All posts by music224

HRH Doom vs Stoner

O2 Academy Sheffield 29th September 2019.

Well sadly, all good things must come to an end and I guess that’s true as this is the final Doom v Stoner event that HRH are putting on. It would appear that they’ve exhausted this genre and can no longer fill it with worthy bands that no ones already seen before – like Orange Goblin, who’ve headlined three out of the four events. That said, I still managed to discover some new bands today! All is not lost as it’s being replaced with Goth, which joins the ever popular Punk and Viking events to keep us entertained.

As this is the last one, I’m going to keep this short and to the point and mostly talk about the bands that blew me away on the day.

Alunah were up first and after re-discovering this lot at Uprising earlier this month, I was super excited about getting to see this band play again, on the main stage that the O2 Academy has. Although they were up first, there was a respectable crowd in attendance which was re-assuring as others had clearly made the effort to see Alunah perform. What I didn’t realise was that they only performed tracks off the current EP and the new album, although I can be forgiven for this as up until this point, I hadn’t heard the new album! Thankfully, the band have kindly given me a promo copy to listen to and trust me, it’s everything I hoped it would be! I have vowed to purchase a copy of the new album on vinyl, the splatter one hopefully so save me one for the pending tour at the end of the year, or in early 2020 please! Sure, the band are considered a doom band but this album is anything but! After getting the chance to interview the band, which you can watch here. I know they’ve purposely tried to have more fun with their latest offering, entitled ‘Violet Hour’, opting for a more bluesy tempo compared to their older material. Their gamble has paid off in my book as like the band we see before us now, it’s a new start, with new music, that’s forging a future which looks bright and promising. I’m expecting this album to catapult this band into the uppermost stratosphere, I just hope there’s still venues and events they can play at as everyone needs to check this band out!

Red Spektor followed on the main stage, with a nice long one hour set that gave them plenty of time to perform an array of music from both their back catalogue and from their yet to be released new album. It was a set we could properly immerse and lose ourselves in and transport us to a hedonistic and psychedelic world that very few bands can successfully transport us to so well! No details are available on the release of their new album but we did talk at length about it’s pending release, so if you’re a fan like we are, then check out our interview.

You could consider the first two acts as both blues/doom and psychedelic/stoner, Oak however, were full on hard hitting stoner and really woke everyone back up with their high energy, hard hitting riff machine! Their bio states they tried to sound like Kyuss, but fucked it up, that’s funny, but not nearly as funny as seeing vocalist Andy with his shirt off! Still, you could tell he couldn’t care less what I or anyone else thinks of that as he was too busy loving every minute of his time up on the main stage! I really like this band from London – Desertfest, get on these guys!

Ten Ton Slug, thankfully made the long trip over the Irish sea to entertain us today and were next up on the main stage. These guys followed on well after Oak, as they too were very energetic with some killer sludge fuelled riffs but unlike Oak, everyone’s heard of these guys which was helped largely by their triumphant performance on the Sophie Stage at Bloodstock this year! Yeah, these guys are right up there on the fucking rocks list, check um out!

Remember I said I’m still discovering bands, well Dead Witches are one such band. I’m both thankful I now have these in my life and can include their latest album ‘The Final Exorcism’ within my listening pleasure but I’m also miffed it’s taken me this long to discover them! I’ve no idea how long they’ve been around as the bands bio doesn’t tell me, although it’s not that important. I did however discover this band are also signed to the same record label ‘Heavy Psych Sounds’ as Alunah and many of the other great acts I love, so that’s exciting! Horror doom, is the genre they go by or music to dig graves to, that said, by the time their set was up, the O2 Academy literally looked like a grave yard, complete with dead bodies as everyone in attendance moshed themselves to death! I absolutely loved this band, their sound, their persona’s, as did my camera as they are very photogenic, well Soozi, their lead vocalist was as the other three were hidden in a cloud of smoke! Soozi is a born entertainer and I couldn’t help myself being hypnotised by her dance moves and her voice!

Our headliners for today and closing the final HRH Doom V Stoner was non other than Monolord, who, in my opinion, have written the best doom track EVER, entitled ‘Empress Rising’ which they played as their final song and was a fitting tribute to this genre! Although I’ve managed to catch these guys before at Desertfest back in 2016, when they opened the Sunday at KOKO, its great to see them three years on and this time headlining! Despite this being my second experience of Monolord, I do wish it was more but as they’re from Gothenburg, Sweden, they don’t venture this way too often – that needs to change, tour the UK more please guys, love you!

I’m now undecided as to what HRH events I’d like to cover in the future for music224, I’m liking the look of Vikings, which happens at the end of November and I’d love to cover HRH Metal again, early 2020 as that’s always a great event. HRH Punk also looks good too, although I’m not a punk fan but I do appreciate many of the acts that grace that genre. HRH Goths would also be a great event to attend but from a photographers perspective, stage lighting often associated with this genre can prove challenging as red light tends to be a popular choice – less smoke would be great too, although a little smoke does help to allow the colours to bleed together. Anyway, I’m rambling now but the point I’m trying to make is that HRH continue to provide some quality events throughout the year and keep our appetites for live music, wet!

Until next time, be good and look out for each other!

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

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)