Tag: metal

Live review: DragonForce

DragonForce / Lovebites / McRocklin & Hutch November 13th 2019 The Roadmender, Northampton Metalheads over a certain age will remember guitarist Thomas “McRocklin” McLaughlin as the child prodigy who made…

DragonForce / Lovebites / McRocklin & Hutch
November 13th 2019
The Roadmender, Northampton

Metalheads over a certain age will remember guitarist Thomas “McRocklin” McLaughlin as the child prodigy who made numerous TV appearances back in the 1980s when he was a young pup barely in double figures. I’m pleased to report that time has aged his skills like a fine malt whiskey, and tonight he appears as half of duo McRocklin & Hutch. They’re an interesting tension of opposites that fuse a love of 80s rock to 21st century technology, and in welding organic guitars to surgical synths they’ve created a new genre termed ‘shredwave’. With an inherent groove ‘Wasted’ adheres this pair to the crowd, and the following ‘Locked In’ only increases the affection. Sometimes I find guitar virtuosity can be sterile when it’s practitioners become lost in intricate webs, but no fear with McRocklin & Hutch, who combine to create a sound that’s both ethereal and emotive. ‘Don’t Need Nobody’ ensures they bow out on a high.

Dressed all in white and arriving like avenging angels Japan’s Lovebites are all smiles and opening salvo ‘The Hammer of Wrath’ finds them getting off to a blistering start. Without pausing for breath ‘Pledge of the Saviour’ is unleashed along with ‘Rising’ which is the perfect vehicle for Asami’s operatic vocals. Those only familiar with Japan’s vapid idol scene might be surprised at Lovebites musical proficiency, but these five women can really play and in truth they rock harder than most guys. ‘Above the Black Sea’ features some fine interplay between guitarists Midori and Mi-ya and, with a bass player much in the Steve Harris mould, the band proceed to deliver a foot-on-the-monitor, fist-in-the-air metal fest. New track debuted ‘Signs of Deliverance’ bodes well for the forthcoming album Electric Pentagram, and the following ‘Under the Red Sky’ flies like a stealth bomber. With songs like set closer ‘We Are United’ in their arsenal I’m sure we’ve witnessed future headliners.

An unbearably long intro, coupled with the black sheets hiding the set, builds a palpable tension that stretches many present to breaking point. It’s broken when DragonForce hit the stage amid a shower of ticker tape and jets of pyro that shoot ice white plumes of smoke to the rafters. Opening with ‘Highway to Oblivion’ it’s immediately obvious this isn’t going to be an ordinary rock concert as vocalist Marc Hudson fires a faux flame thrower at the audience. Two oversized retro arcade games flank the stage and there’s a real ‘80s feel to the set as the band are encased in a cornucopia of neon pink and bright blue strobe lights. It’s nice that DragonForce make an effort with their stagecraft but their songs would hold up without all the smoke and mirrors as ‘Fury of the Storm’ attests. ‘The Last Dragonborn’ follows, with it’s East Asian flourishes, along with the insanely catchy ‘Heart Demolition’. What comes next is an instrumental section, as Marc swaps mic for guitar to play some gaming themes – and the six stringers from Lovebites return along with a banjo toting hillbilly for a fun-filled, if rather surreal, interlude.

It’s back to the rock action with a ferocious rendition of ‘Black Fire’ as the band show no signs of flagging. ‘Razorblade Meltdown’ is accompanied by more phosphorous flares and then more ticker tape showers the crowd during ‘Cry Thunder’. DragonForce titled their latest opus Extreme Power Metal for good reason: like Iron Maiden or Helloween, only played at 78rpm, their songs are amped up slabs of metal yet they retain a strong sense of melody. However the band are far from one trick ponies as the obligatory power ballad, ‘Remembrance Day’, proves. It’s been a night for fans of guitars which each band displaying technical skill and, not to be outdone, Herman Li and Sam Totman trade solos and shred ferociously on fan favourite ‘Valley of the Damned’. The band return for two well deserved encores, including an amphetamine run through of Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ which initiates a huge circle pit. ‘Through the Fire & the Flames’ is attended by more ticker tape and pyrotechnic flares and when the party streamers fly it seems a fitting way to bring down the curtain.

Words by Peter Dennis. Pictures by Peter Dennis and Ben Gregory-Ring

 

 

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Album review; Ashborn

ASHBORN Awakening [self-released] A band of four Polish émigrés now residing in Northampton, Ashborn have achieved much in their two year history. Highlights include winning Metal 2 The Masses which…

ASHBORN
Awakening [self-released]

A band of four Polish émigrés now residing in Northampton, Ashborn have achieved much in their two year history. Highlights include winning Metal 2 The Masses which culminated in an appearance at 2018s Blooodstock Open Air, and performing at Northampton’s own HopFest. What they’ve achieved in under 24 months shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider that band members have appeared in metal heavyweights Ghost, Grin and also DieRevers. It’s a pedigree Ashborn have brought to their debut album and ensures that Awakening is a full-on, no holds barred, metal assault.

Opening with ‘Mute’, an almost ambient piano introduction that’s textured with shades of Bach and Mozart, it’s an instrumental of ethereal beauty, poetry without words, that lulls the listener into a false sense of security. In an intelligent use of light and shade ‘Mute’ contrasts with the next track ‘Monsters’ that tumbles over the listener like a landslide. Ashborn race out the blocks with pedal pressed firmly to the metal, as drummer Marcin K fires his drums with piston-like precision and vocalist Marcin D delivers his words with a mixture of the clean and guttural. A riff-heavy affair ‘Monsters’ is akin to a five minute musical pummelling, with little respite. Again the use of sonic dynamics is put to good use on ‘Crushed Ant’, a track which bassist Peter bookends with two solos which makes the contuse music sandwiched between even more weighty. It’s a punchy song that’s given a modern hardcore feel by the lack of guitar noodling.

To record Awakening the band spent two weeks holed up at Initiate Audio and Media with Neil Hudson at the helm, and his expansive production finds the band attacking the listener from all angles. On ‘If The Walls Could Speak’ the guitars fire from different speakers creating the feeling of being under fire. Like Pantera at their most brutal it’s a song that seems to breathe as the guitar ululates in a groove metal way. The aptly titled ‘Light That Creates Darkness’ was the albums lead single. Lyrically it details the subject of nuclear Armageddon, and it’s a theme that’s mirrored in the music as the riffs erupt like mushroom clouds then fan out like radiation – the soundtrack to global apocalypse.

The album is kept interesting by tempo changes which pepper the record and also by changes of pace, most notably on the mean and moody ‘Awakening From The Death’. Like an anchor tied to a drowning man it swirls around a whirlpool while the song is punctuated with haunting interludes. The artillery barrage ‘This Is Slowly Killing Us’ picks up the pace again, and shells the listener for five minutes and with an air guitar inciting solo curtailing the song it’s all very whiplash inducing. This warlike theme continues on closer ‘We Are Going To Die’. A musical maelstrom in which drums fire relentlessly, guitars squeal as if shocked by electricity and tortured vocals float atop. It fairly races along and musically captures that brief moment in time just before a head-on car crash when there’s no chance of aversion.

Two bonus tracks appear on the end of the album and in truth they wouldn’t be out of place if they were shoehorned in anywhere on Awakening. Both of these songs appeared on the bands Demo CD with ‘Every Word’ being a more measured affair and has a metalcore feel very much in the vein of Hatebreed and Merauder. With Mietek’s guitar ringing like sirens ‘When Darkness Comes’ brings the disc to a suitably cataclysmic conclusion.

As a genre metal is much maligned and often overlooked. However along with Krysthla’s Worldwide Negative Ashborn’s debut album proves the subculture is alive and kicking and in Awakening [alongside Worldwide Negative] I’d argue they’ve not only produced one of this year’s best metal records unleashed in ShoeTown but one of the county’s best albums released this year regardless of category.

Peter Dennis

Awakening is out this Friday. Order here

Cover photo by Artur Tarczewski

 

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Live review: Stormbringer

STORMBRINGER The Roadmender, Northampton September 6th Opening an evening of metal at the Roadmender are Broken Empire. Bringing a groove-laden sound and delivering it with punk aggression this four-piece from…

STORMBRINGER
The Roadmender, Northampton
September 6th

Opening an evening of metal at the Roadmender are Broken Empire. Bringing a groove-laden sound and delivering it with punk aggression this four-piece from Oxfordshire/Northants are a bundle of finely-honed energy. Displaying little in the way of nerves they deliver original tunes like ‘Parasite’ which are both heavy and emotive. Lyrically astute, their first single ‘No More Lies’ follows and is peppered with neat time changes that remind me of ’90s era Metallica. A twin-guitar attack creates a huge sound as set closer [and forthcoming single] ‘Time Running Out’ is a real earworm, and brings things to a suitably climatic crescendo.

Hitting the stage like a gang of whirling dervishes Parallax haven’t come to take prisoners and by second track, ‘End’, their enthusiasm has infected the whole venue. Some powerhouse drumming creates an earth-shaking sound that’s underpinned by some fine finger-tapping on the bass, while the vocals mirror the rhythm and alternate between hardcore growls and something almost soulful. The guitars fire in unison to create an artillery barrage as ‘Losing Control’ and ‘Hero’ are unleashed in quick succession. It’s great to see a band enjoying themselves, but the in between song banter could be toned down so their stage presence matches the ferocity of their sound.

Local band Still Remains appear as a blur of Flying V’s and throwing shapes. It’s no surprise the band cite Metallica, Saxon and Thin Lizzy as influences because their sound perfectly captures that moment in time when the NWOBHM was morphing into speed metal. Originally formed in 1993 as a reaction to grunge their unique take on trad metal has been immovable and seen off various fads and trends. With no pomposity Still Remains are simply four guys on stage, having a ball and living out their fantasies as guitarist Andy Green delivers blistering solo after blistering solo and his vocals have that earthy touch of Paul Di’anno. The whole band lock in well together as the set ebbs and flows smoothly with the songs paired by tempo. ‘What I Am’ broods with a moody riff, while the ferocious set closer, ‘Redeemer’, ensures they leave as they arrived: in a blaze of sonic fury.

Tonight’s headliners Stormbringer have a sound that’s built for the biggest stages, and they’ve taken the right route by paying their dues in clubs and bars. While the Roadmender has become their spiritual home you have the feeling they will soon outgrow the venue. Since I last saw Stormbringer they have shuffled personnel with Darren Caven-Quantrill coming in on guitar and original vocalist Mike Stockley returning after a hiatus. Fans shouldn’t worry as it’s the same Stormbringer, only more groove-orientated and with a more expansive sound. Appropriately they open with their very first single ‘Grinder’, and it’s like Mike has never been away. Slotting right back in the band he immediately commandeers centre stage, constantly punching the air and standing astride the barriers. He’s one of those rare frontmen who can make the whole venue feel involved and, despite the line up changes, the band hit the ground running, like a well-oiled machine they’re firing on all cylinders as ‘Bleed For’ and ‘Save Me’ are discharged in quick succession. It’s a career spanning set which pulls tracks from their three albums while the new song debuted, the moody ‘Mirage’, stomps like a giant and has that huge feeling that Metallica captured on their Black Album. ‘Stick to Your Guns’ follows along with ‘Bad Blood’ as drummer John Paul Quantrill provides a thunderous soundtrack to which bassist Darren McCullagh prowls like a caged animal. Two from their debut album MMVIII follow in the shape of ‘Mark Anthony’ and ‘Gazing at the Grave’, both of which provide plenty of foot-on-the-monitor, fist-in-the-air metal action before guitarist Dom Wallace lays an explosive solo over the anthemic ‘Smother’. Still driven by an insatiable hunger the band look visibly exhausted as they near the sets conclusion; yet they drain the tank to deliver an explosive closer in the shape of ‘Dying Breed’.

Peter Dennis.

Photos by David Jackson

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New Music Friday: We Are Giants

Northampton trio We Are Giants, with the huge sound and quirky style, keep coming up with the goods. Following last years well-received debut album The Empire they are back with…

Northampton trio We Are Giants, with the huge sound and quirky style, keep coming up with the goods. Following last years well-received debut album The Empire they are back with new single ‘Respond’. Time to ch-ch-chat…

How did you guys get together?
We first started in mid-2015, originally connecting through adverts on joinmyband.com. Our first gig was on NYE of that year. We started off as a four-piece playing softer rock and practising in Griffs lounge, but soon found our heavier sound and transitioned into a trio. Alex came on board as a WAGlad [and drummer] last summer. We play together as good friends and because of our passion for writing and playing original rock music.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
This is the question that usually throws people off! Our sound is heavy modern rock but with gritty vocals rather than any screaming. That being said….Griff can sing quite beautifully as well. Our influences range from Alexisonfire, old-school Biffy Clyro, Don Broco and Press to Meco and we certainly think that you can hear a little bit of each of those bands in our tunes.

What was the reaction like to The Empire?
Lee’s Nan loved the artwork but not so much the music. Being serious, it’s tough being a small unsigned originals rock band, and unless you’re pumping money into pushing your stuff it’s difficult to get heard. That’s why it’s always fantastic when people grab a CD from us at gigs or stumbling across us on the streaming platforms. BBC Introducing has also played some tracks off of The Empire, which is cool! We’re proud of the songs that we’ve created and recorded together, and if nothing comes from it then at least we’ve had some good times doing it all and have something for our grandkids to listen to [and hate].

Tell us about this new song, ‘Respond’.
‘Respond’ was written by all three of us pretty much as soon as Alex came on board. Griff came up with the riff at 1am when we were all pissed, and we never looked back. We recorded the song at the WAG studio and had a great time adding all of the layers….especially the ukulele in the breakdown! When it was time to release the song, we thought about ideas for a music video and being the lazy bastards we are, we decided to stand in front of a green screen and shoot a one take dancing video…..but it turned out great! It seems that when we run out of ideas we always turn to the comedy, crazy costumes, green screen video approach. We probably did the main video in one take but also created five or six bonus clips that we released before the launch and those probably took the most time because we were laughing so much! Recording and shooting videos is the most fun part of being in a band for us because we get to have a laugh and record whatever idea pops into our heads.

What are your live shows like?
We like to have fun and bring energy to the stage, it’s usually a weekend so why would we want to be all serious and moody? Crowd wise, it’s always hit or miss. We’ve played some absolutely insane gigs, and also played to practically no one on many occasions. Our proudest moment has to be when we were runners up in MK11’s battle of the bands competition, but we won the best bassist and guitarist award. We also got a cool support slot for a CJ Ramone gig from that show.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
We’ve had the opportunity to play with 100s of bands in 10s of venues in our brief history. We’ve made great friends playing shows in Northants and always enjoy playing at The King Billy, The Roadmender and the cool pubs in Daventry. These days there are a lot of gigs where the majority of the crowd is the bands that are on the line-up, so it’s important to drop the egos, have a beer and enjoy each other’s show.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Shooting the music video for our next single…coming out soon! The video was soooo much fun to film and we hope that comes across on camera. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more details soon on that.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Lee – Biffy Clyro Balance Not Symmetry
Alex – Press To Meco Here’s To The Fatigue
Griff – Acoda Truth Seeker

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We have a new single coming out soon with an awesome video to match. We think that this is possibly our best work to date so we’re excited to release it! After that we’re just going to focus on having a good time being in a band: whether that’s working on new tracks, jamming or recording and shooting video content. We’re not ruling out the odd live show but we live busy lives and the rewards for the time, effort and money that you put into playing shows is slim, but that’s cool….we have a laugh together and do what we want, when we want.

Respond is out now

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Album review: Krysthla

KRYSTHLA Worldwide Negative [PHD] Formed in 2013 Wellingborough’s Krysthla have been carving out their own niche in the realm of extreme metal. Their first album A War of Souls dropped…

KRYSTHLA
Worldwide Negative [PHD]

Formed in 2013 Wellingborough’s Krysthla have been carving out their own niche in the realm of extreme metal. Their first album A War of Souls dropped in 2015 and was followed in 2017 by the critically acclaimed Peace in Our Time. Their third full length Worldwide Negative comes hot on the heels of a triumphant main stage appearance at this years Bloodstock Open Air festival, and this record is the sound of a band confidently reaching maturity and standing on the verge of world domination.

By way of an introduction opening salvo ‘Negative’ is the perfect calling card. Beginning with a brief, cascading guitar motif that gently reels in the listener, it creates a moment of serenity that means when Krysthla arrive as a band they hit with the force of a hurricane: a blast beat that’s overlaid with a tortured scream breaks the still, and heralds a musical maelstrom. The guitar motif recurs throughout as Liam Turland’s powerhouse drumming dictates the pace and gives proceedings a groove metal feel as the group constantly shift gears and effortlessly switch tempos. The incendury ‘Negative’ would make a great set opener for Krysthla’s live show, and it seems destined to ignite mosh pits wherever they play. Next track ‘Reawaken’ is bookended between two punishing riffs, and the mid section evidences an intelligent use of light and shade as clean vocals juxtapose the more guttural – while the intricate guitar lines highlight the hammer blow riffs.

‘Grief is New Love’ has a real industrial, surgical feel, kinda like Fear Factory on amphetamine, the drums fire like pistons while the guitars capture the cold, brittle atmospherics of black metal. Next cut, and lead single, ‘Zero Sum Game’ continues in a similar vein, relentless without being repetitious. Krysthla have a modus operandi similar to Killing Joke, but whereas the Joke use the same riff as a battering ram Krysthla have more in their arsenal and attack your senses from different angles. Guitarist Neil Hudson also produced Worldwide Negative and his wizardry unobtrusively brings different instrumentation to the fore at various junctures, and subtly repositions the listeners perspective. Despite the band drawing on different strands of extreme metal this album has a unified feel. That’s partly due to the production, but primarily it’s the introspective lyrics that deal with alienation and the impact of our actions on ourselves and the planet. Linking all the songs thematically gives Worldwide Negative the feel of a concept album, and ensures it hangs together as a cohesive whole.

‘White Castles’ is like facing an artillery barrage as vocalist Adi Mayes tackles his lyrics with hardcore fury and sings with indignation. However the band aren’t all about pure bludgeon, as some nice guitar work provides brief respite; the band lulling us into a false sense of security before we’re attacked sonically once more. On ‘Psalm of Heartlessness’ the band have created a song that simply sounds huge and towers over the listener – threatening with a monolithic enormity. Penultimate track ‘Aurea Mediocritas’ swirls in a musical tempest with sinister guitar flourishes that suggests we’ve arrived at a dystopian future. Befitting of an album closer ‘The Gift’ is truly epic and neatly pulls all the bands influences together. It begins by thrashing like Metallica’s ‘Battery’, before undergoing a transmogrification and then sinking like Immortal’s ‘Beyond the North Waves’ which ensures the album ends of a rather ominous tone.

Artists often speak of the ‘difficult third album’ but obviously Krysthla haven’t had that problem. By refining their sound and playing to their strengths they’ve produced an album in Worldwide Negative that could propel them into metals top tier.

Peter Dennis

Worldwide Negative is out on Friday. Pre-order here

Feature Photo credit: Amplified Gig Photography

 
 
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New Music Friday: Ashborn

Northampton metallers Ashborn – Marcin D on vocals, Mietek on guitar, Peter on bass, and Marcin K on drums – are preparing for the release of their debut album Awakening….

Northampton metallers Ashborn – Marcin D on vocals, Mietek on guitar, Peter on bass, and Marcin K on drums – are preparing for the release of their debut album Awakening. New Herculean single ‘Light That Creates Darkness’ precedes it. Following their recent well-received HOP Fest appearance, New Boots spoke to Marcin D to get the lowdown.

How/when did you guys get together?
We have been together since December 2017. We met before playing some gigs together in previous bands. 

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in music?
We are trying not to copy anyone, but obviously we will sound similar to some bands. I don’t really want to mention any bands. I will leave it to listeners. 

What was the reaction like to your demo EP from last year?
The reaction was really really good. We did get lots of messages and comments from people saying that they like our music. It was similar to our Metal 2 The Masses win from last year. Not many people knew us then. We played, I think, two gigs before entering the competition. It was kind of surprise for some people.

Tell us about this new single, ‘Light That Creates Darkness’.
First thing that is really unusual for us is the fact that the lyric to this song has been written by our drummer Marcin [Ozzy], not myself. He did really good job. In a few words, the song is about nuclear weapons. Not really about political side of the attack, but more about consequences. How much it can destroy and how much pain it can bring.

What are your live shows like for those that haven’t seen you?
We have a lot of energy! We’re a never ending head-bang! We do love playing gigs and I think people on front of stage can feel that. Northamptonshire is very strong in metal music, and we are so proud to be part of it. 

What can you tell us about the debut album?
We did the best what we could. The songs are going to be a bit different from each other, so people shouldn’t get bored while listen to it. It’s going to be heavy! Probably one of the best albums of 2019, hehe, 

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Winning Metal 2 The Masses and playing Bloodstock Open Air! But we are enjoying pretty much every moment of being in this band.

Who are you currently listening to?
I’ve been listening to [American death metallers] Deicide quite a lot recently. I do listen to lots of different music and bands. 

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future?
We are trying to get better and better so we can play bigger shows. Also we will try to get to the bigger festivals as well. Promoting our album as much as possible.

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Album review: Empyre

EMPYRE Self Aware [self-released] The opening track ‘My Bad’ sets out the template for the debut by this Northampton quartet and their wrought, minor-chord melodrama of a debut album. Solid…

EMPYRE
Self Aware [self-released]

The opening track ‘My Bad’ sets out the template for the debut by this Northampton quartet and their wrought, minor-chord melodrama of a debut album. Solid and thick rhythms; crunchy blues-metal riffs, intense-yet-introspective lyrics sung by front-man Henrik Steenholdt. Self Aware is not something that’s ever going to wash over you in the background.

Taking their cues from the likes of Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots, with occasional forays into Muse-like bombast, Self Aware is a thrilling and atmospheric ride to be on. Recent single New ‘Republic’ is the first heads-down rocker to come along, cruising confidently on those Soundgarden-style verses and Metallica vocal workouts. 

A band that’s no stranger to accomplished and almost progressive songwriting ideas, they aren’t afraid to be bold when they need to, as ‘Just A Ride’ with it’s gentle feedback passages, ably demonstrates. But then ‘Too Close’ shows they are able to be just as melodic as any classic band you care to name. Steenholdt’s wail on the latter is something to truly behold too, holding long notes with aplomb.  

‘Drive’ perhaps sees them coming too close to aping their heroes, not offering the originality that’s clearly evident elsewhere on the album.  It’s the mid album dip I guess; same applies to ‘Only Way Out’. ‘Cut To The Core’ though has a touch of the pop-punk in its rhythm, and it suits them well. The previous single, the catchy and hard-hitting ‘Too Little Too Late’, is the one to ease yourself into their world; the drums cut hard, as do the lyrics. By the time the finale, the atmospheric and epic grunge workout ‘Homegrown’, finishes you do feel emotionally exhausted, but in the best way possible.

A hard-working band, the general buzz around Empyre is there for good reason. They come alive in the gig environment, and they’ve done a great job of getting that energy in the studio across these eleven tracks, whilst still adding enough texture to warrant repeat plays. If you like your hard rock with some proggy bites then Self Aware really should be happy nestling in your collection very soon.

Phil Moore

Self Aware is out now

 

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New Music Friday: Krysthla

Emerging in 2012 from the ashes of Gutworm, Krysthla bring you intense heavy metal, emanating from the Wellingborough area. They released their debut full length album, A War Of Souls…

Emerging in 2012 from the ashes of Gutworm, Krysthla bring you intense heavy metal, emanating from the Wellingborough area. They released their debut full length album, A War Of Souls And Desires, in September 2015, and speedily following it up in 2017 with Peace In Our Time. Krysthla’s powerhouse delivery is brought by Adi Mayes [vocals], Neil Hudson [guitars], Carl Davis [bass], Noel Davis [guitars], and Wayne Minney [drums]. On the verge of album number three coming out New Boots shares the new video for single ‘Zero Sum Game’, and spoke to bassist Carl for more juice.

How would you describe your sound, and how has it evolved over the three album cycle?
It’s basically the groovy end of extreme metal. The sound has evolved over the albums and we’ve introduced more melody, texture and layers as we’ve progressed.

What was the reaction like to the last album from 2017, ‘Peace In Our Time’? You seem to have gotten great press and radio support.
The reaction was amazing. To be sat at number two in the Amazon rock and metal charts was pretty mind blowing. We received some great reviews, and the support from the industry and the fans has been great all along.

Tell us about this new single, ‘Zero Sum Game’. Who directed the video?
‘Zero Sum Game’ is about life, death and everything in the middle. The constant pursuit of a way of life that ultimately doesn’t fulfil yourself, either emotionally or spiritually. The video was directed by Josh Gurner from Hacktivist. He did a great job.

What can we expect from album number three, Worldwide Negative?
It’s another progression and it’s a darker album than the first two. There’s a lot of personal elements and it’s probably more relatable to the average person. It’s going to be heavy. Very heavy.

You are a strong part of the music scene in Northamptonshire. Any favourite bands/venues/people you wanna give a shout out to?
The Northampton scene is very strong at the moment and there’s loads of great bands. From Eden to Exile are one of our favourites.

Looking forward to Bloodstock 2019? Have you played before? What other festivals do you love to play?
Yes we played with Gutworm back in 2004 and Adi played with Deadeye in 2005. We played it with Krysthla in 2016. It’s an amazing festival and we can’t wait to hit up the main stage. We are also playing HRH Metal in February [in Birmingham].

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Adi and I both bought the new Wildhearts album. It’s a great straight up rock record. The latest Vola album Applause Of A Distant Crowd is awesome too.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future after the album is out? What plans do you have?
We’d still love to play Donnington as that’s a box we’ve not ticked as yet. The plan is to spread our wings and hit as many cities as possible. There’s plenty of countries that we are still to cover so we’ll be back on the road in support of the release that’s for sure.

Zero Sun Game’ is out now via the usual digital/streaming platforms. Worldwide Negative is out August 16th

Krysthla live this summer:

13th July – WOLVERHAMPTON, The Giffard Arms
20th July – AMPLIFIED FESTIVAL, Eastington
10th Aug – BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR (Mainstage), Catton
25th Aug – NOTTINGHAM, Ye Olde Salutation Inn
27th Sept – GLASGOW, Nice N’ Sleazy
28th Sept – DUNDEE, Hordes X
29th Sept – INVERNESS, The Market Bar

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Album review: Siderian

SIDERIAN Origins [self-released] After a lengthy hiatus [time spent writing this album], Northampton’s premier thrashers Siderian return with their eponymous debut album, and it was certainly worth the wait. Recorded…

SIDERIAN
Origins [self-released]

After a lengthy hiatus [time spent writing this album], Northampton’s premier thrashers Siderian return with their eponymous debut album, and it was certainly worth the wait. Recorded at Initiate Audio and Media Studios with renowned producer Neil Hudson at the helm Siderian have created a ferocious album that seems certain to catapult them into the consciousness of every self-respecting metalhead.

Wasting little time on pleasantries opening salvo ‘Geneva’ arrives like an irradiated warhead and proceeds to pummel the listener for four frenetic minutes. As a calling card it’s the perfect introduction to Siderian, and contains all the bands essential ingredients: from the neat time changes to the blistering guitar solos to the groove metal bludgeon, which are all wrapped up in a musical maelstrom that threatens to sweep the listener away. That groove feel is most evident on next cut ‘With the Tide’. Taking their foot off the pedal ever so slightly, it finds guitarists James Upton and James Evans firing off each other atop some amazing drumming and it’s a track that’s sure to ignite mosh pits.

With scything guitars ‘The Supplicant’ pushes thrash to the extremities and while some of that genre can be a bit goofy (think Anthrax or Gama Bomb) Siderian are operating at the darker end of the spectrum. In ‘The Supplicant’ they’ve created the soundtrack to a global apocalypse which evokes blood red and flame yellow hues. The centrepiece of the album, ‘Voices’ contains an ambient mid-section, and it’s an impressive employment of light and shade. The acoustic flourishes act as a foil meaning when the riff comes crashing in it crashes in hard and it’s further evidence of the band maturing. It’s taken almost three years since the bands inception to arrive at this album, but the timing is perfect as I doubt they would have made such a brave decision earlier in their career.

One of two tracks re-recorded for Origins, ‘Lizard Method Madness’ was the bands first single and the brutal new bridge developed on this version shows the band honing their writing skills. It’s here that the rhythm section [bassist Chris Cox and drummer John Booth] come into their own in providing a solid foundation for Dave Pope’s vocals. Ranging from guttural growls to black metal shrieks Dave weaves his vocal lines around the instrumentation which gives a nice rich texture to proceedings. Album closer ‘Oleum’ doesn’t let up the intensity, with each drum beat delivered like a well aimed punch and ensures things end as frantically as they began.

Although you can dip in and out of Origins it’s also the kind of record that’ll reward a complete listen. The intensity and aggression displayed throughout ensure it hangs together as a cohesive whole while the clear production, by putting all the instruments on an even keel, provides a unified listening experience. Armed with this excellent debut and some big gigs penned in [including dates with thrash heavyweights Vader] 2019 could prove to be Siderian’s year.

Peter Dennis

Origins is out this Friday, order here

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New Music Friday: Stereo Skull

Stereo Skull, the four-piece prog metal band from Wellingborough [via Latvia], have concocted something special with new single ‘Play God’, not to mention the accompanying video. Inspired by the likes…

Stereo Skull, the four-piece prog metal band from Wellingborough [via Latvia], have concocted something special with new single ‘Play God’, not to mention the accompanying video. Inspired by the likes of Fear Factory, Lamb Of God, Coal Chamber, Mudvayne, and American Head Charge, the band consists of Arthur Sambars [vocals, guitars, programming], Aivars Sambars [guitars, programming], Carlos Fandango [vocals] and Mat Williams [bass]. New Boots had to find out more, so spoke to Arthur. 

How  did you guys get together?
The founding members, myself and Aivars my brother, have been into music since childhood. We arrived in the UK in early 2009 and four years later met Ethan [ex Decadent, Still Remains UK, Motorpace, Black Rose Society]. Another two years later we met Carlos who took some time off vocal duties after departure from Black Ink Sun, then another year passed and we met Mat who just left disbanded Black Ink Sun. The drummer left last summer and after an active search, we’re still auditioning people. Our love for heavy music, being in front of the audience, getting better and bigger are the main reasons for what we do. 

How would you describe your sound? 
The musical background for each band member is different. Everyone adds something to it. The end result is the mixture of industrial, death, and progressive metal.

What was the reaction like from the public to the ‘Madness’ EP from last year? 
Our friends and followers were excited and supportive. We streamed a live Facebook video from the studio the day we released it, and it had whoppi ng thousand views during the stream. Everyone could watch us at home from their mobile devices anywhere around the globe. The EP is entirely self released, it’s available on all streaming platforms, but we’re putting together the physical copy as well, it’s going to be a nice surprise for our fans. Can’t reveal too much at the moment. 

Tell us everything about this new release, ‘Play God’.
There was this track sitting on the shelf for around ten years, and we decided to polish it up. Carlos added the lyrics and with help of our former drummer we improved the track dramatically. It’s a nice blend of black, thrash, Nu, prog and cyber, with orchestral elements – and with a triple layered death metal vocals! We wrote and recorded at our home studio [currently branded ‘Salamander Media Works’].  

The video is incredible. Tell us about it 
The story goes on. Just when we got to the end of composing of the song, there’s this lady, Scarlet Phoenix, from Leicester asking for help from the bands with her uni Art and Performance project. We respond straight away and she gives us the raw video material she and her model friends Gabriela Sindel and Edgars Karklins filmed in Nottingham, if I remember correctly. Our job was just to add the band footage, but eventually we took over the whole production thing. Mat our bassist is a talented guy in making professional-looking videos. He worked mainly on lyric videos in the past, but with my, pre-production and editing skills we managed to produce a decent music video ourselves. The band shoot has been done at my place; you’ll see how it came about in our upcoming Making Of video. 

You work hard travelling and playing shows. Is that Stereo Skull’s best strength, the live show? 
It definitely is. Carlos is amazing frontman. We don’t stand out too much image-wise: we don’t have our own uniform, the only thing we wear is our passion for music on stage. There are some elements we use that help us to stand out among other bands though, and it’s the sampled synths and live video projections if the venue is big enough. We used to have a live VJ in the past, but now with the help of technology it’s all synced up with our performance. The next step is… nah, I’m not gonna reveal it for now. It’s a work in progress, don’t wanna jinx it. Also we happened to have our own meme in the band which was our drummer, his baseball bat incident particularly. Definitely gathered more people around the Skulls, and kinda changed us a little. We continue revealing our funny side, and life on the local scene in our gig report videos. Everybody loves stupid shit. And it’s fine. 

You are part of the music scene in Northamptonshire. Any favourites you want give a shout out to? 
Big shout out to Andy Green from Blackbush Promotions, we had a great time sharing the stage with the Still Remains UK some years back. Our first out of town experiences were a lot of fun thanks to him. He manages the live gigs in the King Billy: needless to say it became our second home. HOPevents, Lost Island Bookings, Attic Promotions and Castle Mountain Promotions gave us great platform locally. Roadmender, Athletic Club, Zombie Hut, Black Prince, Prince Of Wales, Castle Theatre, Picturedrome, Horseshoe, Raff’s etc, we love them all. 
Favorite local bands are Krysthla, From Eden To Exile, Haema, Siderian, ReaperX, Mutiny UK, Ashborn, Fleisch, Fueled Hate, Primal Holocaust, Darkhorse to mention a few. 

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year? 
The video shoot, and getting back on stage after a long break without a drummer and still cracking it. One proud moment we had just this week; we managed to put our very first tour together by ourselves. It’s been a very busy and exciting year so far.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have? 
For now to finish off the special edition of the EP, and cracking on to the debut album. The concept, album artwork and tracks are pretty much ready, we just have to record it – and probably even sign with some label. We’re going on a UK tour with German/Latvian band Māra as a main support at the end of June; that should be a lot of fun. We will try to get to some bigger stages next year. Will definitely try our luck in Metal 2 The Masses again.

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