Sunday, 25 February 2018

Collectors In Rock: Pt. 2

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 posessions with us. 

Would you like your collection featured on Collectors In Rock?
Just send an email to bornagainheavymetalsoundhouse@gmail.com 


Collector’s Name:
Mario Corbella
Location: 
Milan, Italy


Tell us a bit about yourself and when you started/why you have a passion for collecting:
I've listened to heavy metal since 1986, just after I saw the movie "Trick or Treat" featuring the soundtrack by Fastway (R.I.P. Fast Eddie) and then discovered Motorhead, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Kiss, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Metallica, Iron Maiden, the whole NWOBHM scene that I still love so much. Not to mention the speed/thrash metal movement in its glory days. I also love doom bands like St.Vitus, Pentagram and the '90s great Pete Steele of Type O Negative, Carnivore, Fallout etc.

I have collected heavy metal stuff (both vinyl and tapes) since about 1989, but just trying to find out items by bands I really love. I’m not a completist and I don't like to buy records spending obscene amounts of money just because they're "rare" on collectors’ market. In the last 25 years I have focused my attention on NWOBHM goods, especially 7”s.



First ever vinyl purchase:
Ozzy OsbourneSpeak Of The Devil

Most prized possession: 
Holocaust- Heavy Metal Mania 12” EP acetate promo (in picture sleeve fully signed by original line up from back in the day).

The rarest item you own:
Not sure about that (as people and market tell different stories almost everyday) but I guess it’s a small bunch of coveted NWOBHM 7”s including Stormchild, Lautrec, Stormqueen (red label), Marquis de Sade, Shock Treatment, Demolition, Phyne Thanquz, Sapphire, Tracer, Tyrant, National Gold, Vahalla, Vardis (1st), Virtue, Iron Maiden ‘Strange World’ 10” acetate and more (including those mentioned in “Top 5 list”, see below)

Most featured artist in your collection:
For sure Blitzkrieg! My all time favourite band. I love everything Brian Ross made with all the bands he was involved, but Blitzkrieg’s vibes, rhythm, lyrics (from alien invasions to nordic legends, from Dr Who to Jack The Ripper, from The Prisoner to Alice Coper) and everything sums up what I’ve always loved about HM music...and it’s still inspiring me today!


Favourites (7”s, LPs, Demotapes):

  • Iron Maiden- The Soundhouse Tapes (with insert & signed stuff) 7”ep
  • Def Leppard- The Def Leppard EP (with insert & fully signed ps) 7”ep
  • Hollow Ground -Flying High (fully signed) 7”ep
  • Big Daisy - Fever (fully signed) 7”
  • Fallout - Rock Hard (with inner signed/dedicated to me by Pete) 7”
  • Diamond Head- Lightning to the Nations (fully signed white label 1st issue) LP
  • Saracen - Heroes, Saints and Fools (fully signed 1st issue, white rear) LP
  • Desolation Angels - Desolation Angels (fully signed test pressing) LP
  • Angel Witch Sweet Danger (2 x one-sided 12”) EP
  • Carnivore - World wars III & IV (acetate 12”) EP
  • Satan - Guardian demo MC
  • Paralex - Gettin’ Somewhere MC
  • Jaguar - Stormchild (fully signed) MC
  • Trespass - Through the Ages MC
  • Virtue - Fool’s Gold MC


Priciest Piece:
Original EMI Rec. reel to reel master tapes for the first Iron Maiden album (sent to New Zealand for that country issue in 1980)

Worthless wonder:
Mythra ‘D&D’ EP - Guardian record label printed more than 15,000 copies so you can still find it quite easily and cheap, but that slice of vinyl is class! One of my all time favourite records since the first day I gave it a spin on my record player! Top stuff!

Guilty pleasures:
Not hard rock or heavy metal but... original Motion Picture soundtracks, especially from John Carpenter’s movies (Escape From New York above all)

Favourite place to purchase/trade:
Back in the 90s’ every week hunting took place in record shops and/or fairs, it was magic!…Now only the world wibe web...

Bargain Bin: 
Meanstreak Played It Right 7” with press kit $0,5
Skitzofrenik USA 7” £4

Favourite non-vinyl collectable: 
Demotapes! I’ve always loved that prime era stuff by any band from the 70s’-80s’. It’s somehow fascinating to me and in several cases it not only represented a sort of passport for young bands to try and ‘fly’ to the majors, but also contained all the original stuff written and recorded so far. I still love to dig old tapes by cult underground bands, possibly help in officially reissuing them and resurrect old combos. 




Interviewer: Kayleigh MG

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Collectors In Rock: Pt. 1

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 posessions with us. 

Would you like your collection featured on Collectors In Rock?
Just send an email to bornagainheavymetalsoundhouse@gmail.com 


Collector: Erwin Lucas, Aged 45
Location: Heerenveen, The Netherlands

Tell us about where and how your journey began:
"I am a collector of Iron Maiden and related items. Not only vinyl but almost everything available from the mighty Maiden and everything ever recorded by its members, past and present. I even wrote a book about that called 'Outside Iron Maiden'. Vinyl is magic... the smell of it when you open the sleeve for the first time, the look of that shiny black disc, the sleeve itself, ... The spark came for me when I started collecting Iron Maiden records back in 1986. CD just made it's entrance but wasn't the standard yet. Going to my local recordstore with the pocketmoney I made on my saturday paperround. Boxes filled with LP's and 12"s. Taking hours to find that one record you took home. And ofcourse the sound... so much richer than the digital recordings from nowadays."

First vinyl purchase:
My first vinyl purchase was a 7" by a Dutch band Doe Maar called 'Pa' back in 1983 when I was 11. The song is about a young man who did not become what his father wanted him to become. I liked the sleeve and that band was so popular in the Netherlands around that time, it felt like Beatlemania again. 

Most recent vinyl purchase:
An original 1978 Dutch pressing of Styx- Pieces Of Eight album. There is a secondhand store in my town that sells records and sometimes I find some real gems in there for a bargain.
Most featured artist in your collection:
Iron Maiden
Blaze Bayley
Bruce Dickinson
Wolfsbane
Samson

Most prized possession:

My prized possession is the original Iron Maiden - The Soundhouse Tapes 7" that I personally received from former Iron Maiden drummer Doug Sampson. He handed it to me when he was in the Netherlands with his band Airforce. I have it framed accompanied by a handwritten letter by Doug claiming that this is an original first batch pressing from 1979 which he got from Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood back then, and a photograph of me and Doug where he is giving it to
me.




Top 5 favourites:

(1) Iron Maiden - The Soundhouse Tapes 7"

(2) Iron Maiden - Prowler 7" (Japan)

(3) Speed - Down The Road 7"


(4) Iron Maiden - Virtual XI 2LP signed by Blaze Bayley and Steve Harris

(5) Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden LP (Mexico) signed by Dennis Stratton





Needles in the Haystack (Most Rare):
Of course my copy of The Soundhouse Tapes but also the Iron Maiden picture disc collection they released in 2012. All albums from 1980 until 1988 re-released on limited edition picture disc. The picture discs aren't that rare but I have the black box that holds them all and there are only 200 of those boxes released.

Priciest Piece:
I can't put a price on my Soundhouse Tapes. I've seen them being sold for over £1200 but this particular copy previously owned by Doug Sampson with the letter etc. is priceless.

Worthless Wonders:

(1) The Secret - The Young Ones 7" UK Pressing 1977. You can buy this one for around €10 but is the first recording featuring Iron Maiden guitarist Dave Murray although uncredited.
(2) The same goes for Cockerel Chorus - Nice One Cyril 7" from 1973 which you can buy for less than €1 but this one is the first recording featuring Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain, also uncredited by the way.


Guilty Pleasures:


Halt Mich - Herbert Grönemeyer 7".

Most regular place for trading/purchases:
Mostly on Discogs but also in a few recordstores in my neighbourhood. Sadly now there aren't many record stores left but there are a few good ones near by.

Bargain Bin:
I've got two Italian radio promo's on 7" which I got from Radio Trieste for close to nothing. One has 'Massimo Luca' on the A side and 'Run To The Hills' from Iron Maiden on the B side. The other one has The Coconuts on the A side and 'Flight Of Icarus' by Iron Maiden on the B side. Not worth a fortune but getting them for almost nothing was a real bargain.

Favouite non-vinyl collectable:
A cassette single from The Trooper. Only released in Holland in a 12" package. Only a few left the factory before the management cancelled it. Bought it in the '90s for about 15 Guilders (€7) and saw it sold recently for over €150.





Interviewer: Kayleigh MG

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

SAXON Announce Pt. 2 of Thunderbolt Tour


SAXON aren’t wasting any time in 2018! Following the critically acclaimed release of Battering Ram in 2015, the heavy metal giants have released their 22nd studio album ‘Thunderbolt’ via the Militia Guard label (Silver Lining Music) which reached the Top 30 in the official UK charts this February. Now they have announced Part 2 of the Thunderbolt Tour, with Part 1 selling out, SAXON will bring their iconic live show to more cities across the UK. This time, SAXON will be joined by special guests Y&T and Wayward Sons.

 Biff Byford  “We’re gonna be bringing the tour back into the UK and Europe in the Autumn, playing some classic venues with some classic bands….it’s going to be special – BRING IT ON!”

*NEW* Thunderbolt Tour Dates for 2018
Thursday 18th October- UK, Glasgow Barrowlands
Friday 19th October- UK, London Roundhouse
Saturday 20th October- UK, Portsmouth Guildhall
Sunday 21st October- UK, Manchester Academy


Don't miss out this time! Get your tickets here. 

Monday, 12 February 2018

Live Review: Hammer Of Doom XII @ Posthalle, Wurzburg

With a strong line-up boasting acts such as Lucifer's Friend, Warning, Time Lord and Cirith Ungol, we made our way to Wurzburg for the 12th edition of Hammer Of Doom.



Friday

Greece’s The Temple are a fantastic choice to start things off. It’s straightforward, traditional doom which pays its respects to the godfathers of the genre, some of whom will be on stage later this weekend. Front man Father Alex’s clear and melodic vocals are a real highlight. (LD)

Next up we’re taken in a slightly different direction by Italy’s Witchwood. Armed with the vintage melodies of both the organ and the flute, they bring a distinctly 70s vibe to the stage. It’s an early indication of the amazing amount of diversity on offer at this festival with almost all fringes of the doom scene represented in some form. The band swing easily from heavy riffing and jam‐like guitar solos to flute and organ interludes. There’s a lot going on but they manage to pull it all together creating a beautiful amalgamation of slightly spacey prog and hard hitting rock n roll. (LD)

Witchwood

Witchwood


After a quick beer break, the hall fills up with hundreds of bodies, all waiting in anticipation for Procession to begin. The smoke that has already filled the stage is starting to pour over the front rows as the echoing vocals of ‘The Warning’ call out. With synchronised head banging and a powerful drum sound backing everything up, the band come off as a unified machine of brute force. It’s a Doom Decimation heavy set, allowing most of us to get a first live taste of the newly released record. It stands up to the more well known material and there’s no less of a reaction from the fans who are lapping up every second of the show. ‘To Reap Heavens Apart’ is absolutely crushing, sending people into a frenzy, screaming along to those epic choruses. Despite the slow pace, the end of this set comes around far too fast but at least we’re treated to a long goodbye. The mournful tones of ‘Chants Of The Nameless’ are absolutely hypnotising. The relentlessness of the rhythm section paired with the raw power of the vocals and the beauty of the solo guitar work make for a totally entrancing experience and Procession leave the stage to a whole hall screaming for them almost as loudly as they played for us. (LD)

Procession

Procession
Lucifer’s Friend has been one of the most highly anticipated acts of the weekend. Having only played a handful of European shows since the 80s, there’s plenty of people here who are waiting for their first live experience of the band. Things start off a little spooky with the stage plunged into a dark blue haze but within moments, the groovy duo of Hesslein’s guitar and Wichmann’s keyboards have kicked in. Opening with new recording ‘Pray’, released as a bonus on 2015’s Awakening, seems like a statement that the band are not simply a 70s throwback but a fully alive and functioning outfit.

Over the course of the next twelve songs, they drive that point home repeatedly. John Lawton appears absolutely in his element, the power in his voice coming through on every track from 2016’s ‘Demolition Man’ and 1981’s ‘Fire And Rain’ to the iconic ‘In the Time Of Job…’ and ‘Keep Goin’’ from the bands’ self titled 1970 release. Particularly on this early material, original members Peter Hesslein and Dieter Horns really strut their stuff and are totally in their element. Being most familiar with their ‘70s output, I’m pleasantly surprised by the ‘80s tracks which I haven’t heard before.

There’s so much power coming from everyone on stage, ‘Hey Driver’ sounds huge with Horns and Fellenberg thundering away on bass and drums. All five on stage look like they’re having a fantastic time dancing to the funky sounds of their early material, taking in several of the band’s catalogue; Mind Exploding, Where the Groupies Killed The Blues, I’m Just A Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer and Banquet. John Lawton says it best himself, “We’re just some old people having fun!” The fun is infectious and has spread throughout the entire hall by the time Lucifer’s Friend have to leave us Flying High…. (LD)

Lucifer's Friend

*Born Again- Heavy Metal Soundhouse Highlight: Warning*

There couldn’t be a better band than Warning to finish a long day at a festival like this. It’s a total contrast in atmosphere after Lucifer’s Friend but nevertheless, it fits. Watching From A Distance is, without a doubt, one of the greatest doom releases of all time and it seems clear that this performance is about to do it complete justice. From the first note of the eponymous track, the sound is almost incomprehensibly huge. The wall of sound which Walker, Taylor, Hatfield and Prestige create makes it feel as though we are experiencing this album all around us, filling the entire room, rather than simply listening to it. Walker’s vocals, as well as the rest of the bands performance are perfect. The beautiful agony in his recorded vocal performance loses none of its power and emotion when translated to the stage.

Somehow, it’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and listened to Watching From A Distance, to the point where it’s even become a little unfamiliar but as soon as Warning start their set, it comes flooding back and I find myself, along with so many others, singing along to every word. It feels like the comfort of an old friend. There’s a profound atmosphere in the air as the band make their way through the rest of the album, almost everyone watching seems to be quietly taking everything in, in all its magnificent detail. As the last notes of ‘Echoes’ wind up, I’m sure I’m not the only one who leaves for the day with chills running down my spine. (LD)

Warning


Saturday

It's an early start for Wurzburgs' own Cranial, one of the two acts brought in to round up the festivals line-up and replace Pilgrim. Their prolonged deep and doomy modern post-apocalyptic sounds thunder through the hall, having the effect of either sending revellers into a dizzy spin or violently waking them up with their deafening fuzzy guitar tones. New tracks from their 2017 album Dark Towers/Bright Lights echo against each dark dank surface. (MG)

Bringing back the more traditional sounds of modern doom is Below, flying the flag for the 'epic' kind. Hailing from Sweden, it's clear to see that their vocalist Zeb is inspired by the multi-tonal bellows of King Diamond and Messiah. The somber dual guitars of 'Hours Of Darkness' particularly stand out, as they seamlessly blend into a single wailing guitar solo, showing off that, all so famous, Swedish art of 'perfectionism' as the vocals kick in. (MG)

After a 12 year gap between debut album Sun Meditation and their 2016 release Heavy Burden, Naevus take to the Hammer Of Doom stage with ease, sending out heavy stoner vibes tinged with groovy solos and licks. Despite frontman Uwe Groebels' mellow vocals, he's able to interlock and compete with the powerful instruments behind him, whilst showing off his ability to 'solo' soulfully in the vocal interludes. (MG)

Crippled Black Phoenix take to the stage as a collective of musicians; guitars and keys galore. Headed up by frontman Justin Greaves, it's a slow burning set of songs, with each reaching a deadly psychedelic inducing climax. Flittering breaks of light relief sometimes break through the melancholic layers of melodic doom, as the deep vocals of Greaves are harmonised with equally morose feminine vocals of Helen Stanley. (MG)

Bringing a double dose of horror and gothic is The Vision Bleak; with a name like that, what else can we expect. Maybe something a little different for the festival, but it's sure to be that their strain of 'doom' metal has it's admirers amongst fans of traditional writers of all things macabre, Edgar Alan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. (MG)

It seems fitting that ‘The Doomfather’ himself will be gracing the Hammer Of Doom stage albeit with his new project The Doomsday Kingdom rather than with Candlemass. The early heavy metal styled doom goes down well with Niklas Stålvind’s distinctive vocals giving things an interesting dimension. That Candlemass sound, so familiar to any doom fan, is definitely present but there’s something different added in the tone and style of guitarist Marcus Jidell. As well as a couple of tracks from their self-released 2016 demo, Never Machine, the band manages to showcase half of their self titled release before having to give way to the next of the doom titans in attendance today. (LD)

And now it's time for one of the more familiar bands to grace the Hammer Of Doom stage: Count Raven. The Swedish three-piece seem delighted to be here after seven years away from Germany. As frontman/guitarist Dan Fondelius tells us, “It's good to be back”. There's no nonsense as they pile straight into 'The Poltergeist', giving us something to get stuck into and bang our heads to. Much of the setlist consists of their third album High On Infinity and their latest full length output Mammons War, with the exception of 'Wolfmoon' and a brand new track, 'The Nephilims'. As a band that formed in the late 80s, they have garnered a well deserved following for themselves, which is very much evident tonight. (MG)

Count Raven

Count Raven

*Born Again- Heavy Metal Soundhouse Highligh: Time Lord*

It's the penultimate band of the festival, one we've been waiting for all night. Having heard that Alan Jones would be resurrecting Pagan Altar under the guise of Time Lord, a wave of excitement had swept across the group's loyal fans, leading to the feverish anticipation we are experiencing this evening.

Following the tragic death of Pagan Altar frontman Terry Jones in 2015, it had been respectfully understood that the chapter was now closed for the group in terms of live performances. After all, how on earth could they continue without the charismatic Terry Jones, whose unique voice in many ways came to define Pagan Altar?

Two years later, Terry's son and band mate Alan Jones set out to complete what he and his father had started on, the album The Room Of Shadows, which was subsequently release in August 2017 with the help of former drummer Andy Green and former bassist Diccon Harper. The critically acclaimed album stands as a fitting testimony to the talent and vision of Terry Jones.

A live line-up was completed with vocalist Brendan Radigan (Magic Circle) and second guitarist Andres Arango (Cauchemar) ready to bring Time Lord to life.

You can feel the suspense in the air as the stage is set up awaiting the band's arrival. The lights dim and the familiar hymn from title track 'Pagan Altar' plays out, entrancing the crowd with its hypnotic, mystic vibes. Andy Green counts us in and guitar maestro Alan Jones embarks on an intricate signature solo; his distinctive style holds our attention emphatically. It's a bittersweet emotion that sets in as I wait for Brendan Radigan to deliver the first lines: “Dawning of a brand new day, Lighting up the way, With something new to say, From beyond the stars”. It has to be said that he's a singer in a league of his own, with a powerful set of lungs delivering the lyrics immaculately. He doesn't try to emulate Terry; rather, he takes on the role and makes it his own, giving the songs the respect they deserve. It was never going to be the same as when I'd seen Pagan Altar many times in the past with Terry, but it's as good as it can possibly be.

Radigan uses the time in between songs to introduce the songs to us, we get everything from 'Black Mass' (Judgement Of The Dead) to 'Cry Of The Banshee' (Mythical & Magical), showing off the exemplary back catalogue of material. They are remarkably tight for a band who have played only once before with this line-up, and the musicianship is of a uniformly high standard. It is wonderful to see Alan Jones smiling on stage as the crowd chants and whoops with joy as each song ends, waiting to hear more mastery.

Halfway through the set, 'Dance Of The Vampires' (from the latest album The Room Of Shadows) is played to an enthusiastic response. We can only hope that in the future more tracks from this masterpiece will be played live. This is followed by more from Judgement Of The Dead, Lords Of Hypocrisy and Mythical & Magical, including 'Daemoni Na Noiche' ('Demons Of The Night') which gives way to a stunning set of solos from Alan at the end. Time Lord end the set with the mighty 'March Of The Dead' and 'The Witches Pathway', leaving us still craving more. It always felt like a privilege being able to watch Pagan Altar live, and I would now attest to a similar feeling, having just seen Time Lord.  (MG)

Time Lord
A third festival appearance in Germany, and the hype is definitely not dying down for California's Cirith Ungol. Here at Born Again we had already witnessed their first show in Europe at the esteemed Keep It True festival back in April, so we know how good this is going to be.

To keep fans on their toes, there has already been the promise of a two hour long set (which is to be filmed live for CD/DVD release), but also King Of The Dead, the bands second album is to be played in its entirety. This is sweet music to the ears of any Cirith Ungol fan, so it's no surprise that Posthalle is at full capacity. One only has to look around at the number of Cirith shirts on display to know that they're a prominent factor in the impressive turnout.

The band take their places in between a pair of kneeling skeleton figures to rowdy cheers, and through the smoke filled blue haze the first notes of 'I'm Alive' blare out; I feel goosebumps hearing just hearing the intro to this incredibly heavy tune. Tim Baker, an imposing figure, remains calm and collected on stage as the crowd in front of him go mental. His chilling shriek is sharp enough to cut through glass - you either love it or loathe it, but it's very much an essential element of the Cirith cocktail. His vocals have retained their clarity and power throughout the years.

Guitarists Greg Lindstrom and Jim Barraza churn out the riffs and solos against the thunderous drumming of Robert Garven as they power through their discography. Night Demon's Jarvis Leatherby is most definitely at home with this trailblazing band, striking out powerful bass grooves to tracks from Frost And Fire, King Of The Dead, One Foot In Hell and Paradise Lost.

This is very much a retrospective of their career, and each album cover is projected at the back of the stage as tracks from each album is played. With J.S. Bach's 'Toccata In D Minor', a fitting tribute is made towards previous guitarist Jerry Fogle, who sadly died in 1998, and images of him are proudly shown on the screen behind the band. They cap off the set with a vigorous rendition of King Of The Dead's 'Death Of The Sun'. Cirith Ungol are very much 'Alive'.  (MG)



All reviews by Louise Dornan & Michelle G
Photography: Michelle G