Live Review : Wolf + Primitai + Shrapnel @ Academy 3, Manchester on March 24th 2019

As we can all personally attest a week is a bloody long time in politics, it also transpire to be long and knackering time in Metal. I easily had the choice of two reviewable shows every single night this week and in reality I managed to attend a neck-aching four gigs, which at my age feels very much too much of a good thing. Therefore the fact that the Academy 3 is deserted comes as no surprise. The pockets of mancunian metalheads are only so deep and after an absolute smorgasbord of metallic goodies on offer this week (as well as HRH in North Wles) something is going to give and sadly it is Wolf and their rather fine undercard that have got the shitty end of the stick.

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Live Review : A Forest Of Stars + Necronautical + Burial @ Academy 3, Manchester on March 23rd 2019

A Forest of Stars shows are rare and special things so it is disappointing to find the Academy 3 pretty empty, especially as rumours of a sell-out had been swirling around the internet. Watching Burial take the stage to less people than A Forest of Stars have members means that either there has been a lot of fake news about the sales for this show or the Black Metal hordes are still in the student bar two floors below enjoying the considerably cheaper beer. 

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Live Review : A Pale Horse Named Death + Transport League @ Rebellion, Manchester on March 23rd 2019

What better way to spend a Saturday night than with Brooklyn based Lords of Doom A Pale Horse Named Death?  When APHND first arrived on the scene in 2011 with their debut album “And Hell Will Follow Me”, they were touted as an absolute must listen for fans of Type O Negative.  Now 8 years on, they are riding the waves of adoration in the wake of the release of their third album “When The World Becomes Undone”, a deliciously gloomy journey laced with melancholy.

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Live Review : The Raven Age + Defences + Choose Your Destroyer @ Rebellion, Manchester on March 20th 2019

You wonder if the mid-week gigging scene is starting to feel the effects of over-saturation when you turn up to a gig and there are less than 10 people waiting for the late doors to open. I guess the truth is that you need to count the bodies in the room by the time the headliners take to the stage (and in this case there were more, but not that many more).

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Live Review : Kamelot + Evergrey + Visions of Atlantis @ Academy Club in Manchester on March 21st 2019

I have to confess to being a tad over-excited this evening as this is power metal royalty Kamelot’s first ever visit to Manchester. For a band of their stature and longevity that fact is at best an oversight and at worst rather embarrassing, though to be honest not wholly unexpected. You see power metal acts struggle to comprehend that the UK stretches beyond the north circular and visits north of the border (which in their minds lies around Watford) are a rare occurrence.

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Live Review : Crippled Black Phoenix + Fotocrime + Weirdwolf @ Rebellion, Manchester on March 20th 2019

It doesn't start well. I leave more people back at me house (not including the cats) than there are at rebellion when I arrive. At first glance it seems that Manchester's post rock massive have decided to stay in and wash their collective hairs tonight rather than brave the rather barmy spring evening. Weirdwolf take the stage to essentially an empty room, what punters there are stand so far back that they practically are falling into the lap-dancing club next door.

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Live Review : SUMAC + Baptists + ENDON @ The Deaf Institute, Manchester on March 18th 2019

The good old Manchester rain means that by the time we get to The Deaf Institute everyone queuing is soaking wet and reminiscent of the veritable drowned rat. The Music Hall upstairs at The Deaf Institute is a cracking little venue, almost like a tiny theatre, and the steam rising from the amassed crowd up the stairs makes it feel like we’re waiting to enter an underworld gladiatorial arena.

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Live Review : Doro + No Sleep For Lucy @ Rebellion in Manchester on March 12th 2019

Tonight’s support were a bit of an odd choice considering Doro is the Queen Of Metal. No Sleep For Lucy are Swedish, and their style started off as a sort of mish-mash of indiepop and 90’s emo. I’d just written in my notes that they had a bit of a sound of U2 when sure enough they went into a cover of ‘Pride (In The Name Of Love)’.

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Live Review : Tyketto + Kane'd @ Academy Club, Manchester on March 10th 2019

It’s a cold Sunday night tonight in Manchester, so I was quite surprised to see a venue that was not only within a few tickets of being sold out but also full of people right from the start. This meant tonight’s support act, Kane’d, had a job to do to win over those audience members who weren’t familiar with them, and I have to say they did it rather well.

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Live Review : Godsmack + Like A Storm @ O2 Ritz, Manchester on February 28th 2019

Hooray. The Nu-Metal generation is alive and well. I've had my suspicions for some time that I wasn't completely alone, but standing here tonight in the crowd at Godsmack, I've got all the verification my baggy pants and chains will ever need.

I am still very much about the Nu-Metal which is probably why Break Stuff has always been my most favourite of all the club nights, even if I struggle to tie “Nu-Metal” and “Nostalgia” into the same sentence. Once I heard Korn on a classic rock radio station (and it was wubwub KoRn with Skrillex if you must know) and I wasn't ok for about 5 years.

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Live Review: Pop Evil + The Fallen State @ Rebellion, Manchester on February 27th 2019

I stumble to the train at Chester station, my mind numb from three days of nonstop IOSH risk assessment training. It’s sent me mildly insane as I now see hazards and risks everywhere I look. Still, I get to the train and try to reset my brain ahead of tonight’s gig. Johann lets me know that it’s just one support and Pop Evil tonight...just two bands, an unusual billing these days I note. It’s a shame they’re not opening the doors earlier and giving a local band or two a slot, but maybe it speaks to the confidence in their respective projects.

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Live Review : Gaahls Wyrd + Tribulation + Uada @ O2 Academy Islington, London on February 25th 2019

Inside the O2 Academy it is dark, very dark, and the smoke machines have created a thick swathe of fog that fills the air.  All very fitting as tonight we have the arrival (and only UK date) of the Northern Ghosts tour featuring Uada and co-headliners Tribulation and Gaahls Wyrd. So we can expect a night of melodic black, gothic and extreme metal, plus whatever other sub-genres you could throw in the mix.

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Live Review : The Struts + Kelsy Karter @ Academy 2, Manchester on February 23rd 2019

The Struts have been a word of mouth sensation. There has been no big media push, instead news of this young vibrant rock fireball has been passed on covertly by one convert to another. The rumour mill has obviously been working overtime as the Academy 2 is not just sold out tonight, it is utterly rammed and in full sauna mode as everyone is here to experience the young up-starts that their friends won’t stop yapping on about.

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Live Review : Deified + Impavidus @ Tank, St Helen on February 22nd 2019

I'm here hideously early. The doors are locked, the blinds still down, and the local youth have pointed out how ugly/fat/goth I am. Wonderful.

No fear though. Tank is on a street with several other drinking establishments and I while away the next 30 minutes on the diet coke and vodka, until it looks like I can head in.

I'm immediately thrown by the tiny space and lack of band but the barman is wearing a Deified t-shirt and another lady assures me I'm in the right spot.

“We've got over 100 people coming, so we've moved outside" guitarist Alistair lets me know whilst leading me through to the equally cosy beer garden, where the bands are setting up and sound checking.

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Live Review : Stone Broken + Those Damn Crows + Hollowstar @ the Arts Club, Liverpool on February 20th 2019

A quick glance at the ‘Fans also like’ on Spotify for any of tonight’s three bands tells you how coherent a line-up this is. Yes, you guessed it, they all feature in each other’s lists. Other bands that they supposedly share common ground with are, according to the algorithm-loving app, Mason Hill, Massive Wagons and Wayward Sons. But to be honest these three bands have very different sounds and potential paths, even if they all have classic rock at their core.

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Live Review : Haken + Vola + Bent Knee @ Academy 3, Manchester on February 15th 2019

It's modern prog-tastic Friday tonight at the Academy 3 as Haken start a lengthy European tour here in Manchester. Including the excellent supports that they have brought along for the ride, this package is three solid gold examples of why progressive rock is in a healthier form today than it ever was in supposed heyday of the Seventies.

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Live Review: OTEP + Psycho Village + My Own Ghost + tHOLA @ The Bread Shed, Manchester on February 15th 2019

Through the never-ending stream of information on social media I manage to decipher that the OTEP gig has been moved from The Factory to The Bread Shed. Apparently, the stage has been removed from The Factory – maybe it’s been stolen, abducted by aliens or lost down the back of the sofa. We may never know. Now you might call me old fashioned but I do prefer a gig venue with a stage. So, with the hope that I haven’t being duped by social media fake news, I venture to The Bread Shed.

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Live Review : Decapitated + Dyscarnate + Baest @ Academy 3, Manchester on February 12th 2019

Baest are first out of the traps tonight and their name translates from their native Danish as brute which pretty much sums up their very old skool approach to Death Metal. Their heads down lightning fast version of the genre may lack the subtlety and technicality of their touring partners, but for an ageing metal head like me it has a real charm to it.

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