Category Archives: Blog

Arch Enemy

With support from Wintersun and Tribulation.
Rock City Nottingham 10th February 2018.

First gig of 2018 and what a show lay before us! You always know it’s going to be a cracking night when you turn up at the venue twenty minutes early and people are already queuing around the block, but when you hear it’s a sell out, well, we really are in for a good night! Arch Enemy have been touring around Europe, with Jinjer who sadly, didn’t make the UK leg of this tour as they are soon to embark on their first North American tour with Cradle of Filth, so in their place, we have the lesser known (to me) Tribulation and the awesome Wintersun.

Sadly, the box office didn’t have the press list in time, so several togs missed Tribulation’s first song of the night but we rushed up to the stage as soon as we could, for tracks 2 and 3. Not to be confused with an earlier Swedish band of the same name who were active in the early 90’s, as these guys only formed in 2004. They released their debut album ‘The Horror’ back in 2009, followed by ‘The Formulas of Death’ in 2013, with ‘Children of the Night’ being released in 2015. The band have recently released their latest album ‘Down Below’ in January of this year, via Century Media.

Having listened to their latest offering, I knew to expect dark and heavy, however, I wasn’t expecting as much energy from the band, as they displayed during tonight’s set! The band opted for a speedy brand of death metal in their earlier material yet as time has gone on, they’ve become darker. In their own words, this new album “From its obsidian core to its fluttering expanses, ‘Down Below‘ is a triumph of darkness and death. Or, very much Tribulation”. Evolution is inevitable with any band, as producing the same album twice is pointless. This band are aware of this and feel their evolution has kept true to themselves and the genre.

I’m not going to pretend I know everything about this band, quite the opposite in fact but I know what I saw on the night and they impressed me greatly. There were some hardcore fans who made the effort to come down early, to catch these guys play, I’ll be honest, I don’t know how often they tour here in the UK, as I’ve not seen them before. One thing was very evident though, they are passionate about the music they produce and they deliver it with true conviction, which, as a live music fan, you can’t ask for any more from a band. As a result, I am now trawling through their back catalogue and am enjoying the process immensely! For fans of death metal and I know a good few, be sure to check this band out!

The word Tribulation means, a cause of great trouble or suffering and as any good death metal fan will tell you, this is a key ingredient, for a truly morbid receipt, which we all love to devour!

I last saw Wintersun, back in July of 2013, when they headlined the Rescue Rooms. On that occasion, they had my favourite Savage Messiah line up and Bloodshot Dawn supporting them.

Looking back on the images I took that night, I only recognise two of the members, the vocalist Jari, who plays guitars, but wasn’t tonight, he gave that honour to someone else but sadly, I don’t know his name. The only other face I recognised was Teemu’s, the bands other guitarist. Everyone else in the band tonight were new faces to me, but as it’s been nearly five years since I last saw this band play, that’s a pretty long time for things to have changed.

The band are from Helsinki, in Finland and are signed to Nuclear Blast. They primarily play symphonic metal and I distinctly remember the lack of gear on the stage back in 2013. Tonight however, they had all the bells and whistles, being played by five very talented musicians. Jari is a great front man and entertainer, who put in one hell of a shift tonight and the crowd showed their appreciation for his efforts. I’ve seen some great support bands here at Rock City in my time, but few get a crowd react to them like they are the headlining band, as Wintersun did tonight! I’m going to predict, I’ll be seeing these guys appear at a few summer festivals this year! Cough cough!

Arch Enemy are signed to Century Media and are from Sweden but they really don’t need an introduction, as they’ve been a stable metal band since 1996, in one incarnation or another. Metal fans are always approachable and happy to talk so I asked a few questions about the band and discovered a wealth of history, like, did you know the bands current lead singer actually attended Canada Got Talent – a singing contest for aspiring musicians! No, I didn’t either. I also listened to a recent interview with Alissa who admitted, for her first band, she got the job by accident, as she couldn’t find anyone else more suitable, so a friend recorded her singing and she gave the midi disk to them and they were shocked to discover it was her! It’s safe to say, they signed her up, in an instant. She is a powerful singer, there is no denying it.

The bands new album ‘Will to Power’ is a stunning record, which I’ve only listened to after tonight’s event, through fear of disappointment. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and they leveled Rock City to its core, through shear brilliance. Listening to the new album is a great reminder of tonight’s event, which makes me smile every time I now listen to it, as I got to photograph the band for the first time which was a great honour, even if the pit was full!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Mat Partridge

Solo Album ‘Parts Per Million’.

For many a year, I’ve been a firm fan of the vocal competence of Mat Partridge – mainly through the music of the rather exceptional rock band Soley Mourning but this, his first solo album ‘Parts Per Million‘, introduces yet another side of Mat’s song writing ability that really is something quite special to behold.

Comprising of ten outstanding tracks, ‘Parts Per Million‘ plays through like chapters in a story book, as each song has it’s own unique purpose and beautifully brings the music and life of Mat Partridge together, in perfect harmony.

The opening track ‘Kick The Brakes Off (Now We’re Rollin’) lavishes the listener with a hearty dose of that wonderful feel good factor and if the brass section combined with the pulsating drum rhythm doesn’t get your soul boogieing even just a little bit to this one, then there really is no hope for you.

Watch Mat Partridge – Kick the Brakes Off (Now We’re Rollin’) – Official music video_0!

Track 1 really does set the scene well for what follows on, as ‘Respects To The Renegade‘ and ‘Same Old Same Old‘ embed these factors further and for those fans of everyday real life rhythm and blues, these two tracks will get a thumbs up for sure.

The big surprise of this album was Track 4, ‘Psychology Song‘ as it takes a turn in a slightly different direction and one that I never would have expected. Sitting within an authentic Latin vibe, it transports you musically, far far away from the West Midlands, where it was created and if you love a bit of easy on the ear piano jazz as I do, then this song is a must to check out.

Having come to the half way point of ‘Parts Per Million‘, I had already reached the conclusion that one of the most compelling things about this album were the song lyrics and the fact that not only has Mat proved himself as being a great story teller, but he also has the presence to reflect upon and capture the emotions behind the situations that day to day living can place us in and ‘Any Road Home‘, ‘This Thing We Got Ain’t Lovin‘, ‘Amateur Dreamers‘ and ‘Gonna Get Up Now‘ are all beautiful examples of this. It is well worth checking out Mat’s Facebook page and reading through his posts, as you will find that he has shared his inspiration for some of these songs there.

The second to last song on the album is ‘The Sugarblues‘ and this is an absolute corker of a track with its tongue in cheek capture of life’s ups and downs and the consequences of putting things off to do another day. The video that accompanies this track is worthy of a BAFTA and will ring hilariously true for those of us that rely heavily on ‘Post Its‘, just to get through the day!

Based upon the experience of this album so far, the closing track was destined to be one of a kind and that is exactly what ‘Valuables‘ is. This is a song of love that touches the soul and I’m sure that the words will ring true with many a parent – it is also a beautiful and perfect ending to this outstanding album.

Track Listing:

1.Kick The Brakes Off (Now We’re Rollin’)
2.Respects To The Renegade
3.Same Old Same Old
4.Psychology Song
5.Any Road Home
6.This Thing We Got Ain’t Lovin’
7.Amateur Dreamers
8.The Sugarblues
9.Gonna Get Up Now


Review by Sue Wardle.

Falling Red

‘Lost Souls’ release date 18th of March 2018.

Today I was sent a couple of new albums in the post, both of which are soon to be released onto the world, courtesy of Central Press. Whilst having an unusually quite evening as the sprog went to bed fairly early, I thought I’d dust off the stereo and have a listen but which one do I start with! As I flicked through the nicely cellophane wrapped CD’s, Falling Red’s new album, ‘Lost Souls’ caught my eye, with its nicely decorated front cover consisting of post apocalyptic, flesh eating zombies, hell, I thought, this looks fun!

I’m familiar with the band, I’ve even spoken to them at a music conference a couple of years back. Nice blokes, polite, well dressed, in a gothic bar sort of way, you know, your typical hard rock band from Cumbria, up there in the north!

Sadly, I’ve never seen these guys play live before but after reading their bio for this review, they sound intriguing and could be a lot of fun in a live environment. I’m certainly going to try my best to get to a live show in the future! Having toured with the likes of Skid Row, Steel Panther and other glam bands, they admit they ain’t your stereo-typical glam band, if they’re honest. They look more like an emo/post/nu-metal gothic band but the reality is they play a combination of hard rock and metal, with a splash of sleaze thrown in for good measure.

So looks can be deceiving then!

The band consists of four members, Andrew Rose (lead vocals and guitar) Dave Sanders (drums and backing vocals) Mikey Lawless (bass and backing vocals) and Shane Kirk (guitar and backing vocals)

However, the two main members who have continued to drive this band forward since their inception back in 2006, are Rozey and Dave, according to them, sorry to the other two if this isn’t the case! They admit they are not a band that likes to take themselves too seriously and hope this shows in their chosen lyrical style for their music! These guys are about good times and having fun, because lets face it, life is mostly full of shit!

Prior to this new offering, Spotify tells me they’ve released three EP’s and two previous full length albums to date. ‘Lost Souls’ will make it three full length albums, so there’s quite a healthy back catalogue for you to discover, if this review wets your appetite enough to make you curious and you want to check these guys out!

To record this album, the band have taken a different approach in its production from that of previous works. This time, they opted for a more hands on approach, with Dave recording drums with Mark Broughton and Dean Thompson at Blast Studios, in Newcastle. Guitars and vocals were recorded by James Stephenson, at Stymphalian Productions in York. It would appear, working with these two entities, the band admit, they have managed to step up the quality of their music which makes them happy. I’m pleased to confirm that, this album does indeed sound very well recorded!

Sleaze features heavily, throughout this album, which is no bad thing, with the odd acoustic track thrown in.

Personally, I love the track ‘My Town, My City’ which got released as a single, along with a music video three months ago! I love the honesty in the lyrics, which probably started off as a bit of a joke, yet the band quickly realised they were onto something and this track may end up becoming their swan song? They’ve been clever not to be too specific with the lyrics, so people can apply their own home town and can instantly relate to the words! Check it out!!

Another notable track for me is, ‘Hell In My Eyes’ simply because it’s got that feel good factor, along with a very catchy melody! I can see this track being added to many a rock show playlist on some of your larger rock radio stations, around the country hell, even the world!

The album, in it’s entirety, is a well produced body of work, totaling thirteen tracks, which lasts a swift forty four minutes, yet every minute has been used to it’s full potential, filled with high octane, balls to the wall ROCK!

Track listing:

1.The Darkest Day (Intro)
2.The Day I Lose My Soul
3.Digital Disguise
5.My Town, My City
7.Hell In My Eyes
8.War In The Sky
9. Enemies
10.Beautiful Lie
11. Haunted
12.In My Head
13. A Song For The Haters

A sterling effort 7.5/10!

Review by Jay Hawkins.