Category Archives: Recommended

HRH Doom Vs Stoner

O2 Academy Sheffield 29th September 2018.

Now in it’s third year, it’s of no surprise that this particular event just keeps getting better and better! With the wealth of bands available within these genres, the band bookers must have a daunting task when it comes to booking a festival such as this, as they just don’t know how us, the general public will react! I think its safe to say, HRH is one of only a few festival that get it right, virtually every time! This year was exceptional but we were only able to attend the Saturday.

Having seen the line up for the Sunday, which looked even better (if that’s possible), we were feeling a little bummed that we couldn’t attend both days! I’ve now also seen next years line up and my word, it’s going to be an absolute cracker…AGAIN! Monolord headlining, we’re there! Before that though, we wanted to pen a few words about this year, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

Proceedings kicked off around 2pm, which gave us plenty of time to get up to Sheffield, get parked and say our hellos. At first, I thought attendance was a little thin on the ground but as the first band took to the stage, we were virtually crammed to the rafters in both rooms for the duration of the days event.

First up this weekend we had a rather hungover Sedulus – according to them, however that didn’t stop these psychedelic stoners from London, blowing away the cobwebs that had formed since my last outing, which was back in August for Beermageddon! Surprisingly, I even managed to obtain a smile from Rich, one of the band’s guitarists, which is unusual from the first band of the day but it was welcomed non the less. The other guitarist, Amit, hid behind his long black hair, which was more of what I was expecting to be honest, especially considering the genre of bands appearing today! These guys are all about the music, which is fair enough. Luckily for them, I love both these genres, so I persevered!

As Stage 2 hadn’t opened yet, the day continued with the second band on the main stage today, who go by the name Ancestors! These guys had travelled a very long way to be here today, all the way from Los Angeles in fact! The fact it took longer than allocated for them to get set up must of really upset them as it would appear Justin’s guitar was producing more power than it should have and when he tried to pick up his lead, to plug it into his guitar, he let out an almighty scream, as it gave him one hell of a shock! Once they got going, it was no surprise to see most of the stage lights go out, as these guys play a mixture of Post-Metal, Post-Rock, Progressive, Psychedelic, Doom Metal, Space Rock, all rolled into a very hedonistic one hour set! I enjoyed this bands creativity and their experimental sound. Their set also awarded me one of my more dramatic images of the day, with light beams all a glow!

As Desert Storm were up next, I decided to hang about for them! I generally have this band on repeat most days, so to see them play live was a real treat and thankfully, they didn’t disappoint! Matt’s vocals have so much gravel in, he’s practically spitting out sand! He also has the best swagger about him on stage, which suits the bands music perfectly! Even if people weren’t dancing (the majority were) just watching his hypnotic moves would be enough to find yourself swaying along with him! I love this bands bouncy beats as they accompany their riffs perfectly!

Sadly, I had no time to hang about as The Grudge were tearing it up, up stairs on stage 2, so off I swayed to check them out. The Grudge are new to me but after today’s performance, I’m hoping it won’t be the last time I see them – what a band! They had room 2 jumping along with them, especially Javier, one of the bands bouncier guitarists, who I later discovered, after speaking with him, is Spanish! This fact leads me onto four people in particular, who all turned up dressed as priests today! At first I thought they were all dressing up as Brother Pain, from Evil Scarecrow but it turns out they too, were also from Spain and thought dressing up would be a cool way to talk to people! What a great idea and it’s nice to see European fans making the effort to come to a festival, here in the UK!

As Ritual King were on this stage next, I thought I’d stick about! This was my third time seeing this particular band now, the first two of which were in my home town, Derby, when they supported those lovely fellas Witch Tripper, both bands I love! I recall having a conversation about this very show with the band back then and as I’m generally a man of my word (and I think they’re great) here I am, ready and waiting! I have to say, tonight’s HRH performance is the best I’ve see this band perform, as they appeared to go above and beyond, probably to coincide with the energy from the crowd and there was many in attendance! What a band and yet only a three piece! How they manage to create the sounds they do, is beyond me! If I was to hazard a guess, I’d have to say it’s down to the three very talented musicians that make up Ritual King from Manchester! Take a bow guys!

As Gevaudan were the only other band I saw on stage 2 (sorry Cybernetic Witch Cult) I’ll briefly say, what I saw, I thoroughly enjoyed! They also have an absolute legend in the band ‘Bruce Hamilton’ on guitar, who’s an avid music fan as well as a very talented musician and who I’ve personally encountered many times, over the years! I don’t think he recognised me though! Snigger! The band had great energy tonight and played up to the ladies in the crowd!

Throughout the day and up to the point OHHMS took to the stage, I’d had many conversations with people about this band, all of which said they really enjoyed them and I would too, so I was expecting a lot to be honest. They were certainly one of the most photogenic bands to shoot today, which was great. Musically, they were even better! I noticed the bassist had a child’s shoe strapped to his guitar neck, so later I asked him what the significance of this was. Apparently, it’s one of his four children’s items of clothing, he has attached to various pieces of equipment, which helps him to know he’s thinking of them, which I though was a lovely gesture! The bands vocalist was very charismatic and theatrical, who showed how a front man should be! Great to watch, even better to hear!

Elephant Tree were my find of the day though, having never seen or heard their music before, I was blown away with what I saw and heard. Their performance will live within my memory banks for a long time to come! Something about them appealed to me greatly, I think it had something to do with the great music they produced, yeah that’s gotta be it! Great set today and I can’t wait to see them play again. The sooner the better to be honest! It’s worth mentioning, I saw the bands bassist and lead vocalist having a right old jig during Stoned Jesus’ set! What a character!

Stoned Jesus are phenomenal noise makers, atmospheric and again, another three piece! Just check out their track ‘I’m the Mountain’ to see what I mean! This track is one of my all time favourites and seeing them perform it live was a real treat! Although I can’t attend every gig or festival that I’d like, the ones I do get to attend are all amazing for their own reasons! I’m quite lucky really, when I think about it and it’s truly humbling when I’m given the opportunity to witness a band, such as Stoned Jesus! These guys are future headliners, for sure! I’m aware these guys are currently on tour, so check them out if you haven’t already, although I know at least 45,000 people who have and I now they get these guys, as do I!

As headliners go, they don’t get much better than Elder, to be honest! The funny thing is, I saw both these guys AND Monolord at Dessertfest, opening the days events at KOKO, back in 2016! Now both these bands have worked their way to headlining slots, which is great to see! For their headline set, Elder enforced a three track rule, which I found Hilarious! If you’re a fan of these genres, you’ll know a fourth track equates to a full length album. Anyway, they opened with ‘Dead Roots Rising’ which is an incredible (12 minute) song, which only gets better at the playing time of 9:35! Hearing this track again live and by the time they reached that magical moment, I found I’d been transformed into a space goat and was floating within a mystical void, within my mind! This experience will certainly go down as one of many great musical moments I’ve witnessed over the years!

Thanks yet again to my HRH family, for a truly memorable event! Roll on 2019 and their 4th instalment!

To see more photographs from the day, 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)

Amplified 2019

MUSHROOMHEAD confirmed headliners..

Gloucestershire based AMPLIFIED FESTIVAL makes their first announcement, and it’s a statement of intent as Ohio based Multi-Million selling MUSHROOMHEAD are confirmed to headline the Saturday Main Stage.

Formed in 1993 the band is known for their unique sound. A not-so delicate blend of Heavy Metal and Industrial Rock their theatrical imagery features masks and costumes as well as their unique live shows, which are normally played in more intimate venues. This will be the first UK outdoor festival Headline slot for the Cleveland based band, and it promises to be quite the set. MUSHROOMHEAD are primed and ready for the Cotswolds in 2019.

Joining them on the main stage bill are legendary Thrash lunatics LAWNMOWER DETH, who among their many accolades have played twice with Kim Wilde and are the current theme tune for the BBC Radio 2 segment “Dr. Mosh”. Frontman Qualcast Mutilator said “At our age it’s always nice to play somewhere that we can purchase shortbread in a tin with a picture of a thatched cottage on it. Nothing says metal like a tin of shortbread. South West and Amplified, we are coming”.

The Main Stage line-up additionally features IDIOM, BLOODSHOT DAWN, THE BAD FLOWERS, RYDERS CREED, THOSE DAMN CROWS, ROCKET DOLLS, BLACK BULLETS, LOTUS EATER, ESPRIT D’AIR, MORTISHEAD, TRC, SEETHING AKIRA, HIGHTOWN PARADE and AWAKENING HYPERIA.

Announced for the Very Metal Art Stage are bands KRYSTHLA, SEPTEKH, THE MEN WHO WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING, BYZANTINE, THIS IS TURIN, MAGE, COLLIBUS, META-STASIS, WRETCHED SOUL, PRIMITAI, KANE’D, VALAFAR, REPULSIVE VISION, THE KING LOT, TOMORROW IS LOST, MIDNIGHT PROPHECY, CALLUS, DAMAGED REICH and ETHYRFIELD.

In addition, the festival have announced the returning SULPHER and UNZUCHT to play the now legendary “G’s Bar Stage”

Joining them are SISTERS OF SUFFOCATION, BLACK ORCHID EMPIRE, WITCHSORROW, THE MIGHTY WRAITH, DISHONOUR THE CROWN, DEATH REMAINS, BLOOD OATH and SERTRALINE.

Remaining Early Bird Tickets will be on sale until midnight on the 31st October, 2018 via the festival website. For full details visit: www.amplifiedrocks.com/tickets.

Now that we have your attention please stay tuned for further announcements and a few surprises heading your way…these include the final headliners performing here Friday and Sunday on the Red Stripe Main Stage, those acts headlining the Very Metal Art Stage and the final act performing on the legendary G’s Bar Stage on Sunday night…the festival’s ‘coup de grace’ if you will.

You’ll have to keep those horns sharpened and be on the look out for more info coming soon!!!

Band applications are currently open via:

www.amplifiedrocks.com/band-applications

Be sure to check out: www.facebook.com/amplifiedfestivalUK

Or follow on: www.twitter.com/amplified_rocks

And: www.instagram.com/amplifiedrocks

Amplified Festival 2018

Quarrydowns Gloucestershire – Saturday 7th July.

After a traumatic night, feeling ill and having to take a shit in the woods, I kid you not, I started Saturday, rather jinjerly…get it! Yes, today is the day I get to see my favourite band on planet Earth, right now!

Before that though, we had many an amazing band to watch, before hand!

Sadly, the only band I managed to see, on the ‘Legendary G’s Bar Stage’ today was Pretty Addicted” as due to the continuing heat, I didn’t wanna melt. Bear in mind, this stage is in the marque bar which proved as the festivals saviour last year! This area has had an upgrade and now has a proper stage area which works very well, despite the heat. Having seen the only two band members, who bothered to show up this weekend around the festival all weekend, they looked like pretty interesting characters, so I wanted to check them out. Although not a full band, we had a vocalist and the bands bassist who gave us one hell of a show! Great to photograph too! Wonderfully weird and extravagant!

The first band I managed to see over on the ‘Very Metal Art Stage’ were the Derby lads, Fahran, who I haven’t managed to see since their show at Derby Theatre, when the pyro set off the fire alarms and cleared the venue during the first song! Haha! I love their energy, which they had in abundance during their Amplified Festival set today. I also love their sound as it’s very original! These guys are being tipped as the next big thing and mark my words, given the right guidance, they will get there! Someone said to me recently, “we all have a book to write, within us” and this story would most definitely feature within it!

Irish lads ‘Animator’ caught my ear this weekend again over on the VMA Stage. These guys play a great mixture of metal that I’d mostly class as thrash metal, to be honest! Not that that’s a band thing, as I personally love old school thrash. Think Anthrax and you’ve got these guys in a nut shell!

Sadly, X-Method didn’t mange to make it to over to play the festival, so Paul McMonnies, managed to send the band a personal and heart felt ‘Hello’ from all of us here, to make up for it!

I’m also disappointed with the fact that I missed Arron Buchanan as I believe I was interviewing the awesome Evil Scarecrow, at the time. As much as I hate interviewing bands, for this very reason, Evil Scarecrow made it worth while, as it was loads of fun! Check that interview out here – we think this interview was/is hilarious and really helps to give people an insight into the crazy minds, behind one of Britain’s best loved metal bands!

Back to thrash then, courtesy of the AWESOME Bull-Riff Stampede! It’s been a long time since we last saw these guys play a show, in fact I think the last time was when they supported Lawnmower Deth, at their Christmas show down in London at the Underworld! This is apparently only their second performance of 2018 and to be fair, family life is more important than music (but music is life). Certain members of the band are also performing in other bands, like Jay, who plays guitar for Xentrix’s and James, who has recently been announced as Onslaughts new drummer, which is awesome news! As much as I love both of those other two bands, for me, these five individuals ARE Bull-Riff Stampede and should remain that way and yes, that’s me being selfish! I hope to see more of these guys soon, as I love them. P.S, I’m still waiting to hear ‘Mask of Five Skulls’ live fellas, sort it out!

Headlining the VMA Stage today we have the ultra funny Psychostick, all the way from Chicago – America, to entertain us, with their unique style of metal! Funny hats, beards, songs about beer and boobs, what’s not to love! I’ve never seen these guys play before, so was intrigued to see what the Amplified crowd would make of them? To describe into words, if you threw Evil Scarecrow, Alestorm and Gwar into a room and they had an orgy, Psychostick would be the resulting love child and I think it’s safe to say, the crowd loved them! Thanks to the fact that their was no band clashes, between the main stage and the second stage, it meant that there was no excuse for missing these guys, or any other band that you wanted to see. If however, there was a band on the 3rd stage you wanted to see, you were screwed but the festival did try to schedule these bands sensibly. Well done, this worked very well!

Today on the main stage, there was a real mixed bag of music that didn’t follow any one genre or theme, it simply showcased the best in music, today and had something for everyone! It’s worth mentioning that last year, the main stage was on the opposite side of the field, facing the sun. Acoustically, I though this worked well but it didn’t appreciate or take into account the sun as it passed over. I’ll be forgiven for not factoring this in, as we didn’t see the sun last year! With the main stage in it’s new location, it worked very well I thought, ok, the sun was super bright this year, so photography was a challenge in the morning, but as the sun set we were treated to some super cool colours and even managed to capture some cool sunset images in the background, behind the main stage. Acoustics weren’t affected either! Bonus! Going forward, I can see the main stage remaining in this location for future years!

Another band that caught my ear today were King Creature and what a great sound, live. I’ve since gone back and listened to their recorded material but sadly, that same energy which I saw on stage today, appears to have been lost in their recording of ‘Volume One’, which got released last year. Coincidentally and in a conversation I had with Sean, Voodoo Bloods lead guitarist, he admitted many bands fall foul to the modern way of recording an album these days. He agrees that the live, musical element gets lost when each instrument is recorded separately, then layered over the top of one another and suggests, if/when Voodoo Blood get around to recording their debut album, they’d look to record tracks in one take together, like bands used to back in the day! Yes Sean, this will work very well, especially with a band like his, whose live shows sound phenomenal!

The next band that literally blew me away today were non other than Jinjer, who I knew would do just that after seeing them perform at Rock City’s Basement Room back in December 2017. So sure was I of this bands talent, I took a punt and shared one of my images in the Amplified Festival Facebook group, suggesting they book them for this year! Amazingly, Gary messaged me back 24 hours later, stating he’d booked the band and was just waiting on them to sign the contract! Since then, the music industry appears to have opened their eyes and their ears and have taken notice of these guys from the Ukraine, especially after touring with Arch Enemy in Europe and Cradle of Filth in North America!

Jinjer are already massive in Europe, as it’s easier for them to get visas to enter those countries. After speaking with Eugene, the bands bass player and voice, he admitted it’s the UK border control that makes life difficult for them when trying to enter the UK. This problem reared it’s ugly head again after driving from their own country and across Europe to Germany as they needed to get an approval stamp, granting them entry into the UK. Sadly, this process took a whole two days, which meant they had to cancel their appearance at Tech Fest and another show that they had planned to use as a warm up. They did eventually get permission to cross the channel and to enter into the UK, just in time for them to get here and perform for us. Although extremely tired, they put on one hell of a show which clashed with the England quarter final game, which sucked, as the crowd wasn’t nearly big enough for a band of this caliber!! Those that did bother to witness Jinjer’s first and only UK festival performance in 2018 were blown away by it! I know this, because I spoke with many people at the festival over the weekend, who said so! Fair play Gary, you did us proud!

Evil Scarecrow are now a worthy headlining band and after their impromptu headline set at last years event, Gary clearly saw their potential and granted them an official headlining slot for this year. To make their set even more fun, the band had upped the anti, going all out on their performance and features to enhance the spectators enjoyment of the show. Features include pyro, CO2 cannons, confetti and of course, people dressed up in various costumes, relating to their songs! Fair play to the person, who dressed up as Red Riding Hood and who ventured out into the crowd, during the bands performance of the yet to be released track off their fourth coming album due out this October! I thought they were going to slip and fall, but they managed to stay on their feet!

I love photographing this band – it’s true, but I enjoy watching the show even more these days! Although it was an open pit, which meant I could have sat there throughout, taking pictures! Instead, once I got the shots I needed, I raced into the crowd, found my friends and watched the rest of the set with them which for me, was way more enjoyable!

Sadly, after a very long day I made my way to bed so I missed Electric Eel Shock, who, by all accounts, were very entertaining and very funny to watch! Next time guys! Roll on Sunday!

Be sure to visit us over on Flickr for more photos from Amplified 2018. https://www.flickr.com/photos/music224/albums

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)