Wednesday, 15 October 2014

M.A.R.S Alternative Freshers Festival @ The Firehouse, Southampton 3.10.2014 - 4.10.2014

Words:  Charlotte Whittingham  Photography:  Pedro Alves

It had come to that time of year; new students flowing into a new city to start a new chapter of their life. For those looking for a more alternative outing M.A.R.S (Metal and Rock Society) at Southampton Solent University were more than happy to accommodate them with a Rock and Metal festival at their local hotspot The Firehouse. This festival was split into to two days; Friday 3rd October being suited more to Hard Rock and Groove Metal fans, on the other hand Saturday 4th October providing a more brutal side to the Metal spectrum.

Friday 3rd October

This fateful evening kicked off with some local flavor in the form of Southampton Progressive Soul outfit SPYTFYRE. It was still early on the evening as people were still arriving as they played us a set consisting of fantastic guitar solos and riffs; I also heard some great melodies. As much as I enjoyed their set musically, I noticed it wasn’t really keeping the crowd interested as patrons continued their conversations, going out for their much-needed cigarette or getting a drink. Overall a pretty decent set, just a shame the crowd didn’t seem to take notice.

Next to take to the stage on this fateful occasion was Brighton Hard Rock piece BY DEFINTION; judging from the moment when they walked onto the stage they had a more active crowd. As they played their set I was reminded of Southern Rock legends Black Stone Cherry with their excellently dirty distorted solos and top-notch vocals. Also the fact I did a lot more head banging than note taking is a sign that I am highly enjoying a set.

Ballsy Hard Rock outfit TRICORN were next to show The Firehouse what they were made of; I had witnessed this hairy cluster of rockers about a few years ago in the same city and was highly impressed with their manly stage presence. When say I masculine stage presence I mean lots of hair and lots of attitude that showed Southampton they meant business. All of that plus some excellent music meant they were able to pull off the perfect set and impress Southampton’s metal heads.

MARCH THE DESERT provided us with the chance to take a break from all the rapid moshing and headbanging to give Southampton’s metal community a chance to re-gather their energy before headliners XII Boar. Musically they were rather enjoyable with their groovy guitar riffs/solos and rough vocals, although the comment I heard most from the crowd about MARCH THE DESERT was how much one of the band members looked uncannily like John Lennon that I wholeheartedly agree with. They certainly got me warmed up ready for the headliners.

After having spoken to XII BOAR and listened to their stuff earlier I was incredibly excited to see what they had to offer live. I must say I was highly impressed with their no-nonsense stage presence, hard rock tunage and the ability to get the crowds going; basically the whole package of a perfect headliner. The crowd went absolutely crazy for them; mosh pits, stage diving and head banging showing us so much glossy hair that would make Pantene bow before the metal community. I honestly did a lot more head banging than note taking during this band meaning I was enjoying XII BOAR a lot.

So this concluded the first night of hard rock, groove metal from Southampton’s very own MARS. I was only anxious to know what the next evening had to offer.

Saturday 4th October

Due to some blunders before leaving to go I was very disappointed to arrive after first act LAID WASTED had finished. From what I remember from their previous shows they often give the crowd a treat; their comical stage presence via Sean Walsh and their music would have been the perfect way to open up the evening of brutality that The Firehouse was about to receive.

The first band I actually got to see that evening were Progressive/Black Metal oufit REIGN OF PERDITION. Now before arriving to the event I was feeling quite stressed so their mellow music actually calmed me down in time before any more bands took to the stage. They also seemed to gain a positive reception from the crowd, which is often good for the first or second band into the evening.

Bristolian Progressive Metal ENDEAVOUR outfit were up next; during this was when the first bout of head banging started to take place. What I really enjoyed about their set was their amazing merge of Progressive and Melodic Metal that in in my opinion created some excellent songs for the The Firehouse’s patrons to enjoy. I was also taken with their lively stage presence, which appeared to be infectious as the crowds seem to do the same.

Black Metal force VEHEMENT were next cast a dark cloud over The Firehouse; I first saw these Eastbourne metal heads a few months ago at the exact same venue, I enjoyed their set then. Now over the past few months I am beginning to have a better appreciation and understanding of any kind of extreme metal and watching them with this new found gratefulness I found I enjoyed VEHEMENT’s set a lot more. Especially when they had the crowd at the palms of their hands from the first death growl; rapid head banging and fist pumping reinforced this. This curse Vehement seemed to have was so powerful that even people at the bar were showing their appreciation in a true metal head fashion. So it’s safe to say Vehement tore the roof off that evening.

Extreme Metal cluster AGHAST stepped into the shoes of main support with true metal fashion. They basically brought brutality to The Firehouse on a silver platter with their lively stage presence, perfect brutal metal tunes and a more than active crowd. I was particularly taken by their set when front man James stood on top of the speakers. This seemed to be the point where The Firehouse got fuller meaning the carnage just increased. After that bout of carnage I was anxious when BASEMENT TORTURE KILLINGS were due to take the stage as Aghast were a tough act to follow.

Headliners BASEMENT TORTURE KILLINGS describe themselves as Murder Metal on their Facebook page and after witnessing their live set it is easy to see why. As the opening song, which was something quite innocent that lured us into a false sense of security. Next minute you see a band that appear to have blood on their hands quite literally as they dominated the stage in their blood stained attire. Their infectious energy passed on into the crowd like the Olympic torch being distributed on. Even though this headliner weren’t quite my cup of tea I definitely thought they were the ideal choice to close the festival of Rock and Metal.

So from this report I am sure you have gathered I enjoyed this local festival of brutality and carnage. This whole festival provided a huge reminder for me as a music journalist why I continue to support underground metal music in any way I can.

Well hello......

Good afternoon readers!

My goodness me I haven't updated this for a long time so much has happened! For instance I was made co-editor in chief at Metal Temple that has provided me with lots of opportunities and responsibilities including setting up guest list spaces for our writers for shows, interviewing some of the biggest names in the Metal community (i.e. Herman Li, Karl Sanders and David DeFais) and getting to experience Bloodstock for the first time as a single lady.

From now on everything I post to Metal Temple will also be posted here too as I would like to continue updating this and keep you guys informed. Starting with my latest review of the MARS Freshers Festival, which will be in the next post!

Take care
Musical Lotty

Friday, 27 June 2014

Ask Me Anything - What do you think your first impression on people is?

I took this idea from fellow blogger Amie Johnson and she gave me her blessing to give it a try for my blog here. She gave me the first question which is:

"What do you think your first impression on people is?"

- Amie Johnson

I really had to think hard on how I could answer this question; I usually like to make a good first impression on people as I like to think I am a nice person and I would never ever intend to hurt or upset anyone. I like to make new friends so I always have a smile on my face and always willing to listen, chat what have you. 

I've started to go with something a friend of mine said when I meet people; "What you see is what you get" so when I first meet people I show them who I really am from the word go. I would never make up lies to impress someone and I would never be rude to someone; I want people to like me for me. In terms of first impressions; I hope I leave a positive one for those I meet, I am a fairly relaxed, chilled out person anyway so I tend to get on with most people and I never get bored of meeting new faces. Sometimes I think I come across as annoying; I don't know why but sometimes I get that vibe, either way I prefer someone tells me this to my face.

So overall I think I leave a good first impression but I really cannot say for certain as it depends on who I meet.    

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Metal Night @ Bar Blue, Eastbourne 05.06.2014

Arriving into Eastbourne on this fateful day I was quite surprised how it’s rural surroundings and quiet town center could be associated with any kind of metal. Attending this Metal Night held at Bar Blue however I was pleased to see that the spirit of metal was being kept alive with a host of bands and a loyal community.

To open up this night of chaos were Brighton based HOLE IN THE SKY. I have seen this band several times and have been impressed with their excellent stage presence.  This night was no exception; given the small crowd that did not stop the Brighton Technical Death Metal outfit from giving it all they’ve got. A capital choice to commence the night of Metal.

Hailing from Manchester Death Metal band ISOLATED were next up to give us a night of hell; in this case that is compliment. As the venue got fuller and the crowds got more chaotic ISOLATED certainly had Eastbourne at the palm of their hands with their phenomenal interaction with the metal head community.  The sort of band I can see playing at festivals; encouraging everyone to let loose and have a great time.

Headlined by London Extreme Metal heads SCUTUM CRUX, no inhibitions were being held this evening when they took to the stage. Their description ‘a no holds-barred extreme  metal maelstrom’ as displayed on the event’s Facebook page seemed evident in their performance of bedlam and pandemonium. Again these being compliments in this case. For me personally this band failed to keep my attention but as for the rest of Bar Blue it seemed to be the vital conclusion to close the bands section of this metal night.

So overall my first experience of an Eastbourne Metal Night has been a excellent one; if you wish to head for a night where you may sacrifice your liver to some vicious yet satisfying Extreme Metal than clearly this is the night for you! Just to note this is coming from a novice Extreme Metal listener.

Words by Charlotte Whittingham

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Live Review: Eden's Curse @ The Underworld, London 25.05.2014

Words by Charlotte Whittingham

As much as I love Melodic Metal it can often be a hit and miss; the miss being that the tunes can all sound similar, with no real variety, so it becomes boring. This was not the case however when I was treated to a mind-blowing night of it headlined by the almighty EDEN’S CURSE with equally brilliant support from TAINTED NATION and DENDERA.

I first arrived at the venue appropriately named The Underworld for the very first time to find people already queuing before the doors opened so they could secure that much needed spot to see their idols. There was certainly excitement and eagerness in the air as I was taken away to interview EDEN’S CURSE.

Upcoming Portsmouth Metal outfit DENDERA had just started playing whilst I was interviewing the headliners. I had seen DENDERA a few times in the past and I must admit I was never overly keen on them before, often likening them to a long boring version of IRON MAIDEN. I was however impressed with their performance on Sunday night; they certainly improved their sound and stage presence this time. They provided us with fantastic melodic metal containing killer guitar solos and riff.  Ashley Edison’s vocals also shone through tremendously. DENDERA were overall the perfect choice to kick off this enticing evening of Melodic Metal.

TAINTED NATION were up next to show London what they were made of. From what I understand vocalist Pete Newdeck is the former drummer of EDEN’S CURSE but I was glad to see that didn’t affect the choice to pick them as the main support. They proved to be the impeccable choice for the main support as they pretty much had the crowds at their feet from the word go. Their amazing melodies featuring some excellent guitar work and powerful vocals brought fellow Metal band DRAGONFORCE to mind. I admired Pete Newdeck’s charismatic stage prescence immensely as he kept his crowds entertained throughout the set, even when there were technical difficulties he carried on like a true metal showman. With a variety of metal tunes that made me smile, they certainly proved to be my perfect kind of Melodic Metal.

With the appearance of headliners EDEN’S CURSE looming I was anxious; TAINTED NATION were a tough act to follow. My anxieties however were swept away when “Symphony Of Sin” was performed with such passion, they provided the introduction I certainly won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

The set EDEN’S CURSE provided encompassed many emphasises that made the performance all worthwhile. These included the infectious energy that had the crowds under their thumbs; their energy was so evident that they even had some fans rocking out at the back of the venue, which was certainly a first. Another highlight being guitarist Thorsten Koehne entering my list of top guitarists in Metal after witnessing his skills as he shredded unique solos and riffs that were completely out of this world. Judging from members of the crowd practising air guitar I am adamant in thinking that these guitar riffs and solos will be becoming Metal classics. Vocalist Nikola Mijic really did himself proud as he belted those singing chords that filled the venue, this live show certainly showed off how versatile his range was and this left me mesmerised.

The set list consisted of an eclectic selection of songs from the beautiful, enchanting single ‘Evil & Divine’ to the liberating ‘Wings To Fly’ this show had everything you could possibly have wanted to make the perfect live performance.

'Angels & Demons' allowed the devoted fans one last mosh before marking the end of an astonishing show.

Talking to fans after the show I was very surprised and delighted to hear that some people travelled thousands of miles to catch their idols play. These included fans from South Korea, Canada and Japan; it was touching to see how much seeing and meeting your idols meant to them. It also reassured me that the Metal scene would certainly be kept alive and kicking by its loyal and dedicated fans.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

New Artist - Anthony Vincent (Ten Second Songs)

When I did an interview with Strange Music they described it as trojan horsing the mainstream.’ – Anthony Vincent, Ten Second Songs

He is taking the Internet, particularly YouTube by storm and music fans genuinely love him. I am talking about ANTHONY VINCENT whose unique version of KATY PERRY’s “Dark Horse” received a lot of praise. This video was meant to advertise his business, this video took on a life of it’s own and went viral.  So what made this video so successful?
“I think it was because it was something that no one else had seen before.” Anthony says. “Usually when you see something unique on YouTube you have the biters [people who want to copy it] but I haven’t seen that maybe because it’s so unique to me.”

As you can see in the video there are a lot of different artist styles featured in this video; from the brutally heavy PANTERA to easy listening Jazz legend FRANK SINATRA this unique cover of ‘Dark Horse’ certainly covered a lot of the music spectrum.
“I jotted down the artists in literally five minutes” Anthony explains “At the top of my head just jotted them down because that’s really my span of influence. Not only is it the kind of music I enjoy but also the kind of music I do with custom songs, which I’ve done for over a year now.”

Since then he has released a brand new cover of JASON DERULO’s 'Talk Dirty To Me' that features more diverse artists including Disco icons BEE GEES to Metal giants SLAYER. When speaking of his methods of future methods the analogy that came from his lips was quite genius:
“When I did an interview with Strange Music they described it as trojan horsing the mainstream” Anthony enlightens “You take a song from the top ten chart and you use that song to show people all these different artists that people aren’t getting enough of or don’t know about. For example you have a pop song sung in the style of NIRVANA, people then want to go and listen to NIRVANA.“

All I can say from this is be sure you keep your eyes peeled for this talented vocalist.

Find Ten Second Songs on Facebook, Twitter and his official website

Friday, 16 May 2014

Word On The Web: Sparks fly over 5FDP stage stunt

The news that is currently stirring the online sphere in the world of music comes in the form of FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and their stage stunt involving nine year old Olivia Douglas. 

It involved lead singer Ivan Moody encouraging Douglas to sing along to the words "Burn MotherF****** Burn" in front of thousands of fans. She appears to be confused and unsure to what's happening in the video, even looking toward her Dad for reassurance. The issue is that it's being classed as abuse from different sources including lawyer Miguel Fernandez who had this to say:
"This child is being used as a prop. I feel sorry for this child. This child is helpless in that position. What does the child do? She's frozen."

Watch the video below:

Would you class this as abuse? I personally wouldn't, the band's intentions wasn't to harm anyone and whether this gets a positive or negative response the band are still receiving publicity.

Find Five Finger Death Punch on Facebook, Twitter and their official website