Tag Archives: Hardcore

Ten Tips To Tempt You Away From The Main Stage At Download 2018

wo weeks today I will be making my annual pilgrimage to the home of Rock, Donington Park for the 2018 version of Download Festival.  As always Download has plenty on offer for those who like their music loud and heavy.  We will see Rock, Metal, Hardcore, Metalcore, and Punk bands from around the globe.

At large festivals like Download, there is always a temptation to camp out by the main stage to watch a seemingly never-ending lineup of big-name acts.  This year sees headline slots form Avenged Sevenfold, Guns N’ Roses and Ozzy Osborne.  Marilyn Manson, Bullet for my Valentine and Blackstone Cherry head up the main stage undercast.

Download Artists Saturday-50

Marilyn Manson

I will, of course, be checking out Avenged Sevenfold and Guns N’ Roses, but Ozzy will get a body swerve.  I dread to think how Ozzy will cope, after all, when he headlined with Sabbath two years ago I was amazed that he had even managed to walk onto the stage.  No matter!  As with any festival, it is my firm belief that the real joy takes place away from the main stage.

Over the years Download’s Avalanche stage has become my personal favourite. It’s at this stage where you can be sure of a quality lineup of punk and Hardcore bands, and this year is no exception.  For me, at least, Friday evening at the Avalanche stage provides rich plunder for fans of Punk, Metalcore and Hardcore.

It is there that two of my top 10 picks for the weekend away from the main stage can be found.  Even better, Stray From The Path and Stick To Your Guns are playing back to back, and in this old punk’s estimation, both are unmissable, the Mosh Pit will be brutal and both bands are more than capable of getting you right in the mood for the rest of the weekend.

To be fair, with Cancer Bats, The Bronx and Bad Religion all on the Avalanche stage on Friday, you would be forgiven if you staked out a spot and stayed put all evening.  That won’t be the case for me though. If the timings work out as they should I will be checking out Zippo Stage Friday Headliners, You Me At Six.

I must admit, I caught You Me At Six a couple of years back and remember being totally underwhelmed.   I thought they were a bit lost on the big Reading stage, but since then they have become something of a guilty pleasure.

OK now, I accept that YMAS may not be the diehard metalhead’s idea of Download music, but these boys will rock the stage, and I must confess an affinity with the young pop-punk bands around at the moment.  The scene is flourishing and YMAS will draw a huge crowd of mostly younger fans.

With WSTR, Neckdeep and Mayday Parade on the Avalanche stage on Saturday, I could be tempted back.  However, the Zippo stage is where my top tips for Saturday are playing.  The stage has a quality lineup all day, but L7, Lawnmower Deth, and Asking Alexandria are where I shall be pointing my camera.

L7 played a blinding set on the same stage on 2015 (?) and as the only (almost) all-female lineup at this year’s Download, they certainly deserve our support.  Asking Alexandria are arguably the strongest British Metalcore outfit around, and they get better and better.  I certainly won’t be missing this one.  Anyone who has ever seen Lawnmower Deth knows that their stage shows are not to be missed.  Their 2016 set on the Avalanche stage was the highlight of a very wet festival for me.  FFS they even brought along one of my boyhood crushes, Kim Wilde to perform “Kids in America.”  Seriously what’s not to like 🙂

Sunday’s highlight for me is undoubtedly Rise Against headlining the Zippo stage.  The Chicago based punk outfit was sublime at Download in 2015, and I can’t wait to see them again.  Arguably the most underrated punk outfit of this millennium.

I will also be checking out Milk Teeth and The Hives over on the Avalanche stage.  I have seen Milk Teeth numerous times and have always been impressed by Becky Blomfield.  The bass player and singer has a great stage presence, and it is great to see a female fronted pop-punk outfit get another slot at Download.

I managed to catch some of The Hives set at Reading in 2016.  They were fabulous.  I must admit that was my first exposure to the Swedish punk outfit, but I was impressed and am looking forward to hearing more.

So there you have it, 9 bands to check out away from Download’s main stage.  But Wait!  Didn’t I promise 10?  Of course, I did, and my 10th is BabyMetal!  I know, I know – but here’s the thing, festivals are supposed to be fun, and no one can deny that BabyMetal are fun.  Check them out and see what all the fuss is about, you might even enjoy it 🙂

Download Artists Friday-35

Download Artists Friday

See ya there Downloaders, I’m ready to rock!!


Slaves Are Back With A Huge Release

Sacramento post-hardcore outfit Slaves are fulfilling their promise to keep moving forward with their brand new single, “I’d Rather See Your Star Explode”.

 Always progressing and embracing change, the band is eager to share their new music with their ever-growing fan base. The new single is a testament to Slaves’ persistence through adversity and willingness to push past any negativity.

The upcoming record, produced by Erik Ron (Panic! At the Disco, Set It Off), is set to be the band’s most powerful release to date. Jonny adds, “with this album, I feel like I have the chance to be the person I was supposed to be the entire time.” “I’d Rather See Your Star Explode” is just a taste of what’s to come.

A few short months after their 2014 inception, they released their Artery Recordings debut, Through Art We Are All Equals, hitting #4 on the Billboard Hard Rock charts. Reflecting on the complexities of difficult relationships, addiction, and personal redemption, the record features Jonny Craig’s soulful vocals atop rich instrumentalism. After refining their sound and constantly writing on tour, the band released their sophomore album, Routine Breathing, in 2015. The record features guest vocals from Spencer Chamberlain (Underoath), Garret Rapp (The Color Morale), and Tilian Pearson (Dance Gavin Dance). Routine Breathing solidified their place in the scene, hitting #7 on the Billboard Hard Rock charts.

Slaves are an unstoppable force that are here to stay. Always moving forward and embracing change, the duo are eager to share their new music with their ever-growing fan base. The upcoming record, produced by Erik Ron (Panic! At the Disco, Set It Off), is set to be the band’s most powerful release to date. “I’d Rather See Your Stars Explode” is just a taste of what’s to come.

Beartooth – This Is The Sound Of Your Children Revolting

Beartooth‘s frontman Caleb Shomo is one of the most engaging front men in modern rock music.

Check out this powerful video for Beaten In Lips one of the tracks on Beartooth’s debut album Disgusting.  As you will see it is a powerful message highlighting domestic abuse against children.  It is both thought provoking and powerful.

After a stunning performance on the third stage at last years Download Festival the boys are back this year to show the main-stage crowd what they are made of.



Great news today, US based hardcore outfit New Years Day are on their way back to Europe.  I should have seen the band last week but there was a mess up with my press pass so frustratingly I missed their show supporting Motionless in White.  Bloody annoying.

I fell in Love with New Years Day at this years Download festival where I interviewed and photographed them.  I gotta tell you, Ashley Costello is one of the nicest women in rock.  An absolute pleasure to interview and their live set is awesome.  Their hard rocking sound combined with a punk-rock attitude makes them a shoe in for me.

Download New Years Day-14

New Years Day

I’m pleased to say that New Years Day will be touring Europe again in January, this time in support of ESCAPE THE FATE.

Also on the bill is New Zealand Hard Rock outfit LIKE A STORM.  Both bands are extremely excited to come back to the UK and Europe:

“Europe, did you miss us yet?! Well guess what? We are coming back soon!” – Ashley Costello, New Years Day

“We’re so excited to be coming back to the UK & Europe with Escape The Fate. We can’t wait to rock with our European friends & fans again!” – Matt Brooks, Like A Storm

This looks very much a line-up not to be missed so hopefully I will be able to make my way to London for the show on February 16.

The full tour programme looks like this:

NEW YEARS DAY & LIKE A STORM on tour with Escape The Fate:
28-01-16 UK Manchester, Club Academy
29-01-16 UK Glasgow, Cathouse
30-01-16 UK Nottingham, Rescue Rooms

31-01-16 France Paris, Le Divan Du Monde
02-02-16 Germany Wiesbaden, Schlachthof
03-02-16 Switzerland Zurich, Dynamo
04-02-16 Germany Munich, Strom
05-02-16 Italy Milan, Legend Club
06-02-16 Italy Pordenone, Deposito
08-02-16 Austria Vienna, Szene
09-02-16 Czech Republic Prague, Rock Cafe
10-02-16 Germany Berlin, Bi Nuu
11-02-16 Germany Hamburg, Logo
12-02-16 Holland Amsterdam, Melkweg
13-02-16 Germany Koln, Underground
14-02-16 Belgium Hasselt, Mod Box
16-02-16 UK London, Electric Ballroom
18-02-16 Russia Moscow, Red Club
19-02-16 Russia St. Petersburg, Cosmonavt Club

LIKE A STORM’s ‘Awaken The Fire’  & NEW YEARS DAY’‘Malevolence’ are both out now via Another Century.

LIKE A STORM online:


Another Century online:

Frank Carter And the Rattlesnakes – [Photos]

Those of you outside the UK may not have come across Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.

Frank Carter is one of the last of a breed, a true punk rock wild man.  Carter’s energy and aggression onstage has to be seen to be believed and when I say aggression that is exactly what I mean.  Frank has been known to punch members of the audience is they piss him off.

I caught Frank’s set at this years Reading Festival where he turned in an incredible performance.  On this occasion Frank even showed us that he has a softer side too 🙂

Those of you outside the UK may not have come across Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.

Frank is one of the last of a breed, a true punk rock wild man.  Frank energy and aggression has to be seen to be believed and when I say aggression that is exactly what I mean.  Frank has been known to punch members of the audience is they piss him off.

I caught Frank’s set at this years Reading festival and Frank even showed us that he has a softer side too 🙂

Download 2015 – Photo Gallery

A few more download photographs to keep the 2015 memories alive.

New Years Day

New Years Day New Album ‘Malevolence’ Available To Stream

Post Hardcore band New Years Day were one of my picks of this years Download Festival.  I was thrilled by their performance and have been eagerly looking forward to their new album ‘Malevolence’ which was released through Another Century on 3rd October.

Malevolence was produced by Erik Ron (The Word Alive, Motionless In White) and is the band’s first release on Another Century Records.

New Years Day took the unusual step of streaming the album in it’s entirety on YouTube before it was released.

Check it out here.

Ash Costello (vocals) states, “Malevolence is the most personal album we have ever written to date. More than ever you can really feel the blood and tears in these lyrics. It wasn’t an easy process because it was so emotional but what came from it is honest and real. It’s therapeutic and angry but still shows vulnerability.

“Our producer Erik Ron will always start an album by asking me ‘what are you feeling right now?’ to which I replied ‘pissed off.’ I think anyone that has suffered through loss, betrayal, insecurity and abandonment will absolutely relate to it. For me, it felt so good to get everything I had been bottling up out and hopefully it helps others in the process.”

2015 has been a monstrously significant year for the band, it saw New Years Day dominate this year’s Vans Warped Tour, as well as frontwoman Ash Costello hosting the Alternative Press Music Awards Red Carpet and taking an active role as a spokesperson for PETA (see below).

PETA “Pet Adoption” Campaign 


NEW YEARS DAY – “Kill or Be Killed” Official Music Video


New Years Day will be back in the UK for a run of gigs supporting Motionless in White & Chelsea Grin in late November/early December. See below for a list of dates.

NEW YEARS DAY live:  with Motionless In White & Chelsea Grin

23 NOV Belfast, IRE – Mandela Hall

24 NOV Dublin, IRE – Academy

26 NOV Manchester, UK – Club Academy

27 NOV Leeds, UK – University Union

28 NOV Glasgow, UK – Garage

29 NOV Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms
01 DEC Birmingham, UK – Asylum

02 DEC Bristol, UK – The Fleece

03 DEC Southampton, UK – 1865

04 DEC London, UK – Underworld **SOLD OUT**

06 DEC London, UK – Underworld **SOLD OUT**

New Years Day are on Facebook and they Tweet as @NYDrock

Eskimo Callboy

Eskimo Callboy Coming to UK For A Short Tour

Hot off the back of their latest album release ‘Crystals’, Eskimo Callboy are readying themselves to bring their crazy live show to the UK in the form of a seven date headline tour accompanied by their usual  European tour production.   Support comes in the form of home turf favourites The One Hundred and Cabin Boy Jumped Ship.

Since their formation in 2010, Eskimo Callboy have continued to show that the German music scene never fails to surprise.  Piling up millions of You Tube views, performing at some of the worlds biggest festivals  and completing sold out tours across the board, they continue to cause furore everywhere they go.

Eskimo Callboy describe their music as PornCore.  Their fusion of metalcore, hardcore and techno creates a unique but increasingly popular sound.  Their subject matter deals with drugs, drink parties and sex.  If you like your music wild, exciting and fun and love to get hot and sweaty in a brutal mosh pit then this tour is for you.

The tour kicks off in London on October 8th and finishes in Plymouth a week later.

  • 8 OCT  London Underworld
  • 9 OCT  Southampton Joiners
  • 10 OCT Manchester Satan’s Hollow
  • 11 OCT Sheffield Corporation
  • 12 OCT Glasgow Audio
  • 13 OCT Birmingham The Rainbow
  • 14 OCT Plymouth The Underground

[“Eskimo Callboy – Reload Festival 2015 01” by F. Schwichtenberg – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons]

Enter Shikari

Enter Shikari to Release The Mindsweep: Hospitalised

Regular readers will know of my admiration for Enter Shikari.  They are an incredible band, really grounded guys and amazingly creative.  Enter Shikari are never afraid to push the boundaries of rock music and they always showcase a wide range of influences in their albums.  Enter Shikari also have a history of reimagining their work.

In January of this year Enter Shikari released their fourth studio album, The Mindsweep and today announced that they will release a remixed and reimagined version of the album on October 30th.  ‘The Mindsweep: Hospitalised‘ will be released on Ambush Reality/Play It Again Sam, and is a collaboration between Enter Shikari and London-based Hospital Records, who since 1996 have become one of the world’s foremost labels in drum & bass music.

Download Enter Shikari

Enter Shikari – Download

‘The Mindsweep: Hospitalised’ sees every track on Enter Shikari’s UK Top Ten album ‘The Mindsweep’ reimagined by some of the most respected and cutting edge artists working in drum & bass today; including the likes of Metrik, S.P.Y,  Danny Byrd, London Elektricity (a coup in itself, with L.E’s take on ‘Dear Future Historians’ being their first remix in nearly three years), Keeno and more.

As vocalist Rou Reynolds explains: “We’ve always been big on our B-sides and remixes, with every album we’ve always tried to get a load of drum & bass remixes done. Hospital-wise we did one with High Contrast around the time of our second album ‘Common Dreads’, for instance. While we were making ‘The Mindsweep’ we started the idea of having a consolidated collection of just d’n’b tracks. Because ‘The Mindsweep’ is such a varied album we just thought it’d be quite interesting to see what a drum & bass take on each track would be, and Hospital’s the one label that I personally have been into forever.”

I am personally not a fan of Drum & Bass music, if I am honest it all sounds the same to me and I find it pretty dull as a rule.  I do however love The Mindsweep so it will be interesting to see how this works out.  If the version of Anaesthetist above is anything to go by it will certainly be intense.
‘The Mindsweep: Hospitalised’ will be available on CD, 2 x coloured vinyl LP, and download.  It is available for pre-order from today from: http://www.entershikari.com and will be available in all record stores, online retailers and streaming services from October 30th.

Enter Shikari are also on Facebook and they Tweet as @EnterShikari

Download Festival 2015

Download Festival Donington Park 12 – 15 June 2015 – review

The 13th Download Festival took place at Donington Park from 12 – 15 June 2015.  Described as Europe’s biggest and best rock and metal festival Download sets the standard for modern rock festivals.  This year I went along to see what all the fuss is about.

I love music, my taste is eclectic and I like to think that even at my age I have a decent handle on new music.  However, my first love is and always has been punk rock.  Since the heady days of the late 70’s right up to today I have loved the attitude and politics of punk music so I was intrigued to find out if a long weekend at the beating heart of rock music would convert me.

As any festival fan knows the music is only a part of any major festival, what really counts is the overall experience.  The campsites, food, beer, people and weather all have a huge impact on the experience and have a large part to play in determining how much you enjoy yourself.  Of course attending to report on the festival ease of access and press facilities are also important.

Download Festival 2015

Download Festival 2015

Lets get some of those aspects out of the way right now.  The facilities for the press were fantastic.  The team over at Borkowski Arts & Ents. (who handle the festival PR) are first rate, communications are great on the run up to the festival and the facilities they provide are excellent on site.  There are working areas, plenty of powerpoint, lockers and good wi-fi coverage.  There are even mini buses to run press and photographers to the second stage at the top of the hill and there are refreshments on hand.  The press area is right next to the main stage and close to the main stage.  One word sums it up.  Superb!

Despite the fact that I had to proceed to one of the box-office sites to collect my pass before getting onto the camper van field the process was incredibly slick.  I was able to drive the van to within a few minutes walk of the box office collect my passes and drive to the van field and get set up in well under an hour.  Very impressive.  The van field had ample toilets, chemical waste disposal and hot showers and I found them to be immaculate on every occasion I used them.

I didn’t have cause to use the toilets in the arena so I can’t comment on those but I did see far too many people, women as well as men, urinating against fences.  Whether this was through laziness or queues or whatever I don’t know, but it is distasteful.

Download Festival 2015

Download Festival 2015

As anyone in the UK will know the weather over the weekend was hideous at times.  It was beautiful when we arrived on site, glorious on Friday morning but by the time Judas priest and Slipknot played on Friday evening the rain was torrential, it poured down all night and most of Saturday and the whole site was turned into a quagmire of mud.  being able to be on site after the crowds have left at night and before they enter in the morning allows you to see how well prepared the festival is to deal with adverse weather.  The crew at Download did a fantastic job laying mats and bark chipping in the really wet areas and spreading straw across the site to stop people slipping.  They truly did everything they possibly could to make the festival safe and enjoyable.

Download was the first major UK festival to go cashless this year.  Each ticket was allocated a ‘Dog Tag’ which you topped up with spending money before arrival.  This was obviously great from a security point of view and the fact that no-one had to mess around with change etc certainly reduced queueing time, especially at the bars.  As you would expect there were some problems.  I topped up for both myself and my son a couple of days before the festival. I had a great experience, everything worked flawlessly but the money never appeared on my sons wristband.  Luckily I was able to put some more on for him at the site but if I had not been able to afford to do this he would have been without money all weekend.  I now face a doubtless lengthy process to get the cash back!

As you would expect the line-up at Download was fantastic with the main stage playing host to the likes of Slipknot, Muse, Kiss, Motley Crue, Judas Priest and Slash to name just a handful, but as any real festival fan knows the real action takes place away from the main stage.  I did of course watch at least part of each of the really big names sets, but it was on the ‘smaller’ stages that I found the real gems.

Of course Fridays headliners Slipknot were stunning as always.  Their incredible performance drew on material from all five of their studio albums and they delighted the  adoring masses with no less than five songs from their 1999 debut disc.  The power and spectacle of Slipknots performance puts them right at the head of the table in the metal world.  There were also brilliant performances from Swedish metal monsters Bombus, a stunning set from Brighton based punk outfit Gnarwolves and possibly the performance of the weekend from the brilliant Beartooth.  Add to that a surprise guest appearance from Japanese metal – J-Pop crossovers during Dragonforce‘s set and the Maverick stage was undoubtably the place to be on Friday.

Download Festival 2015

Download Festival 2015

Creditable shout outs must also go to British veterans Judas Priest who arrived onstage on a motorcycle and went back as far as 1980’s British Steel for their setlist. British newcomers AllUsOnDrugs played a superb set on the fourth stage and I suspect they will become festival favourites as the years progress.

Saturdays headliners Muse drew a massive crowd to their headline set and the vast majority seemed to enjoy being introduced to their recent release Drones.  I must confess I have never quite ‘got’ Muse so after checking out their impressive stage show for 20 minutes or so I took my pleasures elsewhere.  Chicago based punk hardcore outfit Rise Against won my prize for the pick of the Main Stage bands on the day.  I loved their energy and hey I did say I love punk.

Elsewhere Aussie metal core band In Hearts Wake were stunning and punk outfits Creeper, Love Zombies and New Years Day were all great.  The performance of the day though had to be from Black Veil Brides.  Their stage show alone was worth the price of admission.  It is no surprise that they just won the Kerrang award for best live act.

Download - Black Veil Brides

Download – Black Veil Brides

Sunday was a day for nostalgia on the main stage with Motley Crue bidding farewell to the UK festival scene with a fantastic set which included their version of the Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK.  They will be sadly missed.  I didn’t get to see much of Kiss’s set but the pyrotechnics, fireworks and shooting along zip lines was certainly spectacular.  I missed most of their set because I was watching Enter Shikari, a band I now consider to be unmissable.  It was wonderful to see a young British act have the opportunity to headline the second stage and to bring their full production to a major festival.  Their performance was simply brilliant despite the fact that front man Rou Reynolds had been hospitalised on Friday as a result of an adverse reaction to hay fever medication.  As a result the band had to cancel a planned show in Bristol.

September Mourning, Evil Scarecrow and Butcher Babies were all excellent on Sunday on the smaller stages but the second stage line up of L7, In Flames, Lamb Of God and Enter Shikari was simply stunning and a fantastic way to wrap up a brilliant festival.

So, did Download turn me away from my punk roots and convert me to metal?  Well yes and no.  There was enough punk on the bill to keep me very happy.  I enjoyed every band I saw over the weekend with one exception.  Most importantly I loved the Download experience.  Both my 17-year-old son and I have decided that Download is a festival not to be missed.

I look forward to the surprises next year will bring.