Sunday, 28 November 2010

A New Tomorrow - 27 Nov 2010 (Water Rats)

I was really unhappy when I found out that I couldnt attend the first ever gig of A New Tomorrow, so when I heard that they were playing again I just had to go. The history and the line up for this band is just so interesting that it makes it a top priority to go and see them. So, second gig ever for this, relatively, new band from London and God I wished the second gigs of all new bands sounded just like that! The energy and confidence that the band had and was giving out was huge and it really reached the crowd which responded in the appropriate way.  The band performed a short 35-40 minutes set and despite the bad sound during the first song things improved dramatically as the songs were coming in and eventually turned out to an amazing sound for such a small venue. The sound of the band was “enormous”, as someone from the crowd described it to me during the set, and really filled the venue.  Alessio Garavello(Vocals-Guitar)’s voice is extremely powerful and he can reach notes that are “over the rainbow” so easily that it seems as if it is a game for a 3-year-old. To accompany Alessio’s voice you had the beautiful guitar licks from Edward Cooper(Guitar). Edward manages to get out of his guitar a great tone and his timing on when to kick in with the solo parts was just perfect! The solos came in just at the right moment to lift up the songs into that next level of greatness that is needed for any good song to leave an impact on the public. The rhythm section of the band, Andrea on bass and JD on drums, was excellent and was really going for it with an amazing willingness to reach the crowd. Many times when performing, people get the feeling that they can reach the sky and the stars... well I’m pretty sure that A New Tomorrow did that tonight and I’m certain that they took many people from the public with them. Check out their Myspace here!

 A New Tomorrow: 9/10

Posted by Nick 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Exodus - 23 Nov 2010 (Islington Academy)

Well tonight I left the academy and all I could hear buzzing in my ears was: E-XO-DUS, E-XO-DUS, E-XO-DUS... My god(if you exist) what a gig!!! There are some bands out there that provide some kind of safety when it comes to gig. Of course I don’t mean personal safety, I mean Heavy Fucking Metal safety, where bands such as: Machine Head, Lamb of God, Iron Maiden etc just give you one hell of a good time. Well in this list, that I have just developed before you, make sure not to miss EXODUS. You can’t really miss it now that it is in capitals and bold! The academy was packed tonight! Not a full house but not far at all, which gave the necessary space for this gig to become a mosh-pitting paradise. Exodus came on stage with a very strong and aggressive set and that was just the beginning of a great night. Rob Duke(Vocals) created a special connection with the crowd and just made everybody go crazy, especially on songs such as The Toxic Waltz, War Is My Shepherd and Children of a Worthless God. At some point Duke wasn’t completely happy with how the crowd was mosh-pitting so he just jumped down and showed everybody how it’s done. The energy that these Californian thrashers were giving out was immense and the solos of Gary Holt(Guitar) were ripping through all night long. Holt is a great shredder and has an amazing technique on the guitar reaching the elite status that only a very few players have in the metal scene. As the set was coming to an end the pit was getting bigger and bigger and more and more people were getting involved. The crowd surfers had some fun as well and gave a very hard time to the security guys since a few of them even made it to the stage to say “Hi” to the band. Overall a great gig, and I can support this by giving you some "after-the-gig" stats:
-Two persons knocked out in the middle of the pit
-One person with a broken leg
-One person with a broken nose
-About six hundred and sixty six bruises...and thats only on me!

Exodus: 19/20
Posted by Nick 

Monday, 22 November 2010

Minkus - 18 Nov 2010 (Buzz - Lausanne, CH)

It is quite a shame that some bands that deserve to get out of their country and present themselves to the world don’t, while others that should had stayed in their rooms do. This time I had to travel to Switzerland to discover this band. Minkus is a band founded in Lausanne, Switzerland 9 years ago and today they are just on the world’s doorstep waiting to step in. This is also why although this band is signed to a label I will assess it as an unsigned band. So here I am at the Buzz Club in Lausanne and Minkus is up next. Despite the awful sound of the venue, Minkus came up aggressively and with a nicely built atmosphere the band provided a well balanced set.  Despite the short length of the set the crowd seemed to enjoy the songs and in particular the cover that Minkus did of last year’s UK Christmas number one: “Killing in the Name”. Just so that you understand what Minkus sounds like it is a mixture between Rage against the Machine and Hatebreed but not quite that. They have something unique in their song-writing and in their performance that without a doubt makes them one of the best metal bands in Switzerland. The new album is coming out in March and you should definitely give it a try. Along with the new album there is also a video clip coming out, featuring one of the songs on the new album: “Shout”. I had the chance to attend the shootings of the video and will post a small review on it as soon as it comes out early next year. Until then you can check out their Myspace here.

Minkus: 8/10

Posted by Nick

Monday, 15 November 2010

Nick Harper - 14 Nov 2010 (The Social)

I first heard about Nick Harper two or three years ago when I got in London, and I only got to properly hear and see him tonight, and I have to say I was mesmerized by this guy. As some have already called him Nick Harper is the unsung hero of English music, and I have to say that it is probably true. You hear very little of this man while you should hear a hell lot about him instead. Not only he is amazingly good at guitar he also has a very powerful voice and a very good sense of humour. The whole gig was just an amazing trip to the Harper world just like his dad, that probably a few of you already know, used to do. Yes, Nick is the son of guitar legend Roy Harper but please, don’t let that cloud your mind. Nick is on a league of his own. The guitar playing and the voice are just amazing and the best of it is that he does everything on his own, just him and his guitars. For this gig I was joined by one of my very good friends and when we entered this small London venue I knew that the night would be very interesting. First up we had a duet that sang and played guitar with some nice tunes but I’m afraid to say not very captivating. Mancub Babywoman, as they are called, gave a nice performance but the low self esteem of Charlotte King(Vocals) was something that somehow ruined their stage presence and set. However I do believe that everybody enjoyed the set and didn’t find it annoying. Nick Harper came on stage next and with a mind blowing, ball-grabbing solo he just got everybody’s attention before he started to sing. I have to admit that this guy plays the guitar like most of the guitar heroes out there, and I wonder if he doesn’t play better than some of them too. During the set he delivered a variety of his compositions which are absolutely beautiful and feel as if they have a soul of their own when he sings them. Nick has an amazing range in his voice and can reach notes that most of the singers can’t even reach in their dreams. The interaction with the public was amazing and the use of environment was perfect. Nick didn't miss any opportunities to make a joke or point out something funny. Also one of the things that you have to witness at a Nick Harper gig is the re-stringing of the guitar when he breaks a string. All those who play guitar know what a pain it is to re-string a guitar and personally I've never seen anybody re-stringing a guitar on stage. Nick on the other hand does it while playing and singing. How? You’ll have to go to his gig and find out on your own...or you could Youtube it! For the encore Nick delivered two songs on the 12string guitar and exited the building in a very cheerful and interesting way. To sum this up I can only recommend that you go to a Nick Harper gig whenever you get the chance. It is an amazing experience. Make sure to take somebody with you though because it is definitely an experience that needs sharing!

Nick Harper: 20/20
Mancub Babywoman: 14/20

Posted by Nick

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Devildriver - 13 Nov 2010 (The Forum)

Welcome to the crowd surfing and circle pit’s paradise! With a bill listing bands such as 36 Crazyfists and Devildriver you can be sure that the crowd will be amazingly crazy and aggressive. First on stage were 36 Crazyfists and I have to say that this guys know how to put up a great show. The band lifted up the crowd with an amazing energy on stage, especially by Brock Lindow(Vocals) who didn’t even hesitate at jumping inside the pit from the stage just to say hi to his friends down there. The band prepared an amazing set list that included tracks such as Slit Wrist Theory, Bloodwork or The Heart & the Shape. The crowd was amazing and the crowdsurfers didn’t stop for a second and so did the pits which were very aggressive and probably very fun too. I say probably because this time, being tortured by this cold that’s been haunting me for a week now, I decided not to join the pit and sit on the upper level of the Forum. On one hand I missed the intensity of the pits which looked awesome but on the other hand I got to witness all the frenzy that went through when Devildriver came on. What I saw from up there was something I haven’t seen in a while now. The crowd went absolutely mental for Devildriver. The band came up and ripped everything apart. They delivered songs from all Pray for Villains, The Last Kind Words and The Fury of our Maker’s Hand albums. Songs such as Clouds Over California or Forgiveness Is a Six Gun really made it for everybody. Dez Fafara(Vocals) seemed to have a great night and made sure to give a hand to all the crowdsurfers that made it to the security pit. I have to say that the last time that I saw so many crowdsurfers was probably at the Lamb of God gig last February where, according to Metal Hammer, there were 234 crowdsurfers coming over the barriers. I’m very interested in getting some numbers for this gig so if by any chance you get them just leave them in the comment section! Also one of the things that couldn’t be missing from a Devildriver gig is of course the massive circle pits. Despite the fact that the venue was packed and that the space was somehow limited, the pits did get quite big and aggressive and it was definitely very nice to watch them from above. Of course when you are Devildriver and you are playing London you have to play the song that is written about London so “let’s start a riot” and play Another Night in London. The song was amazing to be heard in this context and I’m sure that Dez, the crowd and everybody in the Forum did enjoy it a lot(maybe not the security guys). Overall a great gig and a message for the future: Do not miss the next Devildriver or 36 Crazyfists gig!

Devildriver: 19/20
36 Crazyfists: 19/20

Posted by Nick 

Friday, 12 November 2010

Amorphis - 11 Nov 2010 (Islington Academy)

As a few of you probably already know, last time Amorphis was in the UK was also the first time they were in the UK, and the only show that they had scheduled was in the Underworld in Camden, London. That particular show sold out a few weeks before the gig and people from all across the UK came to see it. This was not the case today. Having already played gigs in Manchester and Glasgow, tonight Amorphis faced a Londonian crowd that seemed to enjoy the gig till the last second. However I will be describing that later because before Amorphis two other bands made it to the stage. First to face the crowd was Ghost Brigade from Finland. I wasn’t particularly familiar with this band but I have to say that I liked what I heard and saw. This band has some great dark, gloomy vocals as well as nice growls. The melodic interchanges that happen during the songs are very interesting and it kind of reminds me of the early Anathema era. The atmospheric passages are very well executed and the feeling that the band gives toward the crowd is very strong. It sometimes reminded me of the My Dying Bride kind of atmosphere that you get at a MDB gig.  Towards the end of the set the energy that the guys were giving out was amazing and the crowd that was there, despite their little number, seemed to enjoy it.  Next on stage we had a completely different style of metal and a completely different culture too. Have you ever heard of Middle Eastern Heavy Metal? If yes: then well done. If no: shame on you. Not to worry though, Orphaned Land is here to teach you everything about it. The band came up with a good energy but the technical problems seemed to bring them down a bit. The band from Israel has some very strong influences from their traditional music and it does give a different colour to the whole thing since the wide use of the somehow oriental melodies and harmonies reminds you of the Middle East instantly. This can be quite a pleasant thing but it can also be very annoying if this is not your cup of tea...or pint of beer. Towards the end of the set the band overcame the technical problems and really managed to carry the whole academy with them which was very pleasant. And then it was time for the headliner of the night. As always Amorphis were atmospherically beautiful. The set list was composed from a few songs from Skyforger, such as My Sun and Skyforger, but also by tracks from albums from the Koskinen era such as Alone and My Kantele with My Kantele along with Silver Bride being performed during the encore. Tomi Joutsen(Vocals) really gave everything he could, despite the flu that was torturing him, and so did Tomi Koivusaari(Guitar) and the rest of the guys. The voice of Joutsen has many times been described as the best thing that ever happen to Amorphis and I think it might be true. Overall a classic performance by this amazing band, which I particularly enjoyed and I believe so did the crowd, which was awesome. The amazing thing about Amorphis’ crowd is that it is a very diverse crowd, which is kind of nice. I was particularly impressed by a man in his 60s'(not your average metalhead grandpa) wearing some sort of “suit jacket” on the front of the stage giving out everything he had and clearly loving it! Hopefully we’ll all be doing the same when we get to that age.

Amorphis: 19/20
Orphaned Land: 17/20
Ghost Brigade 17/20

Posted by Nick 

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Jägermeister Tour - 9 Nov 2010 (Islington Academy)

First leg of this year’s Jägermeister Tour and the line up didn’t look too bad. First on the bill for the London show was Never Means Maybe. The band came up with a good energy but they were lacking that extra boost that they needed to smash the place up. Despite the lack of people in the venue the band did give out a nice show that to me sounded a bit like a Coheed & Cambria with heavier riffs and a touch of Soulfly. They had very nice musical passages and the clean vocals were very nice. The unclean vocals however lacked the energy and the volume. Generally a pleasant gig from this Essex band. Next on stage were The Defiled from London. Despite the crazy keyboards player which stole the show the rest of the band was not really giving out anything.  Some of the riffs reminded Slipknot and the beginning of the set was very “clumsy”. Towards the end of the set things started to get better but still they didn’t manage to draw the crowd towards them. The band members generally were not tight between them and that made them sound a bit un-professional. Generally I was not impressed by them. Up next were Exit Ten. When this band from Reading started playing the first thought I had was: System of a Down. I soon founded out that they had nothing to do with them. This band combines heavy/hardcore riffs with clean vocals and I have to say although it sounded a bit strange to me in the beginning it kind of works. The band came on stage with lots of confidence and energy and the crowd responded to their call with enthusiasm that they kept during the whole set. The vocals were very good and sometimes the singer even reminded me of Jim Morisson. The band will be recording their album after this tour so you might want to check it out. And to end the night the headline was Sylosis. Another Reading band that probably more of you know. Sylosis recently lost their vocalist when he left before the summer and Josh Middleton( Guitar & Vocals) took up the position. However knowing Sylosis with a vocalist it felt to me as the front man position was still empty. The band in general was good with a good energy and with mind blowing riffs. The band was extremely tight and it really made the riffs come out very well. The guitars in this band are amazing and the unison parts that they play sound really good while the lead parts are just brilliantly executed despite their technical difficulty. Sylosis is also releasing a new album very soon so if you are a fan of the band check it out because the samples we heard tonight were really good.

Sylosis: 17/20
Exit Ten: 17/20
The Defiled: 14/20
Never Means Maybe: 15/20 

Posted by Nick 

Monday, 8 November 2010

Job for a Cowboy - Whitechapel - 7 Nov 2010 (Dingwalls)

I have been looking forward to this gig, since last time I saw this bands they were occupying the support band’s spot and everybody knows that it is not the best spot to impress. Whitechapel came on first and the boost that they gave to the whole crowd was unbelievable. These guys are really getting better and better every time I see them. Despite the amp problems that Ben Savage(Guitar) had  the band kicked off with a lot of energy and The darkest day of man from the A new Era of Corruption album and then came in the headbangingly amazing Possession. Phil Bozeman(Vocals) was really good and really makes me think that he has one of the best brutal vocals out there. The set list was satisfying but I have to admit I was expecting more new material to be played. Songs like Devolver and End of Flesh for example. The set ended with the classic now This is Exile. Crowd wise it was f*cking brutal. The crowd just loved it. Due to the way things are set up in Dingwalls there were a hell lot of stage divers and crowd surfers. Some of them even visited the shoes of Ben Savage to give them a nice little kiss. Then came on Job for a Cowboy. I have to say that once again the guys failed to impress me. On the albums they sound amazingly brutal and heavy but somehow on the stage they are unable to deliver that feeling. They are missing the “ball-grabbing” factor. Despite that the crowd kept on going mental especially on songs such as Entombment of a Machine. Later on I even heard that some punches were delivered on stage. All jolly nice init mates? Overall: a satisfying gig but not impressive. The word is that Whitechapel is thinking to do a headlining tour in the UK and Europe some time next spring. I personally hope that it is true because a headlining Whitechapel is a good Whitechapel. Until then Job for a Cowboy and Whitechapel are still on tour in the UK and Europe so go out and check them out when they come near you!

Job for a Cowboy: 15/20
Whitechapel: 17/20

Posted by Nick

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Neonfly - 5 Nov 2010 (Purple Turtle)

Neonfly was flying tonight at the Purple Turtle. The band went through a big change in the last few months when Tamás Csemez who used to hold the mic for Neonfly suddenly left the band and had to be replaced. Luckily Willy Norton(Vocals) stepped out of the shade and stood under the spotlight. And what a terrific job he did. If you are not familiar with Neonfly let me describe them for you: Get a Gojira loving drummer, two long haired riffers that are as tight as a know....and a dreadlock bass player that is better at circle headbanging than Corey Beaulieu. What do you get? POWER!!!! Neonfly is the perfect mix between melody, heavy and power! So obviously they needed a singer who could deliver all of that as well. Well Willy didn’t disappoint me at all. He delivered so well on stage that he gave to Neonfly a massive lift...a bit like the surgeons do to Mick Jagger’s face. The band was very tight and gave out an amazing energy. The Turtle was packed, since the line up for the evening was very attractive, and what a great opportunity to present the new singer to a wider Londonian crowd. Neonfly came on with an amazing energy and the riffs of Frederick Thunder(Guitar) filled the venue with a very pleasant heaviness! During the set the band presented some new songs, due to be recorded on the band’s first album some time in the beginning of next year, so keep an eye open for that. Towards the end of the set the ever so melodic Ship with No Sails and the new Star Trek fans anthem I think I saw a UFO where the ones to show how good the band is and concluded this great set. Neonfly is currently on tour with Freedom Call, across the UK. Check out their website for the full tour dates.

Neonfly: 8,5/10

Posted by Nick