Torous

This year has been a pretty interesting and fast paced one for the Birmingham based band Torous and with the year being far from over, Music224 were pretty chuffed to catch up with frontman Marc Malone for a bit of a chinwag and catch up. And this is how it went:

Many readers will already be familiar with Torous but for those who are new to Torous and also those who just want to know a little bit more about you guys, can you tell us about the band and how it all came together – I’m also curious to know where the name originated from?

We all met in College. GMT (Bass man) and I (Singer/Guitar Player/Part time welsh speaker) got together for our first jam back in Oct 2010. I had a solo project on the go and we jammed on that for a while, but a lot more casually than what we’re doing with Torous. After Tom started jamming with us, many of the ideas that are now ’10/10 or 4 star singles or whatever’ started coming out and we realised it was worth forming the band and from the ground up and getting to work on it seriously.

Torous.

For a good insight into the name I’d recommend you watch the documentary on thrivemovement.com where they describe a ‘Torus’ (I came up with the way we spell ours) in all round digestible way – it can sound a little complicated on paper!

Your music has been described as Celtic Hard Rock with a metal edge, which is something that most of us don’t come across everyday – What kind of music has influenced you all over the years and if you could share the stage and play a fantasy gig with any other band, who would it be?

Being of Irish descent and spending some early years of my life in Wales, Celtic music was big on my radar and I always connected deeply to the music. As I did with Rock/Metal when my brother got me into Metallica at the age 7 or 8. The marriage between the genres came naturally to me, songwriting, so I stuck with it, and although it’s only a hint of Celtic sounds in comparison to the obvious Metal edge, those who are familiar with that music would hear it noticeably.

I’d love Torous to open for Tool. The guys would probably say Maiden.

Torous

I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing Torous play live on several occasions with each performance being a bit of a smasher for me due to Torous’ stage presence, some pretty fab music and of course, GMT’s hair lol – what makes a gig great for Torous and which ones have been your favorites so far this year?

I think what makes a great show for us is to be in our zone. When we are all on the same page energy wise, it doesn’t matter if there are 30 people or 300 people, we perform the same way – and that way is generally on point. We, unlike maybe some bands, expect the crowd to participate if we are not giving it our all. So that’s what we do and then the good response will take care of itself.

As for my fave gigs (or our performances in those gigs), this year have been o2 academy 3 in Jan, the EP launch and our most recent at the Giffard Arms in Wolves. The SOTS all day fest was a highlight tho too.

April, May and June were important months for Torous with time being spent in the studio, followed by the launch of your outstanding EP ‘Dried Bones’. The EP received some pretty impressive reviews from both media and fans alike – how did that make you all feel?

Yeah they were f**king busy alright. I swear I hadn’t slept between the recording and the release of the record in those 3 months. It has gone great and we are very thankful for the people who’ve supported us and enjoyed the songs, media and fans alike. The songs, and the band in general, is hardly foot-tapping ‘rock n roll’ but music that is an interaction between us and the listener so it’s nice to see people have dug it. But honestly, it didn’t really validate anything for us, even though I thought it might. Turns out we are just proud of it for what we did and that was really the best thing. We did something musically that is generally uncommon and didn’t flinch to conformity. (That may sound pretentious but I mean it sincerely!)

Torous - Dried Bones

There really has been no quiet time for Torous this year and I believe July was spent working on new material – how’s that coming along and when can we expect to hear some of the new songs?

You can expect the next release early 2016, can’t specify what date yet, but we are planning a LOT to go with the release so just stay in touch with us and you will know soon enough.

Autumn is on the horizon and approaching fast and that means we get to see Torous back out on the road again – and I for one, can’t wait! Can you tell us about some of your forthcoming gigs and also a little bit about how the ‘Breaking Boundaries Tour’ will work?

You’re too kind! Well our forthcoming dates are as follows, (note there are more to be announced for winter dates:

Sep 25 The Queens Hall Nuneaton, Coventry United Kingdom
Sep 26 Tower Brewery Burton Upon Trent, Derby United Kingdom
Oct 02 The Freebird Newcastle Under Lyme, United Kingdom
Oct 03 Torous – headline show: Muthers Studio Birmingham, United Kingdom
Oct 08 Scruffy Murphy’s Birmingham University Metal Society Event
Oct 10 The Haygate, Telford

Playing with fantastic bands ranging from Theia, Children Lost In Time and Quiet The Thief on the Breaking Boundaries shows, where each band will headline a date above and on the latter two dates we will be joined by Kataleptic, The Mighty Wraith and Martyr De Mona (and more). Set to be very strong nights so if you are a regular, you don’t wanna miss it! If you are new, then come and meet us and we will party together (after you arrive you might wanna teach us how to party).

And what about the fourth and most serious member of Torous – Angry Bird – will he be venturing out of the nest and joining you on the road this Autumn aswell?

After the Angry Bird was saved from the clutches of Drayton Manor’s corporate grasp he has been at most of our shows so we will continue to follow suit with this. If you don’t come to a show for us, do it for the bird.

Many thanks going out to Marc for taking time out to speak to us and we look forward to seeing you again soon!

Interview by Sue Wardle and Photography by Billibee Creative

Hils Ovation

O2 Academy3 Birmingham 25th July 2015.

There are some intriguing band names on tonight’s bill with none more so than first band of the night, Opheon! What exactly Opheon means, I don’t know but I can certainly confirm that it boasts four pretty impressive musicians in the shape of Liam O’Sullivan (Vocals & Guitar), Josh Warhurst (Guitar & Vocals), Daniel Jervis (Bass & Vocals) and Jonathon Potter (Drums). And when the opening band are as good and as captivating as these guys were – then you know that you’re in for a good nights gigging!

Opheon

Our second set for tonight came from Secrets Of Mariana who describe themselves as ‘A female fronted rock band from Birmingham, combining metalcore and alternative rock to create a unique sound of their own’. First impressions of the band confirm this to certainly be the case as lead singer Amy Wyatt manages to combine both of these vocal styles in such a striking and fearless way, that a lasting impression was made for sure. Go check the band out and take a listen to ‘Chinese Whispers’ as it’s one hell of a track.

Secrets Of Mariana

Hailing from the Coventry area and marking the midway point of the evening were the groove/hardcore metalers, Inthroes. Their set tonight easily caught the attention of the O2 Academy3 audience, with its body of powerful vocals and brutal tuneage and I believe that a new EP is imminently on the cards from Inthroes aswell – so note made to self to keep an eye open for that one.

Inthroes

Our penultimate band for this evening were Vexxen and boy oh boy, do these guys know how to cook up the most perfect of metal storms. Their set tonight was intensive in both it’s composition and delivery and it’s the contribution of bands such as Vexxen that really does make the West Midlands metal scene as great as it is. Definitely a band to go see live if you’ve not seen them before!

Vexxen

Our headlining band tonight were Slaughter Horse and quite rightly so as the past twelve months has seen this band working hard at making a name for itself through an evolution that has to be applauded for it’s own bravery. In it’s present entity, Slaughter Horse stands as a deep and brazenly dark persona that shakes a fist in the visual face of conformity and you really do need to see them to believe it.

Slaughter Horse ..

The stage tonight offered the audience an open door into Slaughter Horse’s world of intense metal and surreal poetry and was the ideal showcase for the bands progression so far. The recording and release of a new EP is also on the horizon for these guys, so I genuinely anticipate what 2015 will continue to yield a further rain of hell fire and success for Slaughter Horse.

Slaughter Horse

So, in summary of tonight it really has been awesome to acquaint myself with several new bands and also to see the continued and promising progression of others and for me, that is exactly what a great Hils Ovation gig looks and sound like!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Steelhouse Festival

Sunday 26th July 2015.

This five piece band from London formed in 2013, The Wild lies have been described as hard rock fused by intricate grinding riffage colliding with stadium rock chorus melodies. Unfortunately Wild Lies was unable to make the festival as their van broke down, but you did not hear me complaining as this then meant SKAM had a longer set.

SKAM are a three piece band from Leicester formed five years ago. With a hard, heavy rock sound SKAM describe themselves as “British hard rock for a new generation”. SKAM have supported many bands including The Answer, The Union and Bonafide plus headlined their own shows and festivals. I first fell in love with SKAM when they played Steelhouse two years ago, and have yet to be disappointed as they give it their all every time.

Opening a very very wet and muddy Sunday, SKAM played their title track from their current album “Peacemaker”, a good heavy song to get you warmed up. Continuing with their next single and slowing it down a little “The Wire” and treating us to a new song from their next album out next year “Between The Eyes”.

SKAM

As they had a little more time than planned we had the good old AC/DC favourite “Whole Lotta Rosie” and my favourite “Going Away” written by bassist Matthew Gilmore”. Finishing with “No Lies” and a big thank you to the crowd for making it up the mountain in the pouring rain to see them, especially those stood up front and even the cowards in the beer tent!

No Hot Ashes first formed in the 80’s and recorded their debut album in 1988 but due to circumstances beyond their control the album never actually got released and by the late 1990’s it was obvious the band had called it a day.

No Hot Ashes

Reforming in September 2013, playing a tribute gig for the Rosetta Bar, they carried on playing and since the beginning of 2014 have supported Aerosmith, Foreigner, FM and UFO. Playing Hard Rock Hell AOR, Donnington, Download and London Calling.

Showing off their harmonies with “Boulders” and the ironically “Summer Rain”, No Hot Ashes did not let the weather ruin their 80’s fuelled rock performance.

Colour Of Noise are a five piece classic rock band from Brighton. They describe themselves as “We are steeped in the tradition of the late 60’s British blues boom and early 70’s stadium rock”.

Colour Of Noise

Warming the crowd up with hard rock and playing tracks from their debut album available on pledge music including “Head On”, the Colour Of Noise were not fazed by the ongoing rain.

FM was formed in 1984 in London. The band was originally composed of Merv Goldsworthy, Pete Jupp, Steve Overland, Chris Overland and Philip Manchester. Current band members are Merv Goldsworthy, Pete Jupp, Steve Overland, Jem Davis, Jim Kirkpatrick. At Nottingham’s Rock City on 27 October 2007, FM played together again in public for the first time in twelve years. The reaction the band received to this one-off appearance led to the swift decision to make the reunion permanent.

Unfortunately the constant rain got the better of me and I retreated back to the car to warm up and dry off and so did not get a chance to see FM perform.

Dorothee Pesch, known as Doro, is a German hard rock singer-songwriter, formerly front-woman of the heavy metal band Warlock.

Doro

Doro gave it all she got on a very wet stage, coming out on the runway punching the air and getting very close to the crowd, she certainly felt very at home belting out hits “Burning Witches”, “Raise Your Fist” and a big crowd pleaser “All We Are”.

Tyketto are a hard rock band based out of New York City. The group were put together in 1987 by Danny Vaughn, Brooke St. James, Jimi Kennedy, and Michael Clayton. The band split in 1996, reforming in 2004. 2007 saw them release their “Last Sunset – Farewell 2007 but yet reformed again in 2008 but Brooke St James was not able to join them. Current members now are Danny Vaughn, Michael Clayton Arbeeny, Ged Rylands, Chris Green and Chris Childs

Tyketto are a band I had heard of but never really listened to. I had so many people tell me I had to see these live as they are awesome, they were not wrong! Playing many of their hits over the last 25 years including “Burning Down Inside”, “Lay Your Body Down” and slowing it down with “Forever Young” and “Standing Alone”.

Tyketto

As the rain carries on pouring Danny Vaughn announces to the Steelhouse crowd that they are “the toughest mother fucking rock and roll audience I have ever seen”and continuing with “Dig in Deep” ironically about a mountain. As the rain started to ease off they dedicated a song to the legendary Dee Snider “Sound Off”.

The great thing about a festival is you always come back with at least one band you didn’t really know and really enjoyed, Tyketto was this year’s band for me. Absolutely awesome!!

Daniel “Dee” Snider is an American singer-songwriter, screenwriter, radio personality, and actor. Snider is most famous for his role as the frontman of the heavy metal band Twisted Sister. “To Hell and Back” represents the first truly new, original musical offering since the 90’s. He has starred in many reality tv shows, a frequent host on MTV Networks and has his own radio show “House of Hair” and he recently had the starring role on Broadway in the hit musical Rock Of Ages.

Dee Snider

As the rain started to come down heavy again, I had to abandon Dee Snider, I saw him play AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”, Twisted Sisters “I’m Not Going To Take It” and his new single “To Hell and Back”. I was disappointed to leave Dee Snider, the first few songs I heard you knew he was going to put on an incredible show but the rain was coming down fast and hard and the winds had got up. My lovely warm and dry hotel room was calling me!

I had an incredible weekend of rock and roll, the best bands for me was Massive Wagons, Trucker Diablo and SKAM. Although it was Tyketto that stole the show. As one of the countries smallest festival record numbers of 8000 at this year’s festival show that it’s getting bigger each year with the first year only having a few hundred, even the weather doesn’t stop us rockers! Early bird tickets are on sale for next year’s festival already, if you haven’t been before I certainly recommend it. Hope to see you up the mountain in 2016!

Review by Toni Reed and Photography by Neil Reed.