Jan 242020


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the performances by Cannabis Corpse, Withered, and Violated Flesh in Birmingham, England, on January 22, 2020, with video highlights.)

One of my resolutions for this year has been to go to more gigs. In fact I’ve already got several booked in for February and March, and another one to attend next week.

Sadly, however, the twin constraints of money and time mean I can’t go to every single show I’d like to, which is why I was forced to miss the Darkest Hour/Fallujah show in Manchester this week.

Thankfully, however, I’d already made firm plans to hit the Birmingham date of the Cannabis Corpse/Withered tour, which definitely helped ease the pain somewhat, especially since this would be my first time seeing Withered since way back in 2014! Continue reading »

Nov 062019


(Andy Synn was fortunate to catch the Nottingham stop on Imperial Triumphant‘s current European tour, with support at the show by Bast and Abduction, and transmitted the following report along with videos of the performances.)

If you’re not at least a little bit concerned about the state of the underground Metal scene in the UK then you’ve not been paying enough attention.

It’s nothing to do with a lack of talent, by any means, as there are innumerable bands out there right now who are all more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the best that the rest of the world has to offer. No, the real concern is a combination of two factors.

First, there’s the ongoing gentrification of our inner cities, with rising rents and rapacious developers continuing to exert crushing pressure on our small-to-mid-sized venues (we’re losing two of my favourites, Temple of Boom in Leeds and The Flapper in Birmingham, very soon), which in turn results in both greater competition for dates between bands as the live circuit contracts and more and more promoters/venues pivot towards courting more profitable, mainstream-friendly fare.

Then there’s the ongoing travesty of Brexit which, regardless of the politics behind it, is going to make it much more difficult for small/medium sized bands to tour the EU, and is likely to also cause problems for foreign bands wanting to tour the UK (where the margin of feasibility, when all costs and logistics are summed up, is often razor-thin).

So please, make sure to support your local promoters and local venues whenever and wherever you can. Because without them gigs like tonight’s extraordinary experience just wouldn’t be possible. Continue reading »

Oct 292019


(For the second day in a row we have a show review by Andy Synn, this time devoted to performances by Dawn Ray’d, Underdark, and Arboricidio in Andy’s hometown of Nottingham, UK, on October 25th, 2019.)

Two shows in two days? How rock and/or roll of me!

All joking aside, seeing two of the UK Metal scene’s current standard-bearers – Conjurer yesterday, Dawn Ray’d tonight – playing my home town was an opportunity I wasn’t going to miss, especially since the latter show (the one you’re about to read about) was being held at Stuck On A Name Studios, which is where I/we practice and record too! Continue reading »

Oct 282019


(Andy Synn turned in this review of the performances by Conjurer, Earth Moves, and Armed for Apocalypse on October 24, 2019, in Nottingham, UK.)

Despite all evidence (or lack thereof) to the contrary, I’ve actually been to quite a few gigs this year (including three different festivals), even though I haven’t necessarily been writing about them all.

As a matter of fact, I even saw tonight’s openers headline a different venue here in Nottingham a few months back, and although I didn’t end up reviewing that particular show it definitely made me keen to get down this evening in time for the early start (with doors opening just after 18:30) so I could catch them again! Continue reading »

Sep 102019


(Our Seattle-based contributor Gonzo re-joins us with another lively concert review, this time reporting on Iron Maiden‘s performance in Tacoma, Washington, on September 5, 2019.)

“It’s only gonna get better from here,” bellows a spry Bruce Dickinson, addressing the Tacoma Dome crowd while standing under a replica Spitfire plane. Dickinson and his band of merry men in Iron Maiden had just torn through iconic opener “Aces High,” complete with said plane dangling from the top of the stage like a marionette during the song’s entirety. This alone would be an impressive spectacle for any live act to pull off, but for Iron Maiden, it’s the warmup.

At this point in the band’s storied career, to expect anything less than this from Iron Maiden would be silly. At 61, Dickinson is as energetic as someone half his age, and Steve Harris and the rest of his bandmates in the indispensable UK metal crew aren’t far behind. Not surprisingly, then, would the band’s 2019 Legacy of the Beast tour be anything less than spectacular? Continue reading »

Sep 032019


(Our Atlanta-based contributor Tør was fortunate to attend the 2019 edition of the Beyond the Gates festival in Bergen, Norway (headlined by Watain, Mayhem, Emperor, and Abbath), which took place on August 21-24, and he provides the following thoughts about the experience, and a treasure-trove of his own wonderful photos.)

Beyond The Gates VIII has just wrapped up and I am back in my Airbnb room — the cool Bergen breeze is coming in through the open window. It has been one hell of a festival with all three days providing quality entertainment for all who were lucky to witness it. I have lots of things to say about the festival itself, the city of Bergen, the country of Norway, and the friends I met along the way: things about why Norway is one of the happiest countries in the world, how Bergen is one of the liveliest cities I have visited, and why metal has become such an international phenomenon. However, those are heavy subjects for my tired soul and best left for another time. For now, a brief overview of the last three days will suffice. Continue reading »

Jul 262019


(A Seattle-based writer who we’ll call Gonzo ventured to Denmark for the 2019 edition of the Copenhell festival, which ran from June 19th through June 22nd. Today’s post covers performances on the fourth and final day of the fest. To read about Gonzo‘s experiences during the first three days, go here, here, and here.)

According to a poll on Copenhell’s Instagram story as of 10:21 a.m. Saturday morning, 64% of festival goers are tired as fuck. I counted myself among them. With a good night’s rest and wearing enough sunscreen to make myself flame retardant, though, we set a course on the 666 express to Refshaleøen once again. If we weren’t tired by this point, we’d be the exception.

Today was the final day of Copenhell 2019. The executive decision to eat something healthy for breakfast, I think, ended up being a wise choice. More fried food was wolfed down at lunch, just as While She Sleeps were getting ready to rock the Pandemonium stage. When we walked in, we could hear Candlebox closing out their set with the unmistakable chorus of “You,” but that would be all we’d get of our hometown grunge rockers. Continue reading »

Jul 252019

BAEST – photo by Bransholm Photography


(A Seattle-based writer who we’ll call Gonzo ventured to Denmark for the 2019 edition of the Copenhell festival, which ran from June 19th through June 22nd. Today’s post covers performances at the third day of the fest. To read about Gonzo‘s experiences during the first two days, go here and here. The wrap-up comes tomorrow.)

After a rough start to the morning due to the sun’s fiendishly bright rays at a truly ungodly hour, coffee began replacing the hope of getting any more sleep. A risky endeavor, especially since the day would be pretty warm, and I am not built for the heat. My hope was that it would be cooler by the harbor at Refshaleøen, but we’d soon find out. Once more into the breach.

The unmistakable smell of barbecued meat and fried food on our way into the festival welcomed us once again. If I wasn’t busy watching bands today, I’d be rolling down the hill after eating my way through this place. Today would be the day I would eat several of whatever these “flying pancakes from hell” were. I didn’t know what made them special, but what I did know was that I didn’t want to have any other type of pancake ever again. Continue reading »

Jul 242019


(A Seattle-based writer who we’ll call Gonzo ventured to Denmark for the 2019 edition of the Copenhell festival, which ran from June 19th through June 22nd. Beginning yesterday (here), and continuing today and for the following two days, we’re sharing his entertaining stories from that adventure.)

I woke up and saw highlights from Katatonia’s much-hyped performance of Night is the New Day all the way through, and sure, it looked like a fun time. I also would’ve likely passed out and fallen over in a ditch somewhere in the harbor if I had gone, so I called it a win and cut my losses. Fuck it. The good news? It wasThursday morning, and three whole days of Copenhell were, at long last, only a few hours and a few kilometers away.

Jumping on the festival bus was easy enough for out-of-towners – the route number changed from its usual operating of “9A” to “666.” The quick ride to the harbor from the city center was full of death growls, beer, and very loud Danes. It was almost enough to make me pity the bus drivers in charge of this route, but they were dealing with the ruckus amazingly well. In fact, negativity just didn’t seem to be a thing in Denmark. You could really say everyone here was… hell-bent…on having a good time. (I also can’t promise that’ll be the last of my “hell” puns through the duration of this. No, I’m not even a little bit sorry.) Continue reading »

Jul 232019


(A Seattle-based writer who we’ll call Gonzo ventured to Denmark for the 2019 edition of the Copenhell festival, which ran from June 19th through June 22nd. Beginning today, and continuing for the next three consecutive days, we’re sharing his entertaining stories from that adventure — though as you’ll discover, the Day One coverage didn’t turn out as planned.)

Summers in the north are great, right up until you want to get some fucking sleep.

I pulled into Copenhagen at around noon, after the requisite transatlantic flight that forced me to stay awake for almost 24 consecutive hours because no way can I ever sleep in a pressurized fart tube at 35,000 feet. It’s been almost 7 years since I’ve been here – the last visit was basically a fly-by on the way to do completely stupid shit to my liver in Munich. So, my recollection of being here is admittedly not great.

Why have I returned, you ask? There’s a festival I’d been curious about for a while called Copenhell that happens every summer in Copenhagen, billing itself audaciously as “the wildest party in the north.” Admittedly, my partying days aren’t quite on the level they used to be, but like some kind of suicidal cat with a tendency to find itself haphazardly swinging from a chandelier after getting into the stash of catnip hidden on top of the fridge, curiosity gets the better of me a bit too often. And why not? I have long fantasized about going to a proper, full-on European festival, and the metal gods seemed to all but conspire this year to usher me to this magical place. Continue reading »