Tag Archives: awake by design

Winter Storm

At The Robin2 Bilston 16th October 2016.

Tonight I’m feeling very privileged to be in attendance at The Robin2 Bilston in support of the West Midlands based band Winter Storm, who were opening up proceedings for this, the final UK show for the Netherlands based band Stream Of Passion who are bringing their last tour ever, to a close.


Also included in this evening’s line up and main support for all four UK dates were Awake By Design, so all in all, tonight’s event really looked set to be a jewel in the West Midlands crown.

Winter Storm first formed back in 2008 and are the kind of band whose metal is perfect for all seasons, as it captures the free spirit of a symphonic heart with crystal clarity.


The bands set tonight transported the audience on a journey laid down within previous recordings and also gave us a glimpse of what is still yet to come, in the form of a track from their forthcoming new album. This track in itself delivers a very powerful dreamscape, enhanced further by the unmistakable vocals of Hannah Fieldhouse and if this is a fair representation of what lies ahead, then the albums release is one to be highly anticipated.


Despite the restrictions that the confined space on stage presented Winter Storm with, the bands performance lacked for nothing tonight and all in all, delivered an excellent start to the night. Also, and in addition to the familiar faces of Hannah, Wayne and Kim up on stage tonight, there were a couple of unexpected surprise faces aswell, but more about that later.


After the bands set, I had chance to catch up with Hannah for a quick chinwag and to ask a few burning questions…

Congratulations, that was quite a set tonight – can you tell us a little about the set list and how you decided on which songs to include?

Thank you very much. Well we wanted to include a mixture of our two current albums with fan favourites such as Firedancer and Dark Awakening, but also put something new in there, so we showcased Astral World, which went down very well and was such a highlight of the performance for me personally.

It was great to hear a new song from the forthcoming album, how’s that coming along and can you say yet when it’s likely to be released?

We are still very much in the writing process, unfortunately, so we cannot give any indication about recording or release dates. Its taking a long time because we are really crafting the concept, feel and music. It will mark a new era musically for the band, and a progressed sound.

Tonight’s line up on stage was looking slightly different from usual with a couple of surprise face’s up there aswell – can you tell us a little bit about how that came about?

We recently parted ways with keyboardist doomsday, and had the fantastic Janson Sissons with us, more on that to come. Secondly we now have our previous drummer Richard Marsden back with us. He’s an integral part of our unit and we enjoy working and writing together. Kim Masters our bass player has been with us for a few years too now, surviving well, hahaha!


What’s next for the band, have you any more gigs lined up?

We have one show on Sat 19th November at Wolverhampton’s Giffard Arms. This is our last 2016 show, and we hope to have some exciting gig announcements soon for you all…


It was great to catch up with Hannah and Winter Storm tonight and a very big thank goes out to them for inviting us over, I’m sure we’ll be seeing you all again soon!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Hils Ovation

The O2 Academy2 Birmingham 30th January 2016.

You know you’re in for a good gig when the line up warrants an upgrade to a larger hall, so I’m full of anticipation for what our five band listed for tonight, are all about to deliver.

There are several things that I greatly admire about a Hils Ovation night but the two main aspects for me, are that they give the audience the opportunity to discover new music, aswell as providing up and coming bands with the chance to perform at venues frequently played by bands who are a significant influence in the current music scene.

And with four bands on tonight’s listing who for me, tick the category of new discoveries, Without Grace were the first of those four to take to the stage tonight. Describing themselves as heavy rock, this four piece from Birmingham comprise of Dan Jones (Vocals), Chris Jones (Guitar), Jamz West (Bass) and TJ Weston (Drums). Initial impressions were that stage nerves held these guys back but by the end of their second song, those nerves had vanished and Without Grace stepped up to the plate and gave us a set they should be proud of. The only disappointment for me had absolutely nothing to do with the bands ability but was down to the overly zealous smoke machine that masked TJ Weston from clear sight for most of the set and to do that to a drummer of TJ’s calibre, is damn near bordering upon a criminal offence!

Chris Jones - Without Grace

Our second band for tonight were the Rugby based band Wounded Cross and looking back at their Facebook page, it’s great to see how the launch of their EP ‘Bonecrusher’ and the recent addition of Rob Barnett on guitar is having such a positive influence on them – as these guys were clearly very happy to be up on stage tonight. Tonight’s set from the band gave us the chance to hear a good selection of their songs but I have to admit to being more that just a bit curious as to where their current evolution will take them, as old school Doom metal introduced to the new influence of a folk singer/songwriter is a pretty unique prospect and one that I am very much looking forward to hearing!

Graham Pax - Wounded Cross

With drummer Michael Brush undertaking drumming duties elsewhere on tour, Celestial Wish’s set was tonight performed as a three piece and comprised of Saneeta Ram – Frontwoman, Daniel Carpenter – Lead Guitar/ Orchestral Composer and Fraser Banks – Bass. In my opinion, symphonic metal always seems to command a very grand and majestic presence and the beautiful voice of Saneeta Ram captured those elements of splendour perfectly and was an absolute pleasure to the ears. Celestial Wish are definitely a band that deserve to be seen and heard, so do give their Facebook page a like and keep your eyes open for future dates – I think you will be quite impressed!

Saneeta Ram - Celestial Wish

Our fourth and final support band of the night were Engraved Disillusion and according to the info on their Facebook page, these guys hail from the Taunton area of Somerset. My geography isn’t what it should be but it’s good enough to know that these guys had come a fair old distance to play for us tonight – so much respect going out to them for that. The bands set tonight was an excellent excursion into the depths of metal whilst travelling quite a melodic route and most ably aided by the powerful vocals of lead singer Matthew Mead. It was great to see the audience’s response to the band and I very much suspect that Engraved Disillusion made their journey back home with a few new Birmingham ‘likes’ added to their Facebook page!

Matthew Mead - Engraved Disillusion

Over the years, it’s been a great privilege to watch the progress of Awake By Design and to see them grow into an entity of precision built metal that is well and truly standing the test of time. The current line up of the band comprises of Dave Favill – Bass Guitar, Luke Hatton – Lead/Rhythm and Acoustic Guitars, Janson Sissons – Keyboards/Piano, Chris Wilkinson – Drums and Adrian Powell on vocals.

Janson Sissons - Awake By Design

Tonight’s set contained several tracks from last year’s album release ‘Carve The Sun’ including the spectacular track and firm favourite of mine, ‘Falling On Me’, which never fails to give Adrian Powell the chance to deliver some rather outstanding vocals. I really enjoyed Awake By Design’s set tonight and with new songs in the writing aswell, I very much hope that this means we will be seeing and hearing a lot more from the band this year!

Adrian Powell - Awake By Design.

Tonight’s trip to the O2 Academy2 was a good night all round and one that I suspect the bands enjoyed equally as much as the audience did.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Awake By Design

The Slade Rooms Wolverhampton 16th May 2015.

I’m so so chuffed to be sat here in the photo pit at The Slade Rooms this evening as the moment has finally arrived for the official launch of Awake By Design’s brand new album ’Carve The Sun’ and with support most ably being provided by The Mighty Wraith and Mallen, it is most definitely is gonna be a good night!

The Mighty Wraith are a band whose grim determination has seen them weather the scythes of time on more than one occasion and with each reincarnation that they‘ve vanquished, the band has grown stronger and stronger in both presence and performance. Tonight’s set saw The Mighty Wraith deliver a forcible storm of metalness, that lavishly glowed in a blaze of some serious guitar riffage and the formidable ability of front man Matt Gore, whose on stage character can only be described as captivating – at the very least! I can’t wait to see what this year brings for the band but based on the success of their set tonight, it can only be good.

Matt Gore - The Mighty Wraith

Our main support act for the evening was the up and coming and hard rocking foursome – Mallen, who comprise of Kelly Mallen on vocals, Dean Ellis on Bass, Dann Pritchard also on guitar and backing vocals and Tom Crowfoot on drums. Mallen are a very much happening right now band who have amassed a fair few gigs and an EP launch already this year, so they really are a band to check out first chance you get.

Kelly Mallen - Mallen

With The Slade Rooms audience being of a mind to enjoy the night, Mallen had a hearty audience to entertain and rise to the occasion they did, even despite a few sound problems mid set. There was also a guest vocal appearance from Kane Thomason and with this being his very first stage experience, I very much hope that it won’t be his last as this young man has quite an impressive voice in him! Next stop for Mallen is Scruffy Murphys on Saturday 30th May, so hop on over to their Facebook page for more details of this event.

Dann Pritchard - Mallen

The recording of an album and the bringing it to life is not something that simply just happens. The recording of an album and the bringing it to life is something that requires hard work, sacrifice and quite often a fair few heartaches along the way and for Awake By Design, the creation and release of ‘Carve The Sun’ has seen all those challenges arise but with the final outcome being, the complete labour of love and tireless endeavour that we were all there tonight to applaud.

Dave Favill - Awake By Design

Front man Adrian Powell has been at the helm of this great band for what must now be a good seven years and his stage presence and vocal performance tonight, quite simply excelled. With the bands line up this evening including Dave Favill on Bass, Luke Hatton and Luke Smith on Lead/Rhythm Guitars, Janson Sissons on Keyboards and Jake Stone on Drums, it really does seem like all systems GO for Awake By Design.

Adrian Powell - Awake By Design

There was absolutely no mistaking the pride on the faces of Awake By Design as ‘Carve The Sun’ burst into life and quite rightly so, as the album itself is an anthology of well written songs that span from the realms of symphonic metal through to the amalgamation of several graceful ballads and the live translation of these tracks, really was a pleasure to behold.

Luke Hatton - Awake By Design

I’m very much hoping that from up on the stage, the band could see their audience as I could, because there sure was a whole heap of love and support in the room for them tonight.

Well, I’m leaving The Slade Rooms this evening as one very happy bunny as the standard and ability of all three bands who have performed here tonight, has once again demonstrated the wealth of talent and ability that sits within the West Midlands music scene.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.