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.

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)

Hils Ovation

The Slade Rooms Wolverhampton 14th February 2015.

It’s Valentine’s Day folks, just in case you didn’t know – and tonight we have five fantastic bands giving us the ideal opportunity to show some love for the live music scene here in the Midlands. Our line up for this evening will see Fires That Divide, Interrobang, Hope For Return, Novacrow and our headliners of the night, Mallen, take to the stage here at The Slade Rooms – so plenty of good music to look forward to!

First band for tonight were the local rockers Fires That Divide and personally for me, there is nothing I love more than seeing a band that is fresh in enthusiasm and positive in its approach – so straight up, these guys certainly get the thumbs up from me. Kirk Shuttleworth on lead vocals and guitar, makes for an impressive front man with a voice that cuts the rock ’n’ roll edge easily and with the most able of accompaniment from Steven Norton on guitar, Marc Harris on drums and Steve Knight on bass, Fires That Divide are the kind of band that you need to put on your radar. The band have just finished recording their debut EP, which I believe will see light of day next month, so roll on March as that is definitely a new release I am looking forward to.

Steven Norton - Fires That Divide

It was a sad day indeed when Diamond Lil called it a day but I secretly hoped that it wouldn’t be too long before Ellis Wilde picked up the mic again and set about launching a new era and I’m exceptionally chuffed to say that Interrobang are well and truly launched! Describing themselves as sitting within the grunge and alternative rock vein doesn’t quite cover it in my book, as the music that Interrobang have created for themselves delivers a far greater appeal especially when you take into account the melodic snazzy skills of guitar maestro, Sam Rutter. Great performance from Interrobang tonight and I’m looking forward to catching many more!

Ellis Wilde - Interrobang

Our third band up on stage tonight were West Midland locals, Hope For Return. Three is definitely the magic number here as this band fit together tightly and deliver one heck of a punchy edge within their crafted alternative rock. Tonight’s performance from the band went down a storm and with several other gigs already booked in the diary for the forthcoming months, there are a fair few opportunities to get down to a local venue and catch up with them. There is also a new single heading our way from Hope For Return which we don’t have too long to wait for, as ‘Get Your Gun’ is set for release on 2nd March. Check these guys out over on their Facebook page or on their new website as there’s lots of good things about to happen!

Si - Hope For Return

Prior to tonight’s gig, I’d made a point of checking out Novacrow’s Facebook page to get a flavour for the band and in doing that, I’d kinda got the feeling that Novacrow were going to be the kind of band that simply evoke good tunes and good times in a live setting. I’m very pleased to say that not only did they meet that expectation but they also surpassed it as boy, this band are an absolute pleasure to watch. Lead songstress, Kitty Staunton gave a firecracker of a performance and the warmth of her personality and huge smile were clearly appreciated by tonight’s audience. I also have to pay homage to the other members of Novacrow, as Jonyx, Feberico and Torben have equal amounts of stage presence aswell, making Novacrow one fantastic fit!

Kitty Staunton - Novacrow

Good words have frequently been said about our headlining band from many a reliable source and with so much positivity building up within their growing fan base, Mallen had become a band that I had been looking forward to seeing for some time. With their impressive band line up including the amazing Kelly Mallen on vocals, Dann Pritchard on guitar, Dean Ellis on bass and Thomas Crowfoot on drums, this up and coming band have oodles of promise and when you add in the fact that they released their debut EP ‘Ignition’ yesterday, tonight was certainly a good time to make their acquaintance.

Dann Pritchard - Mallen

With the release of ‘Ignition’ clearly being a milestone of pride for the band, tonight’s set opened with the superb track ’Welcome To The Edge’ which in my opinion, is a song that could easily earn itself the prime position of band anthem as it is the perfect showcase for the combined power of Mallen. Having said that tho, these guys and gal know how to write and perform great songs that are born to leave you wanting more and tonight’s set did just that for me and many others. It was also a pleasure to see Sister Shotgun’s vocalist, Chloe Ozwell take to the stage to perform a stunning duet with Kelly Mallen and if you weren’t there to see it, then you really did miss something special as these gals absolutely rocked!

Kelly Mallen - Mallen

The night could have only ended one way for me and that was with the purchase of Mallen’s EP and it hasn’t been out of the CD player since the plastic wrapper came off – great CD, great song and a band well worth the wait to see.

It was also fab to see such a decent size audience here tonight at The Slade Rooms as this is exactly the right kind of exposure that tonight’s bands deserve and proving that their was no shortage of love for live music in the air tonight. Big shout going out to Hils Ovation who had been struck down with the dreaded lurgy this week and whose presence was muchly missed tonight. Get well soon Hils.

Words and Photography by Sue Wardle.