Category Archives: Gig reviews

Eyes Of The Raven

With support from Influens, Obzidian, Christgrinder and Rawkas.
O2 Academy3 Birmingham 24th November 2018.

Tonight’s Ovation Music Management gig has all the makings of being one of a kind with a rather fantastic line up that includes Eyes Of The Raven, Influens, Obzidian, Christgrinder and Rawkas – impressive or what!!

Getting this evenings shenanigans underway were Birmingham’s very own Rawkas and just as their name suggests, these guys have a sound that is packed with both raw energy and heaps of magnificent moodiness which certainly hit the spot tonight. With the band having released an EPAll Your Ghosts‘ earlier in the year, tonight’s set was a great taster for it and if you want to check this and Rawkas out for yourself, just head on over to their Facebook or Bandcamp pages for a right proper ear full!

Our second band of the night were Christgrinder and if you enjoy your metal dark, love your metal to have attitude and relish the experience of seeing a band whose performance will have you entranced from start to finish, then PLEASEEEEE go check out Christgrinder! Tonight’s set saw the band suited, booted and grasping Satan firmly by the horns, amidst lashing of sordid guitar riffs, a back line that ricocheted across the O2 Academy3 and vocals that captured the very spirit of black metal. Having not seen or heard these guys before, this first encounter was one I won’t forget and also one I can’t wait to repeat!

The next band to take to the stage tonight were Obzidian and here we have a band whose long standing presence within the metal community stands tall and quite rightly so, as their intensely adrenaline fuelled metal goes way beyond impressive. Front man Matty Jenks truly commanded the stage tonight, with his delivery of the set showing man and music completely enmeshed as one and in my opinion, that takes a very special kind of skill which really was quite something to behold. Sadly, the bands set was cut a little short due to a technical failure but one thing for sure and despite that, Obzidian certainly did themselves proud tonight.

Our penultimate band of the night were Influens and yet again, here we have another well respected and much talked about band within our metal community. Tonight’s set saw the band starting a new chapter of their evolution, now as a three piece. And not only did they raise their tried and trusted flag of groove infused metal, but they also gave us the chance to hear some of their new material and to see the shape of the great things yet to come from Influens.

And finally, we come to our headlining band of this evening, the one and only, Eyes Of The Raven. It’s been quite a while since I last saw these guys however lasting impressions never fade away and having repeatedly watched the video ‘Crown Of Serpents‘ which was released earlier this year, I felt there was something pretty exciting happening here!

Live tonight, Eyes Of The Raven took their music and performance to a whole new level – ABSOLUTELY off the scale in fact! They looked different, their musical precision was in a league of its own and they sounded better than ever. The one thing that did remain unchanged was the straight, honest connection these guys have with their fans, they may not boast about how good they are but the response they received from their audience, most definitely said it all for them.

2019 is already set to be one hell of a year for Eyes Of The Raven and you can catch up with them supporting Orange Goblin at KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton on 8th Feb, HRH Metal O2 Academy Birmingham – which takes place over the weekend of 16th/17th Feb and then 28th Feb, when they are back again at KK’s Steel Mill for Wolverhampton’s M2M first heat – bring it on!

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

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Conan

Nottingham Trent Student Union Bar Nottingham 23rd November 2018.

With support from The Media Project and Conjurer, the latter of which continue on throughout the tours remaining dates. The night’s event took place at Nottingham Trent Student Union Bar, The Loft which is a new venue for us, although we did cover an Evil Scarecrow gig in the main hall once, which was fantastic! Although this particular venue is upstairs and has a slightly smaller capacity, it has everything a music fan could want. It’s intimate, close to the stage, with easy access to the bands who sold their wares and the sound was great. My only issue was there was no pit, the stage was low and lighting was a thick mix of reds and blues, which is a combination that fills me with dread but like I say, from the punters perspective, tonight’s show was a great experience.

First up were The Media Project and try as I may, I can’t find any information on social media about these guys! Not something I usually have a problem with these days, I must say! Anyhow, I did discover the band originate from London and consist of a vocalist/guitarist, a bassist, a drummer and a rockabilly esq double bassist. As far as their sound and appearance, for that matter, I’d describe this band as very experimental, consisting of a real mixture of influences. I especially enjoyed the sound of the double bass, which gave them a very rich full sound and plenty of originality.

Next up were the mighty Conjurer, who I first saw at 2017’s Amplified Festival and on that occasion, they impressed me greatly and thankfully, tonight was no exception – if anything, they stepped it up a gear! Predominantly, these guys are a doom metal band, although some might say they’re more of an extreme progressive metal band, what’s the difference? If you’re a fan of early Mastodon, like me, then you have to check these guys out! Not to take anything away from the headliners, as they too are a fantastic band, but on the night, Conjurer literally blew me away!

So much power, so much energy and feeling with every note played. If I was to give any kind of constructive criticism, knowing the type of music they play and as a spectator, I couldn’t help feeling that certain songs could have been stretched out longer as I didn’t want them to end! I was so impressed with their performance tonight that I made full use of the intimate environment of the venue and actually approached the band, talked to them and get them to sign their debut LP, which I actually bought, with my own money! Superb!

Conan are an exceptional band in their own right and a band I was yet to see play live, until tonight that is. As these guys are signed to Napalm Records, I requested my media pass with my usual contact, who also offered me an interview with the band on the night. Sadly, that interview never materialised, nor did I receive confirmation that I could attend tonight’s show, which was very odd. Thankfully, Conjurers PR company did furnish me with the necessary pass, so I could witness these bands play, live.

Conan’s current UK wide tour is in celebration of the band’s latest release ‘Existential Void Guardian’ which continues in the same vain that this band are well known for. Following the raw energy of a band like Conjurer must be very difficult, but Jon, the bands guitarist/vocalist should know that, as he was stood to the side of the stage throughout the bands set and would have seen first-hand, the crowds reactions to Conjurer. The experience of that should have prompted Conan to step it up a gear but sadly not and although a great performance, Conan, for me, failed to show me why they were the headliners!

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

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Evil Scarecrow

The Lost in Antartarctica Tour.
Rock City Nottingham 6th October 2018.

For tonight’s release party, Evil Scarecrow enlisted the services of none other than cosmic stoners ‘Ten Foot Wizard’ to entertain us before the main event! Although this is certainly our first time seeing these guys, who are all the way from sunny Manchester, the majority in the crowd knew of these guys all too well! The banter between them and the crowd was on point tonight, which served up as much entertainment as their actual performance! I believe boobies got mentioned several times!

It would appear the band have a tour mascot, which got given pride of place next to Gary, the bands vocalist and guitarist, at centre stage! One funny moment was when Gary tried to carry on singing through the mascot, as it was strapped to a mic stand, although it didn’t actually have a mic attached….just a plastic Heron! haha! Personally, We’d love to see these guys performing many more shows, around the UK, like at HRH Doom v Stoner for instance! We think they’d go down a storm at that event and we should know, as that was the last gig we attended!

Ten Foot Wizard continue on tour with Evil Scarecrow, so be sure to get down early to check this incredible band out! Also check out the bands album ‘Sleeping Volcanoes’ which got released in 2015, as it’s incredible!

Although, like everyone else, we’ve seen Evil Scarecrow perform many many times over the years, it never gets old! It probably does for the band though which may explain why they’ve gone to great lengths to shake things up with a completely new stage show and performance, which seemingly fits around the new album! Let’s face it, a giant 20ft slug, that spits milk isn’t going to be dull to watch performing alongside the band, is it!

As ever, crowd participation was key tonight and there was more than usual, it would seem! During ‘War and Seek’ Dr. Hell demanded Kraven Morrdeth get his fat ass into the crowd, to start a death march and was under strict instructions to not make it look like a conga! It did look more like a conga in the end, but 10 out of 10 for effort!

During ‘Hurricanado’ the crowd were given the opportunity to perform their best wacky waving man impressions, complete with authentic wind noises, or in our case, our best fart noises! Much to our surprise, they did in fact have a 50ft wacky waving man, which was hilarious to see!

One thing I have noticed, over the last couple of times I’ve seen the band performing, is their guitar choice these days! I quite enjoyed looking at the various types of Dean guitars, these guys used over the years but it seems they now perform with Jackson guitars! Not that it matters to me, I asked anyway and little did I know but you can no longer obtain Dean guitars here in the UK! So instead, they are endorsing Jackson Guitars! I do know, before they were endorsed by Dean, the band did in fact use Jacksons, so it’s no surprise they’ve returned to this equally great guitar manufacturer! Sad, I know, but I’m aware musicians, especially guitar players, love to compare their instruments and like myself, enjoy a bit of guitar porn!

Let’s face it, live music doesn’t get much better than at an Evil Scarecrow gig! The fact the band have released a new album, is merely a bonus and gives you another excuse to go see them perform live, hear new tracks and witness the chaos that’s bound to happen whilst you’re there! Over 1000 people attended the launch show in the bands home town and I wonder how many others will turn up at the remainder of the tour dates, to support one of Britain’s most loved DIY metal acts? There’s plenty more dates up and coming on this tour, so be sure to catch the Evil Scarecrow carnival, as they roll into a town, near you! AMAZING NIGHT! Thank you for allowing us to be apart of it, yet again!

To see more photographs from the night, be sure to check out music224 over on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/music224/albums

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)