Tag Archives: Metal

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!!


PORT NOIR – launched a video for the track ‘Onyx’,

Today, Swedish post-metal high flyers, PORT NOIR, launched a video for the track ‘Onyx’, which is taken off their upcoming new album, ‘Any Way The Wind Carries’.
Watch the video here:

You can download ‘Onyx’ at all digital outlets as a standalone single or you can pre-order the full album at iTunes or AmazonMP3 and get ‘Onyx’ as an Instant Grat track.

‘Onyx’ is also available on all streaming platforms such as Spotify.

The eagerly awaited second full-length opus, ‘Any Way The Wind Carries’, will be released on April 1st, 2016 via Century Media Records (World excl. North America & Nordic) and Razzia Notes (Nordic).

All physical formats of the album are now available for pre-order at CMDistro and EMP!

‘Any Way The Wind Carries’ will be available as a Jewelcase CD and LP+CD.

“Any Way The Wind Carries” track-list:
01. Any Way The Wind Carries
02. Earth
03. Vous Et Nous
04. Black From The Ink
05. Onyx
06. Diamond
07. Beyond The Pale
08. Fur,Rye
09. Exile
10. The Sleep
11. Come What May
12. The Oak Crown

After their debut album “Puls” in 2013, PORT NOIR released the “Neon” digital EP in 2015 marking one of the first releases by Anders Fridén’s label Razzia Notes and Century Media Records, who kicked off their cooperation earlier in 2015.

Andreas Wiberg
Love Andersson
Andreas Hollstrand

PORT NOIR online: 

Belgian Death Metal Monsters “Aborted” Are Back With Retrogore

ABORTED’s 9th full length crusher, Retrogore, will be hauled from the grave on April 22nd, 2016 and fans should expect nothing less than one of thee most relentless and fiercest albums from Belgium’s favorite gore-mongers to date!

This new offering will not only combine elements from ABORTED’s trademark sound but will also add in some carefully selected new ingredients proving why Retrogore is truly a bloody chunk of raw and rotten meat, refined with creepy melodies and sinister atmosphere… but hey, the proof is in the pudding right? Well, sit down and get ready for a heaping helping of what the new album has to offer with the title track, ‘Retrogore’.


Sven de Caluwe, ABORTED front man, comments on the new song and album: 

“Here it is ghouls and maniacs! The first, opening track and title track to our fine new little piece of auricular mayhem called RETROGORE. A profound little diddy that somewhat recalls the finesse and tactfulness of Monty Python’s ‘The meaning of life’ or as we shall call it our own ‘The meaning of Death(metal)’. You see, folks, there are blast beats, there are ridiculously fast kicks all over the place, really, really, reaallly dark melodies to make you churn and some shredding for those who like that thing called musicianship. To top it off we have myself puking all over it in a fashion that would make Cookie monster cringe and Kim Kardashian shake that big ole butt of hers. In other words, it’s Aborted, it’s uncensored gooey, gory fun for the whole family! Enter the nostalgic world of RETROGORE and don’t be a chump, get a pre order and be part of something that will bring you joy and happiness, for at least one hour! Guaranteed!“ 

‘Retrogore’ features an incredible artwork with a great attention to detail by the one and only Christopher Lovell: www.christopherlovell.com.

 Additional interior retro horror artwork was done by Coky Greenway: https://www.facebook.com/theartofcokigreenway/

 Check out http://smarturl.it/retrogoreCMD to pre-order the album in the following formats:

Ltd. Box Set

With the album as limited CD Digipak plus 2 bonus tracks, an additional CD Digipak of the “Termination Redux” EP (previously unreleased on CD) as well as a big size poster flag of the cover artwork.

 Gatefold LP

With the entire album on CD (plus 2 bonus tracks) and a square size poster of the cover artwork

 CD Jewelcase

The standard CD edition offered for a fan-friendly price. 

There are also a couple of bundle offers available.  The European pre-sale will start on March 25th.

ABORTED has also recently launched their US preorder through IndieMerch, which can be found here: http://www.indiemerch.com/ABORTED

 The vinyl version of “Retrogore” will be offered in a variety of colors:

 Need more gore? Recently ABORTED released a 5-track EP entitled “Termination Redux” to celebrate the bands 20th year of existence as well as to offer fans a foretaste of what to expect on “Retrogore”. If you have yet to grab your copy, you better do so soon…





ABORTED line-up:

Sven De Caluwe: Gurgloroth

Mendel Bij De Leij: Flesh Upon The Razor Wire

JB van der Wal: Nocturnal Pulse

Ken Bedene: Hymen Blaster

Ian Jelekis: Immaculate Resection


ABORTED online:







ASKING ALEXANDRIA Debuts Music Video For New Album’s Title Track, ‘The Black’

ASKING ALEXANDRIA are perfectly poised for the biggest year of their already illustrious career with the release of their fourth full-length album, ‘The Black’– set for release March 25th.  Couple that with a huge North American trek with fellow countrymen, Bullet For My Valentine and While She Sleeps, starting Feb 2nd and all the pieces are set into place. In anticipation of that tour the band are very proud to present the epic, new music video for the new disc’s title track.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/askingalexandria for all touring info.

Pre-Orders for ‘The Black’ are also now available below
Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01ART7UNI
D2C (UK) – http://askingalexandria.tmstor.es/

Life is all about how quickly you get back up. In January 2015, everything changed for Asking Alexandria. The chart- topping, gold-selling UK hard rock outfit parted ways with singer and founding member Danny Worsnop. On the outside, the future might’ve seemed uncertain—even grim—to some, but Ben Bruce [lead guitar, vocals], James Cassells [drums], Cameron Liddell [rhythm guitar], and Sam Bettley [bass] dusted themselves off, lifted their chins, and got right back up.

We hadn’t reached our destination yet, and Danny had,” admits Bruce. “I think it was necessary. When it happened, I was devastated. I lost my best friend. We even started referring to this part of our career as ‘The Black period.’ It was the darkest time, but we weren’t going to give up. If he hadn’t left, I don’t think we would’ve been as inspired as we were. I also don’t think Asking Alexandria would still be around. Instead, we’re more excited than ever about this band.”

In order to properly do that, the band actually turned to a fan. Ukrainian singer Denis Stoff gained notoriety posting Asking Alexandria covers on YouTube and consequentially inked a deal with Sumerian Records in his band Down and Dirty. Bruce shot him an email one night. The next day, a new Asking Alexandria song had vocals and a new era in the
band’s history took form.

‘The Black’ will be released via Sumerian Records on March 25th 2016
DragonForce and Babymetal

Baby Metal’s ‘Metal Resistance’ to Drop on April First

Baby Metal were one of my surprise finds from last year.  I caught their performance at Download Festival when they joined Dragon Force onstage for a few songs and they later opened Saturday on the main stage at Reading Festival.

BABYMETAL, the metal dance unit that had successfully performed a total of 25 shows across 10 countries on their World Tour last year, will be releasing a new album worldwide simultaneously and can today announce the title is ‘METAL RESISTANCE’.

On April 2nd, BABYMETAL will start their world tour ‘BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2016’ with their headline show at Wembley Arena, UK. Also, April 1st, the day before the Wembley show, is announced to be “FOX DAY” and it is prophesied by the FOX GOD that along with the content of BABYMETAL’s new album, there will be further details announced about the TOKYO DOME show, the world tour finale, which we look forward to hear.

The tour promises to be a lot of fun.  This Japanese outfit are well worth checking out if you get the chance.

Worldwide release date: Friday, April 1st, 2016

・2016/4/2 (sat) United Kingdom / London・Wembley Arena
・2016/5/10 (tue) THE FILLMORE / MARYLAND, USA
・2016/5/11 (wed) THE FILLMORE / MICHIGAN, USA
・2016/5/13 (fri) HOUSE OF BLUES / ILLINOIS, USA

■BABYMETAL Official Web Site

■Official Twitter

■Official Facebook


Greenleaf – Brixton O2 Academy

Greenleaf is a Swedish band created, as a sideproject, in late 1999/early 2000 by Tommi Holappa (Dozer), Daniel Lidén (Demon Cleaner) and Bengt Bäcke (record producer/studio engineer, Dozer, Demon Cleaner, Lowrider). In 2003 Daniel joined Dozer, making 3 of the 4 Dozers members also members of Greenleaf.  

I caught their short set on Saturday evening where they were supporting Clutch and Bombus at Brixton academy.  Whilst they only had a 30-minute set I was more than impressed by what I saw.

Sadly the lighting at the Academy  was pretty dire for both support bands so i apologise for the quality of my photos.  Greenleaf are very much a band in the finest tradition of Scandanavian rock bands.  They are well worth checking out should you get the opportunity.

Check out the video to get a flavour of what you are missing.

Swallow The Sun

Swallow The Sun – New Video From Doom Metal Masters

Melancholy death-doom masters SWALLOW THE SUN have released their eagerly awaited new triple full-length album, ‘Songs from the North I, II & III’, today!

Swallow The Sun also launched a brand-new video for the song ‘Rooms and Shadows’, taken from ‘Songs from the North pt. I’. The video was directed and produced by ex- SENTENCED and THE MAN-EATING TREE drummer Vesa Ranta.

Metal Injections says that “Rooms & Shadows” combine strong harsh vocals, with melodic deep singing which breaks the song up while fusing it as a cohesive melodic body. Whilst Sputnik Music says “If there was to be an award for the most ambitious offering of the year, there is little doubt that Songs From the North would be a finalist. It is, after all, a triple LP that encompasses a sizeable breadth of melancholic tune.”

Metal Hammer UK says that Swallow The Suns most recent offering is “The perfect soundtrack for bleak winters, both real and ethereal”  whilst Kerrang describes it as “an epic journey, and one that both requires and repays immersion and patience”.

All physical formats of ‘Songs from the North I, II & III’ as well as shirt bundles can be purchased here:

In continued support of ‘Songs from the North I, II & III’, SWALLOW THE SUN will perform their signature brand of gloom, beauty, and despair live throughout Europe on headlining dates beginning later this month. They will be accompanied by fellow countrymen Wolfheart.

Karyn Crisis


Every day is a school day.  One of the great things about music is that there is always something new to discover.

One of the great things about writing about music is that on a daily basis I get a multitude of messages dropping into my inbox with pointers to music from band PR companies.

One such message arrived today.  I confess that despite the fact that Karyn Crisis has been around in a variety of bands since 1994 I have never come across either her of the band Gospel of Witches before today.

In a quiet five-minutes I clicked into YouTube to check her out.  Wow!  I was blown away.  The video for “The Ascent” is a little dark and disturbing but it is beautifully shot and captures the mood of the song perfectly.  I liked it a lot.  Check it out.

This track is taken from the latest album, ‘Salem’s Wounds’.  The music is described as occult metal and the soundscape paints a picture of evil menace though there are lighter moments.  It is a song that portrays both light and darkness.

Karyn Crisis talks about The Ascent stating that:

“The Ascent is about the transformative ancient rite of Death and Resurrection. It also alludes to the wisdom attained through attuning to the nature of energies which often appear to us as illusions of opposites. To be incarnated again we must first go through the death transition; we must enter the darkness to find the light; to hear the voice of the Universe we must go within, turning attention away from the physical world. Opposites are merely halves of a whole: masculine and feminine energies, the macrocosm and the microcosm, life and death.

In pen and ink I drew a storyboard of the video that I sent to Bob Vigna, who filmed and edited the entire video. I explained to him I wanted to depict this rite of dying unto oneself, represented by the Hanged Man Tarot card. For our story, I felt it was important to have the male Druids taking action in the first part of the story which is about a seeker in the physical world, and for the female Priestesses to complete the creative inward rebirthing process.

I was inspired by a story authored by Carlo Napolitano where a character seeking answers to the Great Mysteries was hung upside down on a tree, with a mask tied to his face, gaining a previously unknown view of the world around him as pagan rituals took place around him. Bob elevated these ideas and turned them into a cohesive storyline that’s both tangible and earthly, dreamy and spiritual.”

For more from the release of Salem’s Wounds by KARYN CRISIS’ GOSPEL OF THE WITCHES, listen to the following singles:

The music is a little funereal at times.  It is also thought provoking, challenging and utterly absorbing.

Salem’s Wounds is available now on Century Media Records.


Karyn Crisis tweets as @Karyn_Crisis

[Image Via YouTube]

DragonForce and Babymetal

Download 2015 – DragonForce and BabyMetal

Check out a few more of my photographs from Download Festival 2015.

They may not be everyones cup of tea musically but BabyMetal joining DragonForce onstage for a few songs was one of the most fun moments of Download 2015.

Butcher Babies Release Video For ‘Igniter’ – Shot at Download

Butcher Babies were one of my personal highlights at Download Festival 2015  Not only did I get to meet them, I got to interview them and shoot their set and it was awesome to say the least.

The BUTCHER BABIES released their latest full-length offering, Take It Like a Man. earlier this year on Century Media Records. The video for ‘Igniter’ perfectly captures the frenetic, high-energy of their amazing live show. The video was shot at Download and I even spotted myself taking photographs from the photo pit whilst the video was being shot 🙂  I’m in the video at around 2:10

Heidi Shepherd (vocals) states: “We’ve all been in that different state of consciousness where rage over takes over your body and mind. ‘Igniter’ is about these emotions and about that last straw that breaks you. We were so lucky as to film this video during our live performance at The Download Festival, Metal Hammer Boat and The Metal Hammer Golden God Awards. As it shows our intense live energy on the stage, it also shows our goofy off stage personalities.”

Butcher Babies

Butcher Babies

Carla Harvey further adds: “’Igniter’ is a song about the anger and frustration that we can let consume and even destroy us at times. When we first started Butcher Babies, I was in a much darker place and often let that rage overtake me, but after 6 years of having a healthy outlet for those feelings through our music, I’m a completely different person. I love that the video for Igniter, shot while we toured the UK this summer, shows a juxtaposition of on stage rage and our off stage fun personalities. It speaks volumes to the release that music provides not only for the listener, but the creators.”

You can check out my interview and some more photographs of Butcher Babies here.

Heidi Shepherd- vocals
Carla Harvey- vocals
Henry Flury- guitar
Jason Klein- bass
Chrissy Warner- drums

Butcher Babies are on the internet here: They are on Facebook and they Tweet as @ButcherBabies