A Higher Demise

‘The Doctor Will See You Now’.

A Higher Demise

Smashing out from the depths of South-East London, A Higher Demise are here to pulverize your senses. This young 5-piece expertly deliver an intense experience through a huge sound, combined with heavy/melodic vocals, dynamic builds and crushing drops.

Signed to Ambicon Records, the bands latest EP ‘The Doctor Will See You Now’ has gained them tons of press and fans alike, with some seriously serious jaw drop moments that make the hardest metal head break their neck, mixed with the kind of choruses and vocal acrobatics that make crowds scream/sing ‘til they have no voice. Just check out the video to previous release ‘My Therapist Knows You By Name’.

New release ‘All These Reasons’ sees them add the word ‘anthemic’ to the superlatives. Officially released as a single on Monday 6th April, the track’s video is already out there and building views. The band are playing shows throughout the year, unafraid to stand out from their melodic metalcore crowd and mix it with thrash, death and hardcore bands alike – with supports for the likes of Balls Deep, One Machine (Ex Testament) and Cypher 16 all booked.

Download 2015

Greetings, well, Download 2015 is almost upon us… and as the bill posters starts to fill up, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the bands playing, but more importantly, give our opinion of the ones to watch over the weekend. Sometimes, when looking at the bill, it can be a little daunting, with people tending to stick with the main stage acts, but there’s so much to discover if you’re willing to look a little deeper! So here’s a quick preview of the ones to watch.

King 810

Providing these guys make it to the UK and don’t get stopped at the airport, like they did last year, there’s more to these guys than meets the eye. That said, they did manage to enter the country for Download Freezes tour, which took place at the tail end of 2014, so visas and passports must all be in order by now. With that minor detail out the way, they were also asked back here to support the mighty Slipknot in January, which is a real honour, as those guys don’t ask just anyone to support them! Don’t expect all out hell with these guys, like I said, they are more than just a metal band, if you listen closely to their lyrics, I’d almost go as far as to say they are modern day poets! These guys are for the deep thinkers and heavy drinkers. Catch these guys on the 3rd stage on the Sunday.

King 810

Black Star Riders

From the dying embers of Thin Lizzy, original founding member Mr. Scott Gorham and the rest of the current members that made up the band at the time, called it a day and rebranded as Black Star Riders. Doing this enabled them to move forward with writing new material and why not, with so much talent in this band, writing and performing music is what they do best. Since seeing these guys perform for the first time as the new band at the Marshall Amps theatre, I’ve been hooked. They successfully performed at DL13 as a late entry, on the main stage, to a packed out crowd who couldn’t help but sing along to some of the Thin Lizzy classics they have in their set, as well as to the new material. Having recently released their 2nd album, titled “The Killer Instinct” I’ll be eagerly watching these guys on the day. They play the Encore stage on the Saturday.

Black Star Riders

Heat

Another bunch of Swedish rocker’s here who I’ve yet to catch play live, but our review of their latest album “Tear Down the Walls” was a firm favourite with our reviewer. These guys are more your traditional rock and roll, such as Thin Lizzy and Alice Cooper, having supported both these acts, I’m very much looking forward to seeing these guys perform on the large stage. You can catch these guys on the Encore stage on the Friday.

Clutch

I’ve been following this band with keen interest for years now. Having seen one of the best live shows of my life at a Clutch gig, which incidentally was also on one of the hottest days of that year, you can only imagine the carnage. This band are hard to categories as their music is so diverse but if you make time to go through their back catalogue which spans over 20 years on 8 albums, you’ll hear what I mean. You get Punk, Rock, southern rock, metal, but one thing that runs through them all, are catchy tunes, with great lyrics and heavy riffs! I was both surprised and elated when they got announced to play this year and I’m predicting one of the best sets of the weekend from these guys! Catch them when they play the main stage of Friday.

Clutch

Marilyn Mason

Having seen MM twice now, the first time was fantastic, the second not so much. On each of his last three albums, I’ve managed to find one or two stand out tracks that are worth their salt, however, this year he has come back with a bang, thanks to the release of his new album “The Pale Emperor”. The media have gone nuts for this latest offering, which I’m sure has helped to secure his slot at this years festival. With this new, amazing album, which we’re loving at the moment and his impressive back catalogue, I’ll be at the barriers for this performance to see if he really is back on form, which we hope to be the case as he’s such a great act! MM plays the Encore stage headliner for the Saturday.

Parkway Drive

In my opinion, these guys are one of the best metal/hardcore bands around, who are hugely under rated. I’m yet to see these guys play live so I’m relishing the opportunity to see these guys play the main stage on Saturday.

Evil Scarecrow

If you’ve been to some of the smaller, independent metal festivals this country have to offer, you’ve no doubt come across this band in the past. By far, one of the hardest working, liveliest, loveliest, metal parody bands around and they ain’t too far away either, as they are based in and around Nottinghamshire. After their main stage appearance at Bloodstock last year, which can only be described as a triumph, they have written themselves into the history books of folk law with that show, as they had a larger crowd than Megadeth, who played the same stage on the same day! If you’re looking for a good time, with plenty of crowd participation, I’d strongly recommend this band, we love them. You can find these guys playing the third stage on the Saturday.

Dr Rabid Hell - Evil Scarecrow

Five Finger Death Punch

After an epic performance at DL13, it’s no surprise these guys have been called back to perform for Download again. These guys have steadily increased in popularity since they burst onto the scene back in 2005 and if you like your heavy metal full of drama, these guys won’t fail to disappoint. Last time, they invited a load of kids up on stage with them, which almost ended with Ivan punching a steward for being unkind to one of the kids! I’m predicting 5FDP will also produce one of the best sets of the weekend also, they play after Clutch on the Main stage on Friday.

Bombus

These Swedish riff machines are a cross between the ever popular “Mastodon and “Planet of Zeus”. We caught this band recently when they supported Monster Magnet. If you’re looking for high energy, pure riff fueled rock and roll, do not miss these guys, who play the 4th stage on the Friday.

Bombus

Lamb of God

Probably one of the heaviest bands on the bill this year, I for one cannot wait to see these guys play, having missed their headline performance at Bloodstock a few years ago. I’m pretty sure every metal head has heard of these guys. If you keep up with current events in the news, you may even be aware of the turmoil that surrounded the band a few years ago, when Randy Blythe had to go to court regarding the death of a fan, at one of their shows, in Europe. With all that nonsense behind them, the band are moving forward, playing festivals and supporting acts like Slipknot this summer – do not miss these guys if you like it raw to the bone! They play the Encore stage on the Sunday.

Muse

These guys have been a real talking point for this years festival, with many die hard Downloaders being disappointed with the fact they are headlining. The same happened when Linkin Park got announced to headline last year and look what happened there! The fact is, Muse are an amazing live act, with a visual live show that’s sure to leave doubters reaching for the lasers. The band are currently in the middle of recording a new album and I for one can’t wait for its release as I’ve loved the band since I discovered them back at university, many many years ago now. As we were one of the first to suggest Muse headline this years festival (we were also one of the first to suggest LP play last year) I will defend Downloads decision to put them on as a headliner. I know their set will be heavy, to please some of the faithful and I’m so excited to see these guys play, a little wee has come out just thinking about their set!

I hope this has been of some use, we may do a follow up, once ALL the bands have officially been announced, as there are still many more yet to come! It won’t be long though, eeek, its just over four months away, I CANNOT WAIT!

Words and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Black Label Society

With Support From Crobot and Black Tusk.
Rock City Nottingham 18th February 2015.

Tonight’s gig was the stuff of dreams and one that’s been in my diary for a while now. With such an incredible line up, which I’m dubbing an American Invasion, it was certainly one I wasn’t prepared to miss!

Getting to Nottingham, with all the road works about just lately, is an absolute nightmare. With early doors of 6pm, I managed to leave work 10mins early and drove like a bat out of hell to get to Rock City in time. Thankfully, despite my panic the first band didn’t take to the stage until 6.45pm, but I didn’t know that at the time. I arrived all a fluster, but I’d made it and in time to see the first of two great support acts.

Crobot are from the small town of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, which was home for these guys but of late they have been a touring band, so a van or tour bus is where they currently reside – I hope its comfortable? I first discovered “Something Supernatural” the bands debut album, after speaking with legendary bassist Rex Brown, who mentioned them in an interview as they were touring with Kill Devil Hill at the time. Last year alone, Crobot toured with Chevelle, Clutch, The Sword, Truckfighters, KYNG and more, in addition to playing festivals such as SXSW and Rock on the Range. This year, the band are already linked with the following tours, Limp Bizkit, Buckcherry, fellow Wind Up Records band Filter and obviously tonight’s main event, the legendary Black Label Society.

Brandon Yeagley - Crobot

Crobot describes their music as “Dirty. Groove. Rock.” Personally, they remind me of bands such as Buffalo Summer and Scorpion Child. Tonight’s set was incredible, a little dark on the lighting but the sound was immense! These guys are certainly a band you need to see live! After their set, I saw all four band members walking around the venue talking to people, posing for photos, signing CD’s and most importantly, vinyl copies of their latest album. Sadly I missed getting my album signed!

Another American band up next, with a shift in genres to heavy sludge metal, courtesy of Black Tusk, from Savannah, Georgia. Apparently, these guys all grew up together and lived on the same street, after continuously jamming they officially formed back in 2006. Now signed to Relapse Records, these guys have already released five studio albums, the latest being “Tend No Wounds” which is heavy as f*ck! I’m also digging their latest two track EP ‘Vulture’s Eye’, released last year. These guys are good friends with Baroness’ guitarist and vocalist John Dyer Baizley, who is also a painter and creates all of Black Tusk’s album artwork!

The band, themselves have coined the phrase “Swamp Metal” to describe their sound and is more a reference to the climate in which they have created their music, personally, I get lost with all these sub genres so lets just say, they are a heavy metal band, with fantastic energy, who produce great music.

Andrew Fidler - Black Tusk

My only criticism of tonight’s set, was the lack of variety between tracks, each track started to sound like the last by the end of the set. Being only a three piece, it must be hard to vary the sound I guess, but what they do, they do well. No one person is responsible for the vocals, which I though unique, all three had a go which you don’t see all that often, if ever!

Corey Barhorst - Black Tusk

That said, the bands final track of the night really changed things up, it’s intro was quite touching though, Andrew’s (vocals and guitar) brother died in a motorcycle accident, so they paid tribute to his memory and the crowd were invited to do the same, which they did, beautifully, RIP sir. Black Tusk then proceeded to blast out one of the best tracks in their set tonight. Awesome! Sadly, I couldn’t capture or find their set list on the interweb, so apologies.

So Black Label Society then, who hail from Los Angeles, California. From what I can gather, some, if not all his fans have labelled Mr Zakk Wylde as god! Personally I’d say he’s the gladiator of metal, but what do I know! Whilst stood in his presence, I did feel some what inferior though, I must say, well the guy is built like a brick shit house! I wouldn’t wanna cross him and for that reason, I’m going to try and make this review extra special, oh and I’m not a huge fan of Kanye West either!

In all seriousness I’m pretty much a new comer when it comes to this artist, yes, I hang my head in shame. I’ve known of tracks like “Crazy Horse” and “Concrete Jungle” for like forever, but it wasn’t until I was given a copy of the bands latest album “Catacombs of the Black Vatican” which was one of my top 10 albums of 2014 I might add, that I really got into Black Label society. Lets just say I’ve been relishing the opportunity to revisit all their previous albums, there’s nine in total, that’s not including the two live albums!

Zakk Wylde... Black Label Society

Black Label Society are a band first and foremost, formed when lead vocalist and guitarist Zakk fell out with Ozzy Osbourne back in 1996 (I see a pattern emerging here, what with Jake E Lee, see that review also). The full band consists of Zakk Wylde – Vocals/ Guitar, John DeServio – Bass, Jeff Fabb – Drums and Dario Lorina – Guitar. During my research I did discover that Robert Trujillo (now in Metallica) used to head up bass duties for BLS, it’s a small world a? Sadly, even with Zakk’s epic guitar solo’s, three tracks ain’t very long and I didn’t want to miss any photographic opportunities capturing this iconic figure of metal, so sorry to the rest of the band, as I didn’t get any shots of you guys!

Zakk Wylde - BLS

Before tonight’s EPIC set, the stage was shrouded in mystery as a massive Black Label Society curtain blocked our view, which is the first time I’ve seen this happen at this venue. As the stage was readied for the messiah’s presence, we waiting in anticipation – you could cut the tension with a knife! Tonight’s show was pretty much a sell out, therefore floor space was at a premium but we’re metal fans, we get on! As the band took to the stage, I could see from the side, as I waited to get into the pit, a stage hand, handed Zakk his guitar and gave him a congratulatory hug then left him to ready himself. As the first notes rung out, the curtain dropped and all was revealed! After the crew got rid of the curtain, us togs were allowed to enter, by now though, our numbers seemed to have multiplied three fold since the support acts, which really pisses me off! If you’re going to review a show, review the whole show, not just the headliners, anyway, I digress!

Zakk Wylde - Black Label Society

What separates BLS with other acts, in my opinion, is they know how to entertain a crowd. The lighting tonight was second to non, which is as rare as rocking horse shit. The sound made your ears bleed, which every metal head loves god bless you my child and the band were energetic with Zakk posing at every available opportunity. Couple that with an amazing set list, which spans nearly three decades, each and every person in the crowd singing back to the band, at the top of their voices, you can’t fail to have a fantastic time. Simply put, tonight’s set was a master class in live music and entertainment. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you check out BLS when they play Bloodstock festival in the summer, I predict that will be an insane show, also! Thanks for reading Peace!

Full Set List:

1.Whole Lotta Sabbath 2.The Beginning… At Last 3.Funeral Bell 4.Bleed for Me 5.Heart of Darkness 6.Suicide Messiah 7.My Dying Time 8.Damn the Flood 9.Guitar Solo 10.Godspeed Hell Bound 11.Angel of Mercy 12.In This River 13.The Blessed Hellride 14.Concrete Jungle 15.Stillborn

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)