Uprising 2019

Sunday 15th September 2019.

And so we come onto the third and final day at Uprising IV festival in Leicester and after a high intense atmosphere on the Saturday where Napalm Death tore the O2 Academy a new one, I headed back to the Firebug with my fiancé, intent on seeing a ray of talent burst out onto the music scene.

As with a three day music festival there wasn’t much of the night before hangover to deal with so it was straight into today’s second on the bill, Devil’s Playground. Tempting you into a void where an angelic voice draws you in only to be met by the devil himself, you’re drawn into a world that gets your heart pumping with amazing riff’s that set the scene. Each song has an energetic background that makes classic British metal which speaks volumes to your soul.

Still buzzing from an amazing set, we get ready for Dishonour The Crown who are an instantly ‘in your face’ band who leap into action. Standing still is nearly impossible as this band tells you how it is and with nothing held back, you’re ready for a battle in which the band shows no mercy.

As we wait for the next band to start, a confident Firouzeh dressed in black sets up to captivate and control her audience. Control the Storm are seventh on the bill and deliver a story teller’s night where darkness meets the light. This band have their own original genre which draws you in, with the added bonus of presence on stage that brings an enlightening instrumental background.

After grabbing a quick drink to recover, we set ourselves up for Fraction and their mix of thrash, progressive and groovy metal. Fraction are a tightly knitted band with a very strong following, who were already in the zone and waiting for the set that followed and gave us a wealth of songs that brought out a range of emotions through their lyrics.

We finished our night with Prognosis. After meeting this band at Bloodstock in the VIP bar in 2017 we were very excited to see them live again and already had high expectation for them. We were not disappointed and were blown away once more as they destroyed their set. A progressive metal band with a stoner vibe and one of my favourite bands from this evening who we look forward to seeing again in the future.

After finishing the Uprising IV festival with Jay Hawkins, who was a great mentor for me to take on the Sunday on my own, we were both left in awe of what the metal music scene has to offer and I genuinely can’t wait until next year and do another Uprising Festival again.

To see more photographs from the day, be sure to check out music224 over on FLICKR.

Review and Photography by Masaaki Black

Uprising 2019

O2 Academy Leicester Saturday 14th September 2019.

I’m going to write this review in the first person, for once, as this one’s personal and means a lot to me! The organisers of Uprising kindly give me free reign to cover their event every year, which means an awful lot! I just hope that in some small way, I manage to do it justice.

Why do I do it, well, it’s not for the money that’s for sure! First and foremost, I’m a music lover – I always have been and always will be. My second love is photography as it gives me a way to express my creativity, in ways my every day life does not allow. I’ve learnt we’re two a penny, some are better than others for one reason or another and like any other aspect of life, it’s a political mind field, so you try hard to win people over and not be a dick.

I’ve never confessed to be a great writer, yet I know it means a lot to the bands that someone has taken the time to write about them, as it helps them to obtain gigs at future events. I hate conducting interviews as meeting your idols can be daunting, yet those moments we spend together gets captured forever and for all to see. I wish I had hours to prepare for an interview, although I do as much research as I can however, this doesn’t pay my bills, so dedicating 100% of my time isn’t possible. I do it, because in some small way, it helps the bands that I speak to, to get out there what it is they have to say at that very moment in time. Whether they choose to acknowledge and utilise this resourse is down to them!

I also do this because it’s my hobby. Sure, I could go to work all day, go home afterwards and do nothing else – but where’s the fun in that! Instead, I spend £1000’s on equipment and I have more black t-shirts than I know what to do with. I buy albums and merch from the bands I like and I even help support organisers, by buying a ticket. I spend hours editing photos, compiling videos and writing reviews, for absolutely no financial gain but I do all this because I want live music to survive. In exchange, I do get an opportunity to meet some amazing people from all walks of life and I get to meet festival organisers, like Simon Yarwood, who put on amazing events like Uprising. I get to meet the bands, who make the event what it is. I get to meet like minded media folk, which I love but best of all, I get to meet fellow metal heads, who love their music as much as I do. Whether the metal community accepts me for who I am remains to be seen but I’ve adopted them as my kind of people – the people I want to spend my free time with, because they enhance and enrich my life more than anything money could buy! This is what I get all from attending shows like Uprising and for that I’m eternally grateful!

As previously stated, this years Uprising took place at the O2 Academy in Leicester, which is situated just a stones throw away from it’s previous home and unless this changes, consecutive years of Uprising will be held here now too, which is great news. As I was eager to be a part of this years event, I got there early as it gives me the opportunity to talk to people. Uprising has always opted for a two pronged attack strategy with the bands they host, which usually means there’s no clashes, or very little, so you get to see everyone on the bill. As today was choker block full of great acts, we were grateful for this fact as we didn’t want to miss anyone and to ensure that I didn’t, I enlisted the help of a dear friend to help cover the bands that I would miss due to other commitments.

First up on the main stage and with the honour of kicking off today’s proceedings, were our good friends in Seven Hells. The bands front man, Marc, was born for this role and never disappoints. The rest of the band executed their set perfectly and are a true joy to watch, as they never fail to deliver a crushing metal show. Their Debut EPPrologue’ still features heavily on my playlists and I’m very much looking forward to hearing new material from these guys, soon!

After Foul Body Autopsy, literally a one man band with his electric guitar and backing track played over on stage 2, it was the turn of Resin to take to the main stage. Resin’s music has been our soundtrack for the best part of two years now ever since they released their albumThe Cycle of Need’ and as they’ve featured at virtually every festival, I’ve attended since, they’re hard to ignore. This fact has to be contributed to the strength of that album, however, the band are not the type to rest on their laurels and they’ve continued to improve their live show, which has grown into what we saw before us today. Three guitarists, a bass player, drummer, a violin player and now an entire string section aswell, which consists of a double bass player and two further violinists! It’s safe to say that they’ve taken the concept of a live metal show and turned everyone’s perception of this on it’s head. Resin now provide a live performance like no other and we enjoyed every minute of their set!

The Darkhorse were new to me, but my god, I wished I’d discovered these guys sooner as this energetic three piece blew me away! First formed in 2013, this band’s fast ascent brought them to Bloodstock in the following year and Mammoth Fest in 2015, with their official music video, for ‘Dead Crows’ being released 2 years later. The Darkhorse fuse southern groove with sludge and doom, which is a recipe that tickles our taste buds a lot! Let’s hope the likes of Bloodstock invite them back for 2020, as I’d be down the front for that!

Sadly, I missed Krysthla on the main stage due to interviewing Acid Reign, but I have it on very good authority that they played an absolute blinder – again! I’m also aware they won over another fan on the day! Good work lads, if you keep going from strength to strength, it won’t be long before you’re sharing the stage with the massive touring bands who perform worldwide.

Alunah are a doom metal band who I literally fell in love with, the first time I saw them perform back at HRH 7, 6 years ago now! It’s not often you discover a band that literally resonates to your very core! I contribute Alunah to introducing me to the doom genre, as I believe they were the first ‘good’ doom band I’d encountered. Since then, the band have undergone some personnel changes and have enlisted Siân on vocals and Dean on lead guitar and although they have a very different sound now, they’re still the formidable force I fell in love with all those years ago! Having risen from the ashes like a phoenix, they are ready to unleash their latest album ‘Violet Hour’ onto the world, on the 11th of October. Although I’ve only heard two original tracks ‘Hunt’ and ‘Trapped and Bound’ which feature on the new album, I’m predicting it’s going to be my favourite album of 2019!

Acid Reign then and just WOW – what a show! If you’ve never seen this band live, then you’ve not lived! The week before Uprising, they released their long awaited third full length album ‘Age of Entitlement’ onto the press world and all who received it, myself included, fell deeply in love with it. It’s a big fat slice of genuine thrash metal, crafted by masters of their craft, who also remember the golden age of thrash the first time around! Check out our interview with the band, YOUTUBE VIDEO LINK!

We first encountered our next band Ohmns, last year at HRH Doom V Stoner and can recall how unique they were then. You could sense they truly believed in every note they played and that it meant something deeply profound within them. They’ve continued in that same vein since then and today, delivered a truly mesmerising performance at Uprising. I also remember complementing the bands bass player for having a baby shoe attached to his bass guitar as it reminded him of his children, that shoe was still there!

Memoriam are an old school death metal band signed to Nuclear Blast who have recently released a new album entitled ‘Requiem for Mankind’. On the day, they were very accommodating with the press, especially Karl, who played up to the cameras, perfectly – if only more bands did that as all we want is one decent picture to showcase who you are and what you’re about. As soon as we get that, we can get the hell out of your way!

Compare, extraordinaire, Rob Bannister, who introduced every band throughout the three days of Uprising, proclaimed that the band closing stage 2, Vardis, had produced one of the best albums ever written, called ‘100MPH‘ and that any music lover needed to hear it, at least once in their life time. With that little nugget of wisdom, I went searching for it and discovered it was released back in 1980, the very same year I was born! These guys are the real deal and are true rock n rollers, from back in the day! I thoroughly enjoyed the music they played, which was a welcome break from the rest of the days music, as much as we’ve loved hearing every single one of them!

The honour of closing stage 1 was given to none other than fellow Midlanders Napalm Death, the most extreme metal band on the face of the planet and yet the nicest guys you’d ever wish to meet, as I did briefly, whilst loitering outside their dressing room waiting to interview Acid Reign! I believe it to be a fan tradition when attending a Napalm Death show to hurl abuse at the band, so comments like “you’re music’s shit” were heard more than once this evening but Barney remained ever composed, with only polite replies back to the crowd! The band announced they have a new album coming out soon, so if you’re a fan, keep an eye out on the bands social media pages for more info on that!

For Uprising day 3, I’ll hand you over to my apprentice, Masaaki Black, as I couldn’t attend so I will bid you a found fair well until next time – stay safe and look after each other!

Massive thanks again to Uprising and all involved. Hope to see you again next year!

To see more photographs from the day, be sure to check out music224 over on FLICKR.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Uprising 2019

The night before Uprising – Firebug, Friday 13th September 2019.

Now that we’ve had a little time to recover, we’ve also had time to evaluate the events of the past weekend and reflect upon all the positive energy we’re feeling after attending such a great event – well worth £25 of anyone’s money, we’ll say that from the start!

Uprising is now in it’s fourth year and is the brainchild of one Simon Yarwood, a late bloomer, when it comes to music but with his years, comes maturity and a willingness to put on a great event, that both bands want to play as a musician and also attend as a punter! He’s also in a pretty good band himself called Resin, who’ve graced many of the great metal events that the UK has to offer, so he’s seen both sides of the industry, giving him a unique perspective on how he sees an event such as Uprising, should be perceived?

Uprising Festival now takes place over three days in September, which is also a new date in the diary! A great time of year to hold a festival, as it’s still not quite winter, still relatively warm but it is a safe bet to hold it indoors as we live in the UK, so better to be safe, than wet!

Both the Friday ‘The Night Before’ and Sunday’s ‘Aftermath’ took place at Firebug which is Simon’s regular haunt and go to venue when putting on other Resin shows which are held throughout the year. The main event this year, took place at The O2, where as in previous years, it’s been just up the road at De Montford Hall, which is a spectacular venue but if we’re being completely honest, doesn’t fit Uprising’s image and we personally preferred the O2 Academy which was much better suited to host a metal event such as Uprising. It was familiar territory for us and we felt much more at home there, so long may it continue!

Having been mostly out of the game, personally, this year, for various reasons, tonight was a great way to ease my way into the swing of things, whilst meeting up with friends, mostly from the media world, who I’ve not seen for a while. It also allowed me to introduce a good friend into the media side of festival life, who I’ve managed to brainwash into attending festivals with me, who goes by the name of Masaaki Black. I dare say he’ll feature more, now he’s been bitten by the bug just like me and yes, it’s all my fault. I’ll apologies to his Fiancee now, as she may lose him to this world of media, photography and live music!

It’s been several years since I last attended Firebug. I was reminded of the last time, in fact, which was for Beholder’s final album launch. Back then, I remember the venue was a challenge lighting wise, so I wasn’t surprised to see just one white light beaming on to the stage – here we go, I thought but much to my surprise, when Mad Spanner, our first band of the night, took to the stage, it was lit up like the fourth of July, which pleased me greatly! The Firebug has always been regarded as a great music venue for it’s intimate atmosphere and great sound, so to see a lighting show equal to the other great aspects of this venue, in our opinion, makes the Firebug a ‘go to’ venue for any a touring band.

So, on to tonight’s bands and Mad Spanner, who pretty much do what it says on the tin! Mad, fun and metal, and the perfect band to kick off proceedings, we thinks! Hailing from Aberystwyth/Shrewsbury, they clearly don’t like to take life too seriously, which is the way we like it aswell. However, in amongst all the tom-foolery, there are three very talented musicians who do take their music seriously, which is even better for us! Thrash, punk, comedic metal, what’s not to love!

Next up, Mörti Viventi, who are a band we can relate with, both on and off the stage. Life’s a struggle but you carry on doing what you love, because it makes you feel good and that just so happens to be thrash metal. Having seen the music being played at several festivals, this year and last, the best bands we encountered all played thrash, so it’s no surprise to see that Uprisings line up was weighted heavily with bands of this genre, which is a wise and popular choice at present! Metal genres and trends alter, like any other aspect of life but Thrash will always be one of our five a day and these guys, from sleepy Stamford in Lincolnshire, are going to be a part of our staple diet for the foreseeable future! They are a confident band, who deliver with pure confidence and undeniable conviction!

As it was Friday the 13th, we thought it only appropriate to see a band of that name appear on the bill tonight but having not encountered them before, we didn’t know what to expect. As the band rattled through their set, it became apparent very quickly that Thirteen (13) know what they’re doing, especially guitarist James, who’s playing style is on a whole other level, we’d go as far as to say similar to that of Michael Schenker and even though it was effortless to watch, the technical sounds and abilities we witnessed were phenomenal. It was like watching UFO back in their hey day! As I looked around the room the admiration for this band was clear to see on the faces of those present! I also noticed the bands lead singer and bassist, James, was sporting a tattoo of B.O.A’s famous brand logo on his left arm, with the words ‘M.T.TM’s finalist 2018’ below it! It just goes to show what winning that particular event means to the bands that enter it, let alone win it. It’s a great event that the organiser of that festival should be very proud of!

As the night drew to a close, the honour of closing Uprising’s first day was given to Ward XVI, a band we’ve known of for sometime but were yet to see play live, so we were looking forward to this, a lot!
Although we’re not completely au fait with the ‘Theatrical Avant-Garde Rock’ genre, we could hazard a guess at what we were about to experience, courtesy of some of the props that lay before us. Imagine watching four escaped psychopaths from a lunatic asylum playing instruments, whilst chopping up bodies, with a metal sound-track and you’ve got this band, all wrapped up! OK, they’re not quite that easy to sum up and feel we need to see this band several times more, to fully appreciate what they’re doing throughout their set but we hope to see them again, very soon! Lead vocalist ‘Psychoberrie’ is the perfect front-woman for the job. She’s energetic, vocally talented and knows how to rip a corpse apart after disemboweling it – it wasn’t a real body, I hasten to add! Parts of the set, reminded us of an Alice Cooper show, which is great, yet Ward XVI are completely unique and completely original, so maximum kudos for that, as that’s no easy task these days!

Roll on Day 2

To see more photographs from the day, be sure to check out music224 over on Flickr.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)