Mar 022020
 

 

(On March 1, 2020, Andy Synn witnessed the performances of Harrowed, Calligram, and Geist at the Chameleon Bar in Nottingham, UK, and provides this review of the show, accompanied by videos that he made.)

It’s a little-known fact, but Hardcore was my “first love” when it comes to “alternative” music.

In fact, bands like Earth Crisis, Shai Hulud, and Vision of Disorder weren’t just some of my earliest encounters with music outside of “the mainstream”, but were my gateway into Metal too.

And while my tastes have definitely moved on since then, I’ve still retained a lot of love for the more metallic side of Hardcore, especially when/where it collides with other, even heavier, genres (last year’s Fuming Mouth and Totaled albums being prime examples).

My attendance at this evening’s gig was, therefore, pretty much mandatory, as all three of the bands on the bill (all of whom I’ve written about here before) have, over the course of the past couple of years, developed a well-deserved reputation as some of the best proponents of Metallic Hardcore that the UK has to offer.

And how was I going to say no to the opportunity to see them all together in a small local venue no more than twenty minutes from my house? Continue reading »

Jan 312020
 


Leeched

 

(Andy Synn turned in this review of the performances by Leeched, Geist, and Tuskar in Nottingham, England last night — January 30th — with some of his own video documentation of the experience.)

Sometimes, despite all our best intentions, things just don’t work out quite the way we want them to.

That was certainly the case this evening, as, for various reasons which I won’t go into here, I ended up being massively delayed getting to this show, and therefore missed both the local openers Pemphigoid and Underdark.

This was actually doubly-unfortunate too – firstly because while I’ve never been the biggest fan of the latter, the last few times I’ve seen them it’s felt like they’re finally starting to live up to (at least some of) the hype , so I was hoping to see if this trend continued, and secondly because I’ve not yet managed to catch the former band live, and this was going to be my first chance to do so.

Still, putting aside these regrets and recriminations for the moment, I suppose you’re all wondering how the rest of the show went? Continue reading »

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 2005! 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 »