Black Metal was always about bringing the theatrics and the mysticism back to Heavy Metal. In many ways, it was a reaction to how the stripped back nature of Grunge temporarily took away our Music’s escapism and other-worldliness. The Norwegian founding fathers were brought up on KISS, Merciful Fate and Celtic Frost, they wanted to create something that was far more immersive and engaging than four guy in jeans and t-shirts playing instruments. This was about world building and atmospherics, sculpting an entire alternative reality that their music could exist within. Tonight in Rebellion, we have a tour package that presents the best in wide-screen Black Metal. This is the real deal, larger than life performances, corpse paint all over the shop and enough Satanism to put even Alex Crowley off.Read More
I fell in love with Gojira back at Bloodstock 2010 and from the moment that I first clapped eyes on them I knew that they were doing something really rather special and that they should be huge, stadium huge. Nearly a decade later it feels that my premonition is finally becoming a reality. Tonight feels like the moment that they transcended into the big league and show that they are the ordained successor to Metallica’s crown. There was something so confident and so masterful about this evening’s performance, very much the hallmarks of a band completely in control of their own destiny. The Apollo is heaving, absolutely heaving and even though they were part of the same touring cycle, there is a clear difference between tonight and their 2017 Manchester Academy show. I had been worried that at the Academy that they were stalling, that the fevered audience reaction that I had expected for a band that had created one of the greatest Metal albums ever (“Magma”) was not materialising.Read More
Doing gig reviews in the North West of England does mean that travel and the weather are frequent battles, but not even I expect to be nervously checking the National Rail website (other train information websites are available) in June. It finally stops raining though and, unlike at the Heart Of A Coward gig the previous week, I turn up to the venue resembling a human rather than a drowned rat.Read More
I’ve finished my pre-gig interview with Heart Of A Coward frontman Kaan Tasan (see the interview here), and now find myself stood in the gig queue in the pouring rain. Pouring doesn’t do it justice really, as it is absolutely thrashing it down. We shuffle ever closer towards the door until the welcoming heat of Rebellion wraps its arms around us and drags us in. Every last person who makes their way through the door looks like a drowned rat, but to a person when they see the Heart Of A Coward backdrop and merchandise table their faces light up.Read More
This tour is a true barometer of where the extreme end of heavy music find itself in 2019. You have four bands that share a love of Death Metal but present that central influence in four highly distinctive ways, you have four continents represented, you have a diverse crowd made up of a cross section of extreme music's many distinct tribes (with scissor-kicking hardcore kids and head nodding trad-metallers both out in force) and you have a pretty decent turnout for a Sunday night where every single act gets an appreciative pit and their lyrics screamed back at them. Overall this feels much more like a package tour of acts of a similar stature as opposed to a headliner and an undercard of also ran's, there only to make up numbers.Read More
It’s another bank holiday weekend, and here in this cool little downstairs venue it's the debut appearance of the countries fast rising blues rock soul outfit Buck & Evans. Featuring guitarist Chris Buck and vocalist Sally Ann Evans, they came together over 4 years ago for a one off support gig, the chemistry worked so well they have since developed into somewhat of a sensation. In fact Chris has recently won the 'best guitarist' by Total Guitar magazine amongst many other accolades for this young Welshman.Read More
The course of true love never does run smoothly does it?
Metal has been my long time lover, and I find myself putting myself in more and more weird situations in the quest to prove myself worthy in its eyes.
Today it was “Do you want to interview and review Mexican extreme metallers Brujeria and Canadian underground thrashers Aggression?”
Erm... let me think...
Fuck yes of course I want to do that.Read More
So a Manic Street Preachers gig in ROCKFLESH's hallowed pages may seem a little out of character and the fact that it is your friendly neighbourhood Death Metal fanatic covering it should bring accusations of the shark being well and truly jumped. But the truth of it, is that I have had a tempestuous and passionate love affair with these three Welsh men that dates back to when there were four of them and I saw them at the Hop and Grape (Academy 3 to you kids) thirty years ago.Read More
A reverent ‘you can hear a pin drop’ reception is a rare thing for a main support act, never mind one that is third on the bill, but Jo Quail is no ordinary artist. She is a solo cellist and whilst that may sound as far from metal as you can possibly get, the sound she creates is simply astonishing. What Jo does is taps out a sound on her futuristic looking cello and then she loops that sound back so that it becomes part of the backing track, then she does it again and again and again and so on until she has a rich tapestry of textured noise that surrounds her still audible mournfully beautiful cello.Read More
Bank Holiday train engineering works, and the fact I’m feeling tired and emotional (aka a hangover, from my mate’s wedding the previous day), means I’m dashing to make it to the venue for the support band. Fortunately, I manage to make it into the already reasonably full O2 Ritz just as The Amorettes take to the stage. In the ten years since they started, they’ve shared the stage with some impressive names and made genuine professional connections.Read More
My passion is live music and there are many bands over the years that I have championed and talked passionately about to anyone who would listen. However i am very aware that most of the bands that I raved about have been acquired tastes and would never amount to anything more than a cult concern. But then once in a while comes around a band that I feel could and may be huge and have the songs and the presence to rule the universe. Savage Messiah are one of these bands. Tonight is a joyful celebration of both what they have achieved so far and more importantly what they will go on to achieve with the imminent release of their new album “Demons”.Read More
So here I am back in more familiar territory both geographically (I really should just cut out the middleman and get my post delivered direct to Rebellion) and also genrely. You see tonight is an unashamed celebration of the power and majesty of old skool death metal and provides a rare opportunity for us in the UK to witness performances by acts that simply don’t usually make it over here.Read More
A wise person once said ‘be careful what you wish for, it might come true”, so after insinuating that the overlords at ROCKFLESH towers should consider broadening the remit of the assignments they send me on, here I am well out of my comfort zone both geographically and genrely. You see Nu-metal/rap metal (call it what you want) is just not my thing, it emerged at the point where Metal and I were on a break and I was busy seeing others genres and its appeal has ever since failed to land with me especially with my love of death growls and scuzzy doomy riffs. To top it all I’ve crossed the border and am in Liverpool, which as a life-long Manchester City fan feels a rather uncomfortable place to be at present!Read More
I’m still trying to get over the jetlag from my trip to New York, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to take in a rock gig by an original band at my local venue. The Live Rooms in Chester has tended to move away from original rock and metal gigs in recent times, spending more time with tribute, cover and dance/funk acts, so when the chance to see something relevant to ROCKFLESH comes around it has to be jumped on.Read More
It's Tuesday night, United are entertaining Barcelona somewhere on the other side of town and it's not even eight o'clock yet, but they are already having to shoehorn people into a sold out Rebellion. Judging by the number of fake profiles on Facebook trying to scam those desperate for tickets, this is certainly Manchester’s must see metal gig of the week.Read More
When Alpha Wolf are the openers, you know this is going to be a seriously heavy night. 30 seconds in on the front row and I've just been caught by an ill timed spin kick and quite frankly my drink deserves better.
Tonight’s queue was snaking around the side of the venue when I arrived and I felt like the oldest person ever. I mean, I still feel like I am in my early 20s, but my eyes are starting to betray me. Also my back hurts. My knees aren't great. I can't eat pastry anymore. I've got a lot of grey. And so on.Read More
This evening's gig at Manchester’s 02 Ritz is all set to be somewhat of a cracker; a double header of 2 bands celebrating 35 years since their inception. Both The Quireboys and FM have endured a rollercoaster of a ride or two over the past 3 and a bit decades, and these days FM are greying gracefully, yet still releasing quality material and touring regularly, so with support from Vega and Bad Touch, it promises to be a great night in store.Read More
My experiences at Satans Hollow have always been hit and miss. The venue is one of the best themed night clubs I've ever been in, but gigs here have always been a strange affair on a personal note. The stage is circular in the centre of the room, beneath a vast array of twinkling fairy lights (think Joyce Byers trying to contact the Upside Down). Visually it's stunning. In the past though, I've seen bands here with sound that... well... sucked.Read More