Tag Archives: ashen crown

Ashen Crown

With support from Mad Spanner, Blood Church and Grave Altar.

It’s Friday and time to blow the working week cobwebs away and I can’t think of a better way to do it than in the company of Ashen Crown, Mad Spanner, Blood Church and Grave Altar over at The Hole In The Wall in Shrewsbury.

Getting the metal underway tonight were Grave Altar and these guys didn’t waste any time with pleasantries, they just hit the ground running hard. With metal that consistently locks on to a rapid fire ricochet, this band not only looked but sounded like serious business and there was no let up throughout their set at all. Intense, powerful and just what you need to get a Friday night off to a great start.

Our second band of the night were Blood Church and having seen them play live on several occasions this year, they have fast become a favorite of mine. Nothing says more about a band than the audiences reaction and Blood Church tonight drew the audiences attention to the point of becoming a seething pit of bodies. I can’t remember the last time getting up close was such an impossibility and with a performance like this, these guys are well on their way to immortality!

There was something quite mesmerizing about watching our third band of the night, Mad Spanner. Maybe it was their appearance or the blatant craziness of Michael Randall but I found myself caught up in an experience that I can only compare to Beetle Juice the musical. Having said that, underneath this persona, there is a very competent band who have built an amazing metal world of their own creation which is thunderous, ravenous and quite eccentric. Once again, the audience were possessed and lapped up the invitation to mosh like their lives depended on it!

Our headliners tonight were Ashen Crown and with Kieran Scott also promoting the event, this was a busy night all round for him. There is a very tough core to Ashen Crown that drives a powerful hypnotic element to this bands metal and you can feel the intensity simmering, right up to the point when the explosion is unleashed and boy oh boy, did this guys deliver an (((earthquake performance))) tonight. With the band now heading into the studio to complete their debut album, this is one album that I can’t wait to hear and if you want to catch them live again, they will be launching ‘Osolescence’ at the O2 Academy3 in Birmingham on Saturday 26th October.

Tonight’s event has been one hell of a night for live music with great music, a fantastic atmosphere and an audience completely in tune with all of the bands. Born To Lose Productions have their next event lined up for 23rd August back here at The Hole In The Wall in Shrewsbury and believe me when I say, that is going to be a night you don’t want to miss!

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

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Metal 2 The Masses

The Grand Final
KK’s Steel Mill Wolverhampton 1st June 2019.

Today is set to be one to remember, with six heats and three Semi-finals done and dusted in this years Wolverhampton Metal 2 The Masses, the Grand Final is now upon us. With a slot on the New Blood stage at Bloodstock calling out to our winner, the anticipation was electric and our six finalist were ready to give it their all.

With Rustlung having drawn the first slot of the day, they quickly set about making their thirty minutes count. The atmosphere on stage was all consuming – as was their blend of stoner/groove metal and clearly the band were intent on proving that they had exactly what it takes to be worthy contenders for today’s much sought after prize, to perform at Bloodstock.

The next band to take to the stage were The Black Hounds and as always, hard rock/metal played at its very best was their ultimate goal for today. With audience numbers growing, the band captured and held their attention fast, leaving no one in any doubt that today we would be witnessing Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses finalists, reach a standard of performance to be proud of.

Our third band of the day were Eyes Of The Raven and anyone whose seen these guys play live before, will know that they live stoner/groove metal large and always pack an honest and heartfelt punch with every song they play. Highlight of their set for me was ‘Crown Of Serpents’ which in my book, is pure and absolute mastery!

With the first three of our six finalist having given their all, the midway point of today’s event was reached and it was time for our first guest band of the day. Ashen Crown are a shining example of West Midlands metal and their rocket fuelled rise within this community has already led them to perform on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock in 2017. To describe their set today as brutal, ruthless and relentless is an understatement – a first class performance from a first class band.

Atarka were next to perform at today’s event and I can’t help but admire this band for their volcanic intensity, which is further incited by the towering stature of lead singer, Jamie Smith. With the audience rising to meet Atarka’s call to arms, the mosh pit responded and clearly, this was going to be one performance from today, that was favored by many.

Having attended all heats and semi-finals, there is one band who have repeatedly exceeded themselves, and that band is Blood Church. The theatrics of this band knows no boundaries and today, their satanic brimstone, metal and fire was more scorching that ever. This band have to be seen and heard – and truly, they are a mind blowing experience never to be forgotten. Today saw them take both stage presentation and metal to yet another new level with bible tearing, blood and two pigs heads giving rise to some very sharp intakes of breath from me! Epic!!

Elyrean have been a big hit with fans throughout the entirety of Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses and it has been an absolute pleasure to see them rise to meet high expectations head on. With each and every performance they’ve given, the impeccable standard of musicianship that this band possesses has been a sheer pleasure to witness and today’s Final saw them embrace the moment and completely captivate their audience of many!

Today’s Final has been an incredible event but with our second guest band of the day still to play, it was definitely far from over. Evil Scarecrow are absolute icons within the metal community – and beyond it for that matter and today’s set was certainly larger than life! With their stage props built to satisfy the most bizarre of imaginations, their music to feast on and lots of hilarity on stage and off, today’s Wolverhampton’s Metal 2 The Masses performances ended on a high, in true Scarecrow style.

And with all bands having played and performed like their very souls depended on it, we waited with baited breath for the announcement of the day. I really didn’t envy Simon Hall his job as judge today, as this was definitely going to be a difficult call! But the moment came and the announcement made and Wolverhampton’s winners of a slot playing on Bloodstcks New Blood Stage went to Elyrean and to say they were overjoyed is most definitely an understatement! But the good news didn’t end there as Eyes Of The Raven received the suprise selection of a slot on the Jagermeister Stage AND one band (who weren’t named) picked as a reserve should an available slot arise – now that is a result!!

On a personal note, it has been an absolute pleasure to have been part of this great event and my heartfelt gratitude goes out to Matt Edwards for keeping those big wheels turning, the sound guys for their brilliant skills on the sound desk, all photographers and reviewers, KK’s Steel Mill for their hard work and never ending commitment to this great event, Simon Hall and of course, everyone who has supported the bands and this event along the way. And there we have it folks – my feet ache but the heart is very happy, Wolverhampton Metal 2 The Masses 2020 can’t come soon enough!!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Amplified Festival 2018

Quarrydowns Gloucestershire – Friday 6th July.

We attended the first ever Amplified Festival last year and it certainly was a wet one but the spirit of the event couldn’t be dampened and Friday 6th July 2018 saw it return for another bite at the cherry and we’re glad it did as the atmosphere we experienced throughout the weekend suggested that everyone was right behind Gary and the team in willing this festival on to be a success. In contrast to last year, we experienced some of the hottest weather to be encountered at a festival in this country and without a doubt, Amplified can now being dubbed ‘The Extreme Weather Festival’ but this year will be mostly remembered for the killer bands who played there, aswell as the excellent atmosphere that was produced by the metal/music community that we’ve all grown to love!

Sadly, I was covering this event on my own this year, which filled me with both dread and excitement in equal measures as on average, I think I covered around 9 miles each day in the sweltering 31 degree heat and I still have bruises on both my big toes to prove it, but with some of the finest bands that the music industry currently has to offer performing over the three days, it was certainly worth it.

Impavidus opened up proceedings on the Very Metal Art (VMA) stage today and to great effect. Michelle, the bands front woman was a Force majeure that few could match. Full of energy, smiles and some superb metal – what a way to kick off the weekend and they did themselves proud in more ways than one. I saw the whole band throughout the weekend watching their friends in other bands aswell as bands they admire, so credit to them for giving Amplified their all.

The first band over on the Red Stripe main stage, was non other than Torqued and having first spoken with Marc Cleave at last years event, it was good to see that they were invited to perform this year and honestly, these lads have some real energy and passion for both their music and the scene in general. I was impressed to say the least, as these guys are a credit to the industry. Marc also runs corrosive merch which offers some of the best music related items I’ve seen for a while!

I first caught Ashen Crown at this years HRH Metal event back in February and they too impressed me greatly. Over this weekend, I had an opportunity to share a hot dog with Kieran and friends, where he admitted that even he’s surprised at the level of interest and opportunities the band have received since their inception. Personally, I’m convinced it’s down to them having an amazing talent and being a great product that people will enjoy – it also helps that they’re managed by Rachael Harrison, who is one of the best in the business!

I can’t write a review of a music festival without mentioning Footprints in the Custard as these days, it would appear they are everywhere and for a very good reason too as they deliver the feel good factor where ever they perform and festival goers love watching them. They are just good fun and help to lift peoples spirits which is what live music should be about and they are pretty good musicians too, who knew! Today’s performance, saw Ward XVI’s guitarist step in at the last minute, which was greatly appreciated! I for one, love watching these guy – it’s true!

One band who are local to me, are Witch Tripper and these guys are always fun to watch. Great musicians, who also do have a love for the industry so credit to them for that. Whilst hanging with the band and grabbing a breakfast cob, one gig goer suggested the bands name reminded him of someone throwing a bit of wood into a chipping machine, which got us all a little puzzled until I clocked where he was going….wood chipper!!! HAHAHA You had to be there really! On the Saturday, they had to leave to go play a gig in Plymouth but they came back for Sundays antics, which saw me inviting Stoff to come meet Doyle for my interview with him, which he greatly appreciated but what a strange encounter that was – more about that later!

Dust Bolt also caught my attention today over on the main stage and it’s hard to believe that despite these guys having been around since 2007, I’ve only just discovered they exist! They hail from the small Bavarian town of Landsberg in Germany, so god knows who their influences are? It’s no secret, I love a good thrashing and have done so since I discovered the amazing Savage Messiah, who helped to reaffirm my love for this genre! Since then, I’ve discovered a wealth of underground talent within this genre, like Bull-Riff Stampede for example, who also played here this year! It’s not often I fall head over heals for a band these days, but when I do, I fall hard and love them instantly, I just loved the power of their music!

By the time The Dirty Youth came on to close the first day out over on the VMA Stage, the sun was going down and everyone was in excellent spirits, myself included! I don’t wanna take anything away from this excellent band but I honestly think I was high on vitamin D by this point, so these guys sounded even better than I remembered! I loved them so much so, I was screaming like a girl! They did have a very good ‘feel factor’ about them! Odd to see them on this stage, but they did do themselves proud!

SOiL headlined the main stage tonight and seeing them really was bitter sweet. The last time I saw these guys, I was given the opportunity to interview Ryan McCombs who then went on to have a heart attack two days later. Thankfully, he made a full recovery and was back up on the stage, which is great. I thought the rest of the band were great too and what’s more, the lighting tonight was much better than they are usually known for having which was also a bonus! Headliners, yes but in all honesty, not worthy of this spot tonight and this was also the opinion of many others who I spoke to over the weekend!

Strangely, people who witnessed Voodoo Blood play G’s Bar and bringing Friday’s event to a close, said that they should’ve headlined! Such an unbelievably talented bunch of musicians, who appear to be great to talk to as people, which was something I had the pleasure of doing earlier in the day. I just hope they stay grounded and not let fame ruin them as it has for so many others before them! Kim, the bands female lead vocalist is an absolute power house but to look at all 4ft 9inches of her, you wonder how the hell she manages to have such a powerful voice!!! Long will their set be cemented within the festivals archives, All hail Voodoo Blood! I’ve also managed to check out their new EP ‘Fresh Hell’ which offers four great tracks but what I really want to see is a full length album next, please!

Roll on Saturday…….if my stomach can handle it!

Be sure to visit us over on Flickr for more photos from Amplified 2018. https://www.flickr.com/photos/music224/albums/with/72157696032365062

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)