Tag Archives: fury

HRH Metal

Saturday’s Review (Part 1).
O2 Academy Birmingham 17th February 2018.

Oh wow Birmingham, this amazing event is now in it’s second year and appears to be getting a great reception, as this year has completely sold out! I feel fairly confident in saying that at least 95% of the those in attendance today were here to see Alestorm, myself included, but before we get to Saturdays headliners, we have a wealth of diverse metal bands to get through and there were some great bands on this weekend, however I’ll be covering the Saturday, whilst Sue is probably busy beavering away, reviewing and editing photos for Sunday! What a team!

Today’s proceedings were spread over all three stages of the O2 Academy in Birmingham which is a purpose built music venue, so you’d expect to see someone you liked on one of the three stages, if someone else you was watching wasn’t to your musical taste.

Stage 3 opened the day with a band called Ashen Crown who are in fact from the West Midlands, which is pretty handy as the stage has been named “Best of Brum”. As these guys were the first band on, it was not surprising the pit was full of photographers so I had to shoot from the sidelines, which was probably a blessing in disguise as my angle was advantageous, considering the lighting conditions that played a major part today, sadly not in a good way. I’m aware Ashen Crown played a major extreme metal event last year, so these guys are well known within the metal community. They categorise themselves simply as metal, but I’d hasten to add they’re borderline doom from what I heard! For those of you who like low growls, screaming guitars and heavy bass lines, then this band are for you.

As the main stage didn’t open up until 3pm and Stage 2 didn’t open up until 5pm either, we had Wrath of the Gods up next, again on Stage 3. Although this band have only been together since last year, they appear to be making a name for themselves, probably due to the talented musicians who make up this band. I encountered Wayne, this bands lead vocalist/guitarist, way back when I first started photographing bands, when he was in Dakesis, who played on the Sunday, incidentally. We’ve been friends on social media ever since, so I’m aware Wayne has a great passion for his guitars, he even re-builds them! Today’s weapon of choice appeared to be a rather striking black and white Ibanez….that’s the extent of my guitar knowledge, I’m afraid, however, I do appreciate a good looking guitar! Apologies to the rest of the band, for not managing to capture them, but my camera doesn’t have the ability to filter out smoke and a lot of it!

The same can be said for the next band on Stage 3 ‘Masters Call’ as I only managed to capture two, rather disappointing images of the bands lead singer, who opts to wear a black hoody, a face mask and blacked out skin. I saw one photographer with her head in her hands, literally in despair. Sure it was atmospheric and probably looked good from the crowd, but not from our perspective. I know I’m probably banging on about this way too much but it angers me, knowing that the first three bands I’ve mentioned here, were probably ecstatic to be playing such a prestigious event such as this, in the knowledge they would be able to reach a much wider audience and get good coverage from the media, but sadly, due to the lighting provided by the venue, this wouldn’t be the case! Annoying, sort it out O2!

I may as well stay on Stage 3, as I only managed to watch another three bands on this stage. Thankfully XIII were one of my bands of the weekend, so I’m glad I persevered, to be honest! This trio hail from Hull and consists of the following, Dan Murray: Lead vocals and guitars, James Oxtoby: Bass and backing vocals and Tom Cope: Drums and they are amazing live. The energy and power these three produce, is nothing short of extraordinary, I was fixated and mesmerized. I’ve been aware of this band for some time now, seeing them appearing on bills, here and there, but I was yet to see this band play live, until today that is! I’m tipping this band for big things, so watch this space!

The most disturbing band name on the bill this weekend has to go to Sodomized Cadavar, which is something Ollie, the bands lead singer appears to be very much aware of and somewhat proud of, from what I can tell. If nothing else, the name does help conjure up that ‘shock factor’ you need to prepare yourself for when watching this band, as they are out of control, where insanity barely comes close. This band were most definitely one of the most extreme of the death metal bands we have encountered, EVER! Great fun though and the crowd, a nearly full house, loved them!

My last band, on Stage 3 was Ironrat, who are from Bradford and are signed to Voltage Records. Having played on stage one, earlier, I saw Ballsdeep guitarist, Paul Priestly in attendance. Having not spoken to him in a long time, I thought I’d go over and say hello. Turns out, Ironrat are one of his favourite bands at the moment and he was happy to see them appear on the same bill as him, which meant he would get the chance to see them play. From what I saw, I was very impressed as they play stoner/rock, which also happens to be one of my favourite genres, at the moment!

Sorry to the rest of the bands, who appeared on this stage but I simply gave up trying to photograph this stage. Sure, I could of struggled on and absorbed your music, but I’m not that gifted as a writer, as this review probably demonstrates!

GraVil opened the days events up over on Stage 2 and this band have been on my radar for sometime thanks to Stampede Press, and I was looking forward to catching their set. Like a lot of the bands on today’s bill, these guys are a first for me which is why I love attending HRH events, as they do support up and coming bands. As with Stage 3, the lighting sucked and there was way too much smoke but by this point, I tried to rise above that and just enjoy the moment. An extreme metal band, from London, these guys are loud, courtesy of Tony and Charlie, who provide a two pronged assault with their guitars. The bands energy levels are right up there with the best of them, with lead singer Grant at the spearhead of the attack on the senses! This band are going places, with an already impressive resamay which reads ‘‘No More Forgiveness’ and is the follow up to GraViL’s debut album ‘Thoughts of A Rising Sun’, which saw the band perform live at Download Festival, Hammerfest and tour the UK with HellYeah. The new album’s lead single ‘Decommissioned’ was premiered on Bloodstock Radio, followed by a feature spot on Metal Hammer’s ‘New Noise III’ cover mount cd. Terrorizer Magazine streamed the album ahead of its release, as well featuring the track ‘One Eyed King’ on their Fear Candy cd. GraViL’s new “punch to the gut” music video ‘Detonate’ recently received premieres by Scuzz TV and Metal Hammer.

Again, apologies to the rest of the bands, who played on Stage 2 but I’d had enough of shooting through smoke, however, I made an exception for Fury, who are a band I love, like brothers. It would appear this band are going through some personnel changes at present, which worried me slightly. I’m aware Jake is on a time out at present, Mart has moved onto a different path with his music and I’ve discovered Al is also soon to be departing, which leaves only JJ left, as an original founding member of the band. On bass, we now see Becky, who I’ve encountered in many other bands before this, and she is an exceptional bass player. On lead guitar, we now see Anthony, who, by all accounts, is also an exceptional and diverse musician.

Before the band took to the stage and as I was talking to a fellow photographer, we were interrupted by a reveller stating that he loved Fury so much, could he possibly buy a photo of the band from tonight’s gig, as a memento? This gesture kind of summed this band up, for me as although the changes within the band are apparent, they haven’t lost any of that magic that I’ve grown to love over the years. If anything, they are better and definitely 25% better looking.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Twisted Ninja Presents

The Haygate Wellington Sunday 1st May 2016.

This Charity Weekender has provided an absolute wealth of great music and also set about raising funds for some well worthy charities and today is set to follow in exactly the same vein. Sunday’s charity of choice is Blesma and here were have an organisation whose mission is to assist veterans who have suffered the loss of limbs or sight, in the course of serving their country. It’s difficult to comprehend the impact that this kind of life changing event can have on a person and their family, but the work of Blesma has been tireless in it’s campaigning and the testimonials on their website shows just how much they have achieved for those in need of Blesma’s support.


With a slight change to today’s line up due to PTO being unable to play, the first band on stage were Black Star Bullet. Due to my late arrival at The Haygate, I missed their set, so apologies to the band for my lack of coverage of their performance.

And with the band Buzzard already in full flight, the Haygate was definitely rocking. Buzzards style of in ya face rock is first class and with songs such as ‘Another Chain’ plus a rather impressive version of ‘Teenage Kicks’ that included Mat from Valous on guest vocals, Sunday was looking to be a very promising day indeed!

Andy Ve - Buzzard

Next up were Wolff and it was good to see these guys again as their debut EP released back in early 2015 left quite an impression – especially the track ‘Lycanthropic Tendencies’, which I was chuffed to hear included in their set today. The band have quite a few dates coming up over the next few months, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for all the latest Wolff news.

What can I say about Torous that I haven’t said already as there really is something about this band that never fails to capture the imagination. Today’s set included some of the unmistakable tracks from their EP ‘Dried Bones’ and also gave us an introduction to the forthcoming new single ‘God Game Suicide’ which has all the attributes of another raging success for the band!

Marc Malone - Torous

Another band that are ever popular at The Haygate are West Midlands based The Black Hounds. The band have a busy time ahead with the forthcoming launch of their new EP ‘Gallows‘ which I can assure you is a bit of a cracker and one that needs to be checked out, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for more details about that!

Tonight’s set from Left For Red was one of the must see performances of the day for me as with Dan Carter planning on a little Paternity leave, tonight’s set was quite possibly the last chance I will get to catch this everlasting line up for a little while. And as always and very much true to great form, Left For Red absolutely nailed it tonight, despite having played three gigs over three nights with a fair few miles travelled aswell.

Rob Hadley - Left For Red

Our next band of the night were the one and only Theia and when it comes down to loads of on stage energy, great rock ‘n’ roll and a performance laced with the fact that these guys are all having a great time aswell, then this band is one that should never be missed. Theia’s set tonight was a combination of some of their timeless classics plus a few of their newer songs and it was so impressive to see once again, a band who never take their musical progression for granted.

With Sunday evening well and truly in full swing our next band of the night were Valous. Recent changes to their line up brings Lee ‘Wilf’ Wilson back again but now on full time bass duties and also Ben Read on guitar, who is the second new addition to the fold. Valous always deliver 110% metal and tonight’s set was once again, a powerhouse performance from Mat and the guys.

Mat Shutt - Valous

With the end of the day fast approaching there was no chance to catch your breath as our penultimate band for Sunday were Worcestershire based, Fury. The stage really is a natural habitat for these guys and forty minutes of epic metal just wasn’t enough, as these guys have the knack of making time fly. With a new album set for release next month, I hope it isn’t too long before Telford see’s them back up here again, as that will be a must go to gig for sure!

Julian Jenkins and Mart Trail - Fury

As far as our headlining band goes, you could be forgiven for assuming upon seeing the name Diamond Head on the poster that it was referring to a tribute band or cover act, as ultimately these guys are not out of place on an arena stage just about anywhere in the world, but I kid you not, we are talking about the real mccoy here!!

Karl Wilcox - Diamond Head

The Haygate simply lapped up the hearty set that Diamond Head delivered, which truly was a great thing to witness as these guys clearly put the full weight of their commitment into supporting this great event and brought an amazing weekend to an end on an incredible high!

This weekend has been one to remember and the amount of preparation and organisation that has gone into making it happen, must truly have been a labour of love and none of it would have been possible without the support of the bands, The Haygate, Stage and Studio Services and of course, The Twisted Ninja Team. Andy, Helen, Becky, Lee and Louise deserve a huge amount of recognition for all of the effort and commitment that they put into this weekend and I’m sure that all the bands will be most happy to raise a glass…. or two, in appreciation of all their tireless support.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Hils Ovation

O2 Academy3 Birmingham 26th March 2016.

Tonight’s event is set to be a bit of a celebration, with no less than five bands playing in support of our headliners, Left For Red who are hot to celebrate the launch of their latest single ‘Utopia’.

And first up on stage were the Kidderminster based band, Rustlung. Intensely hard and impressively ruthless, Rustlung played with true grit that swiftly had the audience raising their fists in brutal satisfaction. Check these guys out over on their Facebook page as 2016 already has the makings of a very good year for Rustlung.

Dave Breakwell and Pete Davies - Rustlung

Next up on stage were Fury, who are a band that really need little introduction. Having seen this band live on several occasions over the past few years, a first class performance from these guys is always a dead cert and tonight’s set from Fury certainly went down a storm!

Julian Jenkins and Mart Trail - Fury

Having travelled from Madrid to England to play a handful of select gigs, tonight saw Kaothic take to the O2 Academy3 stage for the first time and deftly prove that metal is most certainly a universal language. It truly was a privileged to see these guys play live and I can most definitely recommend that you check them out.

Zyrus - Kaothic

Tonight’s set from Devil’s Playground marked the beginning of what I anticipate to be, a new and rather exciting venture. When it comes to setting the measure for your very first gig, Devil’s Playground were a force to truly be reckoned with, so do keep your eye’s open for more gigs from this up and coming band as you only have yourself to blame if you don’t!

Leanne Nardone - Devil's Playground

And while we’re on the subject of devils, what more could you wish for than an eerily satanic set from none other than The Heretic Order. Swathed in the darkest of red light and hell bent on summoning the great gods of metal, The Heretic Order certainly left their mark on the O2 Academy3 tonight!

It seems only fitting that tonight’s headliners Left For Red saw fit to launch their new single ‘Utopia’ here at the O2 Academy3, on the very same stage that their outstanding album ‘All Things Known and Buried’ was also launched from, back in February of this year. And for those that have yet to see the video for ‘Utopia’ or just want to watch it again, then here it is!

Left For Red’s set tonight was delivered with a mighty punch and it was so good to see a packed out room and an audience full of support for all that this great band undoubtedly deliver.

LC Decoy - Left For Red

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.