Tag Archives: metalcore

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!!

 

Advertisements

Architects – An Open Letter After The Brixton Academy Gig

Dear Architects,

Let me begin by saying that I don’t normally write about a gig where I have been turned down for a photo and review pass.  I cover literally hundreds of bands a year for a number of music magazines so I don’t often get turned down but  I was turned down for last nights gig.

That said, once in a while you are privileged enough to witness an event so extraordinary and, so deeply moving that making no comment would simply be a dereliction of journalistic responsibility.  I witnessed just such an event at last nights Brixton academy show.

In many ways last night was always going to be an extraordinary event.  The Brixton Academy is a legendary venue, the atmosphere at a sold out show incredible.  Your choice of support bands was simply genius.  In Bury Tomorrow and Stick To Your Guns you selected two great bands to support you.  Bands who are not just a great foil for your own music but bands who share your belief that music can change the world.

The message across the evening was a simple one and one shared by all of the bands present, and I include Stray From the Path though they were not playing.  There cannot have been a single person in the 5000 strong audience who don’t agree that music can change the world.  The love and respect in the room, from the audience and from the stage was humbling.  The mosh-pits were brutal, but everyone looked after each other, united in the sheer joy of rebellion and the understanding that we all had 4999 people around us who, for the most part, share our view of the world and our concerns for the future.

A post shared by Alan Ewart (@soundofmysummer) on

 

There can be little doubt that most of us are united in the understanding of Sea Shepherds message “If the seas dies we die too.”  You won’t have found anyone who disagrees about bands selling VIP access tickets.  I have loved Blink-182 for years.  In June they are back in the UK and selling VIP access for up to £505 a head.  Sam was 100% correct when he said this is nothing more than fan exploitation.  Not only will I not be paying for VIP access, my son and I are both saying “fuck you Blink-182.”  We won’t be attending any of the shows as fans and I won’t be covering them in a professional capacity.

Blink-182 are supposed to be punk band, where is the punk ethos in exploiting fans in this way?  Dan from Bury Tomorrow was absolutely right when he said every successful band should be willing to stand by the march stand and high 5 every single person who paid to come and see the show.

In many ways it was humbling to hear Dan say that Architects will never take being able to play their music to their fans for granted.  You know, no-one resents bands like Architects achieving the level of success that they so richly deserve.  Architects have always been true to themselves and, just as importantly true to their fans.  Your success has been well earned and it is a pleasure to have had the opportunity to play an infinitesimally small part in that by buying tickets for your shows, your merchandise and of course your music.

It was really interesting to hear Sam talking about the power of Metalcore music to change the world.  This year should be a clarion call for your generation.  Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and recent announcements that climate change is already touching the upper-limit that we are warned could lead to global catastrophe.  Sam’s call to action is a powerful one.  The current generation “will” change the world he said.  Sam is almost right, the fact is that this generation “must” change the world.

The problem is that your generation faces a system of government and a world economic system that is stacked against you.  You can’t have failed to notice the number of people waving their iPhones in the air last night.  That small symbol of corporate greed is a microcosm of the challenge your generation faces.

We know that almost everyone at last nights show had fire in their bellies for the four hours we shared last night.  Sadly, as we all return to our lives, we will almost all fall back into the consumerism that supports the world order.  We will all be looking to upgrade to the next iPhone model or to buy the next gadget.  Most will return to crappy jobs, happy enough to be exploited by a system that further lines the pockets of the multi-billionaires who exploit the poor and the planets resources to make money they can never spend.

This is a system so corrupt, so disingenuous and yet so “normal” that we rarely give it a second thought.  It is tragic that we don’t just allow the system to fuck us over, we bend over and hand it the lube.  If we are to learn anything from Brexit and Trumps election, it is the fact that people are “sick of this shit.”  Anything, simply anything looks better than what we have now.  Its not true of course.  Brexit and Trump show us that things can get worse.  In our “so-called” democracies we have three choices.  The first two are “bad” and worse.”  The third is the one no-one talks about, real change.

It is easy to sit back and say that nothing I do will change things.  That collective apathy is what blocks real change.  As a youngster during the 1970’s punk rock changed my life.  Growing up in conflict torn Belfast in the 1970’s was no picnic, at 16 I was already on the fringes of paramilitary organisations when Stiff Little Fingers Inflammable Material changed my life.  It gave me the courage to change my life, to leave Belfast behind and to seek a better way.

It was a better route for me, but I really believed punk-rock could change the world.  It failed and sadly I and my generation have failed yours.  Make no mistake we tried.  We got out on the streets, we rioted and we fought.  We even had some small victories.  We managed to overturn the hated Poll Tax but we lost the war.  Through the miners strike and the Wapping dispute we fought hard but we lost. Our defeat meant that a way of life was lost.  We allowed “money” to destroy our ability to organise.

A post shared by Alan Ewart (@soundofmysummer) on

Your battle is far more important that ours, your battle is for the future of humankind.  I am ashamed that my generation has put you in this position, but for the sake the generations to come you must win.  I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that, in todays world, it is perhaps only music that can be the catalyst for change.  Music can unite us.  Bands like Architects, Enter Shikari and The King Blues understand this.  I beg you all to be that catalyst, last night showed that you understand what is at sake.  Never surrender, never give up.  Be the change the world so desperately needs.

Finally I applaud you all for the way you honoured Tom Searle last night.  Both Dan and Sam showed us that life is fragile and fleeting.  I can only imagine how you all felt.  How proud you must have been and yet your hearts must have been breaking you wished that Tom had been able to share such a remarkable moment in your history.  Tom would have been incredibly proud of you all and I am sure that the whole Searle family must have been bursting with both pride and sadness.

I fell incredibly humbled and grateful to have been present to witness such an amazing evening.  I haven’t had the privilege to know any of you personally but I was very proud of you all last night.  I shared the experience with my 18-year-old son, both of us proud to have shed tears and experienced incredible highs right along with you.

Architects, and all of the bands who share your ethos, are the future.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring, for trying and for fighting to change the world.  I wish you every success and victory in the battles 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.

 

New Years Day Launch Stunning New Video

The good people at Noise Cartel are spoiling us today.  Hot on the heels of the announcement that Enter Shikari have added London’s Arcane Roots to the bill of their Alexandra Palace headline show later this month we are now sent the news that new Years day have launched a new video.

Without doubt new Years Day were one of my favorite new finds from last years festival season.  I saw new Years Day at Download festival and was totally blown away by the sheer energy and intensity of their live performance.  I also had the pleasure of interviewing the and photographing New Years Day so if you missed it you can catch up here.

New Years Day have certainly caught the energy of their live performance in the newly launched video for the track “I’m About To Break You” from the stunningly excellent Malevolence album.

 

Vocalist Ash Costello states, “This video was so much fun to make! We are big fans of Mad-Max and have always wanted to make a post-apocolyptic style video so i’m glad we pulled it out for “I’m About to Break You.” The location we filmed at was a few hours away from Los Angeles and they put on a festival every year called ‘Wasteland Weekend’ that is dedicated to the post-apocolyptic lifestyle. We had a blast making props and riding around in those amazing cars. Having fans and friends join us as extras made it icing on the cake.”

NEW YEARS DAY who are currently on the ‘Hate Me’ tour with Escape The Fate & label mates Like A Storm, have released their third full length studio album ‘Malevolence’ in October 2015, which scored them their highest first week sales and Billboard Top 200 at #45. ‘Malevolence’ was produced by Erik Ron (Motionless In White, Issues) and is the band’s first release on Another Century Records.

NEW YEARS DAY online:
www.facebook.com/nydrock   Twitter @NYDrock

Another Century online:
www.anothercentury.com
www.youtube.com/user/AnotherCenturyTV
www.twitter.com/_AnotherCentury
www.facebook.com/AnotherCenturyRecords

Century Media webshop:
http://www.cmdistro.com

In Hearts Wake - Download

Download 2015 – In Hearts Wake

As someone was talking about meeting In Hearts Wake I thought I would share a few of my shots of their set at this years download with you.

Enjoy.

Crossfaith

Crossfaith Unveil ‘Xeno’ Comic Book To Celebrate Album Release

To celebrate the release of their highly anticipated new album ‘Xeno’, Japanese Metalcore band Crossfaith have revealed the existence of a complex comic detailing the story of ‘Xeno’.

The first page has just gone live and can be viewed here www.xenocomic.com

Over the course of this week, a page will be revealed every day at 3pm GMT on the above link for five days culminating in the fifth and final page revealed on Friday. The comic was drawn by Liam Kelleher.

Speaking about the release of Crossfaith’s Kenta Koie comments:

Before we started writing, we made a blueprint for this album. Teru told us his working concepts were ‘Life And Death’ and ‘Metempsychosis’, but when we started working with Josh [Wilbur, producer], Teru brought the idea of XENO to us. It means ‘unknown’ or ‘alien’ – which I thought is the perfect name to describe us!”

One night, Teru and Kazu were working together at a motel and they showed me the title track Xeno. It blew my mind, so I started writing a story to match the fact there were so many different types of songs on the album. I created two characters – one guy who wants to destroy world, and a female cyberbrain both called Xeno. He can’t stand to live in this world because he thinks humans have ruined it, and she wants to learn what it is to be human. She dives into his mind, and the story starts from there…

Listen to ‘Xeno’ herehttps://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-Wg2cRZrDEwSraqAHosyzdlV8LsIw_4b

Crossfaith will be touring the UK in November as main support to Skindred.   Full dates below

CROSSFAITH (Supporting Skindred)

  • 04 NOV O2 Guildhall, Southampton
  • 05 NOV UEA, Norwich
  • 06 NOV Rock City, Nottingham
  • 07 NOV Academy, Manchester
  • 08 NOV O2 Academy, Newcastle
  • 10 NOV O2 ABC, Glasgow
  • 11 NOV Stylus, Leeds
  • 12 NOV O2 Academy, Bristol
  • 13 NOV O2 Institute, Birmingham
  • 14 NOV O2 Brixton Academy, London
Stray from the path

Stray From The Path: Download Festival – photo review

I am one of those people who likes to think that they are fairly up to date with the music scene.  I attend numerous festivals and gigs, I am always on the hunt for new bands to love and as an ageing punk I am certainly open to almost any kind of rock music.

Having attended last weeks Download Festival one thing that became apparent to me is that I know diddly squat about the hardcore scene in the USA.  This is something I intend to put right, starting with the long list of U.S. based hardcore and metal core bands bands that I introduced myself to last weekend.

Another of those bands was the brilliant Stray From The Path.  The four piece band out of Long Island New York already have no less than seven albums under their belt and the eighth is due out on August 14.  Like most of the best punk bands Stray From The Path feature the classic punk band lineup.  Guitar, Bass, Drums and vocal.  Their sound is also fairly standard, driving guitars over a thumping bass and rolling drums.  Drew Yorks vocal helps to add a layer of complexity and variety to the overall sound.

As you would expect the bands performance is intense and energetic and the band connect with the enthusiastic crowd right from the beginning of their eight track set.  I have to say that the one thing I would change about download would to be to give the acts on the smaller stage a longer set.  Most bands only had 25 – 30 minutes and when you discover a band like Stray From The Path that is nowhere near long enough.  A 45 minute set would mean fewer change overs and therefore more time enjoying music.

Stray From The Path are well worth checking out if. like me, you are not already familiar with their music.

Stray From The Path are on the Internet here, on Facebook and they tweet as @strayfromdapath