-going screams and solos as the storm has well and truly kicked in.

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4) Desert Plains from Point of Entry (1981)

An underrated album which holds one of my very favourite Judas Priest tracks. Although the version to beat is from Live Vengeance '82, I feel like giving Point of Entry some love is necessary! Desert Plains has some of the most impressive Priest lyrics yet, which are matched perfectly with the consistent pounding drums throughout. The KK- Glenn-Halford combo then takes the song to a whole new level with imagery of riding free evoking so much emotion. Arguably one of Priest's best tracks.

3) Out in the Cold from Turbo (1986)

Turbo, the marmite album in the Priest collection; loved by some, hated by many. The hate I never understood. An ultimate '80s party album which also gifts us with songs like 'Out in the Cold'. Another belter of  a track with once again a live version to die for ('Fuel for Life Tour'). The synths, the twin guitars, the reverb on that snare- it's tasty. Then, once again, Rob takes it to the next level with a combination of subtle smoothness and a slow build-up to the classic Halford-esque tones.

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2) The Sentinel from Defenders of the Faith (1984)

I've always said, 2 of the very best songs ever written are Iron Maiden's Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Judas Priest's The Sentinel. Play one after the other and your head is well and truly ready to explode. This whole album is made of immense energy, rapidity and dominance and yet this song still manages to stand out. It's not just a song, but a powerful journey with many roads.

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1) Beyond the Realms of Death from Stained Class (1978)

A masterpiece, difficult to sum up in just a few sentences. A power ballad in its own right, Beyond the Realms of Death has one of the best vocal performances in heavy metal history. When you add the phenomenal musicianship of KK, Glenn, Ian and drummer Les Binks to the mix, you get that classic Judas Priest sound with a little added extra. Combined with truly emotive lyrics and 2 guitar solos of dreams, you'll never want it to end. And, it doesn't have to! There are many live versions of this song, all incredible. You know what to do with the rest of your day. 

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We want to know YOUR favourite Priest tracks!
Share them with us and we'll be sure to spin them come Saturday 9th December at The Black Heart in Camden!

Writer: Kayleigh MG

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


We are very pleased to announce that the founder of The Heavy Metal Soundhouse NEAL KAY will join us behind the decks for a ONE NIGHT ONLY Christmas Extravaganza!

The night will include DJ sets from Neal Kay, Born Again and a special collaboration using 'Kay's Soundhouse Classics' which includes songs taken from the very last Soundhouse at the infamous Bandwagon! Additionally, the night will see many special guests, we hope that you can be one of them! Neal has commented on the event and says: -

“There I was, deep in slumber in my rocking chair at the ‘Home For Retired Old Rockers, OAPs and Terminal Loonies’, when I was awoken by two heavenly visions, approaching from the land of the living! The empty bottle of JD fell off my lap and crashed onto the floor, and sitting bolt upright I realised this was no dream! There was no escape - some things just must be done!

After cracking a fresh bottle, Kayleigh and Michelle made me an offer that I just could not refuse. I grabbed my Zimmer frame, staggered to my feet, cane in hand, and I accepted with honour the opportunity to take to the stage ONE MORE TIME in the name of The Heavy Metal Soundhouse. We will deliver to all who turn up, a few hours of an historic Xmas Soundhouse Extravaganza with the sounds that were used back in the day, some from over 40 years ago! As long as I can remember how it all works, that is! Even further tempting, was the offer of real decks to spin those vital vinyl classic works of greatness, with all the more modern gadgets thrown in as well.

So, I really am looking forward to this great event on Friday the 22nd December, and Michelle, Kayleigh and I together are going to make it a real old-fashioned "Night to Remember!"

I look forward to welcoming you once more to a real Soundhouse Christmas show.

It's not so much a's more like Rock N' Roll!”

£6 advanced cheap tickets can be found here.
£8 on the door.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Compilation Review: British Steel 'The Rising Force Of British Heavy Metal'

It feels almost redundant to point this out, but the UK metal scene is brimming with talent right now. Through a mixture of veterans who've been plugging away for years and relatively young blood, we're blessed with a stable of bands delivering heavy metal at varying degrees of ferocity and majesty, with a knack for memorable songwriting and intense live performance in common. Dissonance Productions, who launched last year, have been kind enough to gather some of the finest examples under one roof and have put together this compilation, launched to much fanfare with a show headlined by Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper and four of the bands involved (Amulet, Seven Sisters, Aggressive Perfector, Eliminator) at the tail end of September in Camden Underworld. This album serves simultaneously as an introduction for the curious, a sample of new material for established fans of some of the bands involved, and a statement of intent for future releases.

Opening the collection is London’s stalwart Bloody Knights,
Amulet, who contribute 'Highwayman'. A fast, punchy number with a triumphant sounding chorus delivered with gusto by frontman Jamie Elton, this does a great job of showing the unsuspecting listener what they’re in for and is itself a good augury for their second full-length album, due for release in early 2018.

The second track drags us northward to Manchester with Aggressive Perfector who supply a fine slice of raw aggression in the form of 'Harlot’s Spell'. This is one I keep coming back to. The harsh vocals are complemented by a some very catchy melodic riffs that never sound too forced or at odds with the overall “feel” of the song. This is my first encounter with Aggressive Perfector and I’ll be keeping an eye out in future.

Up next we have Eliminator’s 'Lost To The Void'. I can’t stress enough how good it is to be hearing from these lads again after a relatively quiet period. This is an older number re-recorded to show off new singer Danny Foster and he certainly delivers, fitting the grand scope of the song perfectly. 'Lost To The Void' draws the listener straight in with a forceful introduction, fancy leadwork and an almost operatic sounding chorus.

We move from the stratosphere to the depths of Hades with the next track, Dungeon’s 'Queen of Sin'. In this preview of an upcoming 2017 EP, the London quartet capture the frenetic energy of their live shows. Don’t look for anything resembling elegance here: 'Queen of Sin' hurtles towards its ending relentlessly, only gaining in intensity. A satisfying slab of speed metal.

Dark Forest are up next with 'Where The Arrow Falls' from last year’s Beyond The Veil LP. A successor in spirit and theme to 2011’s 'Under The Greenwood Tree' (from their sophomore Dawn of Infinity album), 'Where The Arrow Falls' trades in reverence for a mythic past, a sense of freedom against forces that would curtail it and a simple appreciation of nature’s beauty and grandeur. Led by guitarist Christian Horton, Dark Forest have been going in one form or another for 15 years now and it shows in consistent quality of their songwriting, and by-now second nature affinity for memorable melodies and riffs to get fists pumping.

Following on, Toledo Steel deliver 'Rock Nights': A solid, mid-paced ode to the joys of touring and playing shows, propelled along by a satisfyingly pounding main riff, 'Rock Nights' is a straightforward, no-nonsense banger. Look out for the strong vocal performance we've come to expect from Rich Rutter and a tasty solo courtesy of Tom Potter.

Scotland is represented on this compilation by speedsters Vuil, who contribute 'Iron Witch'. Fast and furious riffage and positively Vio-Lence-esque vocals add up to a maddening racket. Lovely stuff.

Seven Sisters bridge the gap between last year's self-titled LP and 2018's upcoming Cauldron And The Cross by contributing 'The Witches Eye'. This is a faster number than we're used to from the West London wreckery merchants (drummer Steve Loftin is clearly putting in a hell of a shift), and as such stands in contrast to the more sweeping, epic sounds that dominated last year's record. Their long-established melodic sensibility is still present though, and the chorus provides on one of Kyle McNeill's best performances so far.

The most nakedly aggressive entry on this release arrives in the form of Insurgency's 'Destined For Death', a taster from the recently released Militant Death Cult EP. The combined Lancaster/Glasgow fury that Insurgency bring to the live environment is very much in evidence here, with a brief break in the otherwise relentless tremolo riff/blastbeat combo serving to showcase some sickening distorted bass work. Messrs Shackleton, Baali and McLaren can be proud of their work here.

London veterans Neuronspoiler weigh in with 'Slay The Beast', from their upcoming Second Sight album. This is a strong slab of polished, melodic heavy metal; evidence of a band that have been honing their craft for some time. Second Sight will be an album to look out for.

The compilation closes with 'Freedom Battle', taken from Wytch Hazel's 2016 LP Prelude. To this author's ears Prelude was 2016's finest metal release and 'Freedom Battle' exemplifies what worked so well on that album - lush melodies, a majestic chorus, overall just a simple, memorable song. Colin and co. really worked some magic here.

In summary, this collection presents to the listener a fine cross-section of what's happening in more old school-oriented British heavy metal in 2017. Many of these bands have new releases coming up shortly and are gigging frequently, which makes it an ideal introduction for the curious and dedicated fan alike. Very much worth a buy.

CD and LP versions of the album are available to order via Plastic Head.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Craig Stewart

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Hammer Of Doom XII 2017

The Hammer Of Doom smashes in to Posthalle once more, bringing legends Cirith UngolLucifer's Friend, Warning and Time Lord, amongst others, with it.

For those of us mourning the end of summer, and the departure of the festival season along with it, there is some solace on the way from Würzburg’s 'Hammer Of Doom Festival'.

There won’t be any camping, lakes or beer-soaked sunbathing this time around but the acts on offer more than make up for the lack of extra curricular activities. Somehow we’re sure there will still be plenty of beer involved….

Perhaps one of the biggest draws this year is a headline set from the mighty Cirith Ungol.  Following a massively successful European debut at 'Keep It True' this April, both those who were lucky enough to be there and the unfortunates who missed it will be eagerly anticipating another storming set.

Joining Cirith Ungol as festival headliners are UK’s depressive-doom masters Warning performing the entirety of 2006 full length, Watching From A Distance. The atmosphere that will likely descend over the hall during this masterpiece will surely leave few dry eyes in the room.

With a handful of shows under their belts since 2015, early doom pioneers Lucifer’s Friend will be making the trip to Würzbug. Anyone craving a progressive, keyboard heavy, 70s rock fix will be left satisfied when John Lawton and Co. do their thing.

Just last month another surprise was delivered with the announcement of Time Lord. In 2015 we were shocked by the tragic loss of Terry Jones. As well as being the original voice of Pagan Altar, Terry was a dear friend to so many around him within the community. In honour of Terry’s legacy, former Pagan Altar members Alan Jones, Diccon Harper and Andy Green will be joined by Brendan Radigan and Andres Arango of Magic Circle/Stone Dagger and Cauchemar/Metalian respectively. We are waiting in anticipation of the magic that Time Lord will certainly create in memory of Terry.

The bands taking positions further down the line up are no less impressive with the likes of Count Raven, Procession and, brainchild of Candlemass mastermind Leif Edling, The Doomsday Kingdom filling the ranks.

The Vision Bleak and Naevus, both of Germany are, other than Lucifer’s Friend, the only local offerings on a diverse international line-up with Greece, Italy, USA and Sweden all represented by The Temple, Witchwood, Pilgrim and Below.

This year’s Hammer Of Doom is absolutely not to be missed. We’ll see you all there in four weeks time – the countdown begins now!

Festival information and tickets can be found via the event Facebook page.

After show party details here.

Writer: Louise Dornan

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Yes 50 Tour: Celebrating Fifty Years Of Yes

Yes announces exciting 50th anniversary celebrations and UK tour.

Half a century sounds like a very long time but after all these years, Yes are still going strong. 50 years has seen 19 band members, 21 studio albums and somewhere around 40 tours.

To mark this huge milestone, UK fans will be treated to a 10 date tour in March 2018, YES50. Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood will be performing sides one and four and an excerpt from side 3 of 1973’s Tales From Topographic Oceans as well as plenty of classis Yes hits. With no support act, the show is sure to take an extensive look at the past 50 years of the bands output.

There’s even more going on in world of Yes at the moment. The final weekend of the UK tour at the London Palladium on 24th and 25th March will include a 50th Anniversary fan convention. As if there wasn’t enough to be excited about already, the wonderfully talented Roger Dean who has created so many fantastical landscapes for the bands album artworks will unveil new “Close To The Edge” paintings at the Palladium on March 25th. More details on this special event will be announced soon so super fans should be on the lookout! 

Asked about this 50th Anniversary tour, Steve Howe said, “We want to mark this anniversary with a tour that encompasses some of our best loved work - we want to play things we enjoy, maybe songs we haven’t done in a while.”

Alan White added "Reflecting on the past 46 years that I've devoted my life to playing Yes music, it's been an interesting journey and a true labour of love. I've always believed in the power of music and the band's recent induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and our Grammy awarded in 1985 are testament to the longevity of influence our music has had through the years. I'm extremely grateful to continue to be performing on stages for our dedicated fans and look forward to our 50th Anniversary performing together in 2018. It's been a great ride!!"

UK Tickets available now from Eventim, with more European dates to come soon.  We’ll see you there!

*Tragically, guitarist Steve Howe's son, Viirgil, has recently passed away. All remaining dates of the current 'Yestival' tour have been cancelled. Born Again sends their well wishes and condolences to Steve Howe, family and friends.

Writer: Louise Dornan