Tag Archives: hard rock hell AOR

HRH Metal 2019

O2 Academy3 Birmingham 17th February 2019.

With the momentum from yesterday still riding high and fueling the enthusiasm for day 2, 1pm sharp saw me back over at HRH Metals Stage 3 to catch our opening Sunday band, Seven Hells. And if there was anyone still semi-conscious from the previous day, then they couldn’t possibly have stayed that way for long as Seven Hells brought down a reign of metal which was utterly immense in stature and performed with undeniable skill. This guys are certainly leaving some big footprints across the up and coming music scene and today’s set was a brilliant example of Seven Hells doing exactly that.

My next must see band on Stage 3 were Awake by Design, whose long standing presence has provided many a fan with a great live music experience and songs that stay with you long after the last note is played. The thing that I have always admired about this band, is their ability to deliver this huge melodic metal sound that just seems to thrive upon their attention to musical detail and the tireless energy that front man, Adrian Powell seems to posses never fails to breathe life into an audience. Today’s set delivered the great hope that we will be seeing more of this band in 2019 and with some new music rising up on the horizon aswell, Awake By Design look primed for a very productive year indeed.

My next pit stop was to be over on stage 1, where Fury were going down a storm – but then don’t they always! When you combine great metal with big personalities and add in a sprinkle of Va Va Voom, the outcome is something that you have to be part of and the proof of that could be heard loud and clear from the impressive size audience present. My only regret was not catching today’s set in full but I’m sure they’ll be plenty more opportunities to catch the band again live as Fury were simply born to perform.

With time marching on and stages 1 and 2 now in full swing, time became more pressing but one band that I was desperate to see today were Netherhall. Today’s set from the band marked two big occasions for the band – 1. their first time appearance at HRH Metal and 2. after having been lead vocaless for quite some time, tonight’s set would provide the debut performance of Matthew Preston in this prominent role. The progressive metal power in the music of Netherhall, always seems to capture the attention of those experiencing its presence and Matthew clearly seemed to be under that same spell too, as both vocals and music gelled superbly together.

Stage 2 was the next stop off point for me to catch local hero’s Left For Red. With their set already in full flight, it was a bit of a battle to get to the pit and one thing for sure, the HRH Metal army knows a great band when they see one. Up on stage the momentum, riffs and vibrant metal groove was running at full steam and clearly the band were enjoying performing as much as we were enjoying watching them. HRH Metal is a great ambassador for supporting the talent of up and coming bands such as Left For Red, so here’s hoping we get to see them back again for next years event – over on Stage 1.

You know when everyone who’s seen a certain band tells you how brilliant they are and every review you’ve read about them seems to hold the same opinion? Well for me, tonight was my first chance to catch THAT band live – Witch Tripper! Hailing from the Nottingham area, this hard working trio are known to never let any dust settle on one of their performances and the set they delivered over on Stage 1 was everything and more I’d hoped it would be. With endless energy, sweat and raging riffs by the bucket load, Witch Tripper certainly owned that stage and boy, did that audience love them too. Band of the day for me and an experience I can’t wait to repeat.

The remainder of my day was spent on a whistle stop tour trying to photograph as many bands as possible across all three stages – a busy day for sure but today’s line up really was quite something, as was the support and hard working endeavors of all those behind the scenes who make events like HRH Metal happen.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

HRH Metal 2019

O2 Academy3 Birmingham 16th February 2019.

Now in it’s third year, this event appears to be going from strength to strength and seems to be attracting the metal elite! Although I was only able to attend the Saturday, there was a total of 21 bands available for me to experience! Sadly, I couldn’t cover ever single one them in this review so I feel it more beneficial to pick out the bands that really impressed me, in the hope someone of influence might read this review and also appreciate the fact I’ve mentioned these bands and book them for their event or festival, because let’s face it, summer is fast approaching and there’s many events ahead of us!

The first band to really impress me were the French outfit Temnien, simply because they’re from France! This is a country not really known for its metal acts but the global success of Gojira may have sparked a metal revolution among the young men and woman, in the country? These guys pack a mighty punch, a brutal assault to the senses, which was a relentless barrage of metal – riff after metal riff! I think it’s also safe to say they enjoyed their set up on stage 3, here in Birmingham, the birth place of heavy metal!

Starting over on the main stage were Ballsdeep, with their second appearance on this stage and this tells me, they’re doing something right! Personally, I think these guys deserved to be higher up the bill than they were, as they are a quality metal act, ever professional and all round great guys, who produce great metal! Having a whole 50 minutes to impress the crowd, they did just that. If I was to ask one thing, from their up and coming new album, that they’ve recently announced, it would be to consider writing a ballad! Strange request, I know, but throughout their 50 minutes set, it was all at the same tempo and speed! Forgive me for sounding old, but as much as I love my metal, I can’t help but think of the likes of Slipknot, Metallica and even Slayer, who’ve managed to slow it down, in their own style and vary their live sets. It’s just a though lads but I do love what you do!

Internal Conflict are a band I’ve covered many times over the years, ever since their first appearance at the Intake club for a metal to the masses event, where they impressed me greatly. Since then, they’ve successfully played many great shows and many great festivals, which they greatly deserve. Between playing the first ever Uprising and seeing them here today at HRH Metal III, they’ve enrolled the services of a new (for them) drummer, the mighty Chris Bentley who I know all too well, from his days in Beholder! Cut this guy open and he would bleed metal, it’s just in his blood! His playing style has helped to solidify this band, stepping them up to a whole new level! They are now a formidable force of nature and one to be reckoned with! I’m expecting big things from this band and with the backing of the team around them, that will soon become a reality!

The next band that literally melted my face off, was Finnish band Lost Society, playing on the main stage! I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Samy, the bands lead vocalist and guitarist said this was their first time touring the UK, or it’s been a long time since their last tour! I never knew this thrash monster even existed, until today and I love my thrash! The bands energy levels were high, as was the atmosphere, before, during and after their set! They even managed to get a wall of death going! Since appearing at HRH, they’ve announced they’re to play Download festival this June, which is great for them! It might even afford the band a new pair of jeans…between them! haha!

The award for most entertaining band of the day – other than Trollfest, goes to ‘At Dawn We Attack’ as their set was absolute bonkers and very enjoyable to watch, as a spectator! Self proclaimed non photogenic metal front man Brian Hancox is anything but! What a character he is, with his dreadlocks flying through the air, whilst administering wrestling moves on a poor unsuspecting stage 3! These guys also play thrash metal, with a twist! I know our own Sue loves these guys, so for me to finally see them play live, was a real treat! Hope to see you again, this year!

The last band of the day, happen to be the final band to feature in this review/round-up from the Saturday at HRH Metal III and they were Trollfest! Many of my colleagues had asked if I’d seen them when they played at Hammerfest on the Mash & Barrel stage, which unfortunately I hadn’t, but they all said how much fun this band are. During my research on the band, I noticed they only sing in their native Norwegian language, which did put me off a little bit! When they took to the stage though, any preconceived notions I’d had of the band disappeared amid the chaos and mayhem that is Trollfest! Lead singer Trollmannen, greeted us as Her Majesty’s Royal Metal Festival and gradually introduced us to the, now known as fairies, within the band, but on the day, I thought were dressed up as Disney princesses, as he was dressed up as a king, his crown being the largest balloon head piece, I’ve ever seen, which kept falling off! If entertainment, during a live show, is your thing, then these guys are the band for you!

As ever, many thanks to the team that makes up the HRH family. It was great to meet Toby as well, who takes over Claire’s role although it was sad not to see her here this weekend! Until the next one, stay metal and crazy for that matter!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins.

HRH Doom Vs Stoner

O2 Academy Sheffield 30th September – 1st October 2017.

Wow, this was over a week ago already, yet I’m still buzzing from my experience at this great event. As we all know, the HRH brand is ever evolving. What started as an annual rock meeting, we look at the brand now and they have multiple events going on throughout the year, including HRH, Hammerfest, AOR, PROG, Metal, Sci-fi weekender and this weekends event Doom v Stoner, which is now into it’s second year.

Not only do they put on some great live events, they now also have a dedicated radio station, where not only do they champion many of the artists they’ve already featured at their live music shows but they also feature up and coming stars, who aspire to play at a one of HRH’s live events in the future. They now also have a full length magazine, which covers all manner of interesting topics, all geared around the fans that attend these events. It’s not a bad read, to be honest, some of the live event shots are a little ropey, they should ask decent photographer to take pictures……only joking Simon, keep up the good work!

On arrival, I was greeted by my favourite HRH face and press liaison, Claire. We always have a good natter and a catch up before any event starts. I’d like to think my cheerful personality helps to lift her somewhat tattered spirits, by this point, what with all the stress she goes through, leading up to the event.

I also got to speak with main man Johnny, uninterrupted, for a change! It’s always a pleasure speaking to the HRH event organiser. I got to ask him his opinion on all things music industry related and it’s always interesting to get his views on an array of specific topics. First and foremost, Johnny is a business man, who also happens to love his music. He always has time to talk to the music fans that attend his events and he strives to put on one hell of a show, which ever genre it may be.

HRH have managed to secure the use of the excellently equipped O2 arenas, in both Birmingham (Metal) and Sheffield (Doom v Stoner and NWOBHM), for their weekend events, which is great for us music goers because they a purpose built. Here’s an interesting fact, I discovered the venue use to be called ‘Roxy Lounge” back in the day and you can still see a neon sign saying as such, in the upstairs bar area! Saying that, we never seem to be lucky with the lighting at HRH events though which is a shame, as with all those lights at the Engineer’s disposal, he always seems to only manage to find the red light switch! In his defense, the first two bands on the main stage, only asked for red lighting?? Seriously, if you want good shots to accompany our reviews, please, please, PLEASE be a little more creative with your lighting choices, as no photographers I know are likely to give a band a good review, if they have to shoot them in red lighting, FACT – I don’t care what your mates in other bands have told you, red lighting sucks!

Kicking off Saturday, up in room 2, we had Regulus performing an acoustic set, which now seems a little odd as I saw them perform a proper live set later in the day on the main stage and they seriously kick ass! These guys lean more on the stoner side of the dual, although they don’t produce a true stoner sound, as they have some heavy metal elements in there aswell. From what I can gather, since the bands formation, they’ve managed to release two EP’s, the first being ‘The End’ in 2013 and ‘Titan Moon’ in 2014. They have also managed to release their debut LP, titled ‘The Quadralith’ recently, which is available on double 12″ vinyl. These guys are from Sheffield, so today must have felt like a home town show, only on a really big stage! We look forward to catching these guys on the road again soon.

The next band to catch my eye were Red Spektor, who are yet another great three piece who hail from Stoke on Trent and are championed, by none other than Mr. Dunkerley himself. These guys were never originally billed to perform this weekend from what I can gather, but due to a cancellation, they got drafted in at short notice and stepped up to the mark, which stands them in good stead for future performances, at HRH events. The crowd appeared to love them and we did too.

Boss Keliod are a band we’ve known of for some time now, I was even convinced I’d seen them play before, turns out they played Uprising Festival, this year, which we sadly missed, so as soon as they took to the stage and started performing, I knew straight away I hadn’t yet had the pleasure, na, the privilege of seeing them perform up until now – what a unique act, indeed. From Wigan, these guys are signed to Black Bow Records and they produce a magnificent blend of stoner rock with effects, courtesy of Alex, via his pedal, which his mic runs through and I could tell he enjoyed creating some crazy ass sounds, through this contraption! Not a band who takes themselves too seriously, which was evident during today’s performance, as someone in the crowd would demonstrate. All I’ll say is, Alex used the hecklers cries to his advantage and the crowd took his side and played along with the jokes. All the big press know who these guys are and love them as much as us. ‘We can’t wait to see these guys perform again, given the opportunity’!

The next band on stage 2, was PIST and by this point in the day, most people were, so aptly named! These guys have elements of DOWN as their musical influences but on the day, I got a more traditional metal feel from these guys. The crowd was packed to the rafters for their set and it would appear many of which, have seen this band perform before considering the banter between them, which made for great photos but you had to be quick, as they weren’t hanging about! According to their social media page, they have recently announced a new tour, for 2018, with Battalions and thankfully, they have a date in Nottingham, so we’re going to try our hardest to be there, if they will have us, as ‘we loved this bands energy and sound’!

St. Vitus are a band who need no introduction, as they’ve been dooming stages since 1979! It would appear HRH love these guys, as they appear quite frequently on various bills, whether that be for Hard Rock Hell, in November, Hammerfest in March, or Doom v Stoner, in September – these guys are that versatile, they fit in with almost anything and everything. This is not a complaint either, we love this band! I last saw St.Vitus perform at Hammerfest V back in 2013, which is much longer than I thought, as it only seems like yesterday! Back then, they had Wino Weinrich on vocals but this time around they had their original singer Scott Reagers, however according to the bands social media page, the two have shared vocal duties over the years, for what ever reason, so it was nice to have seen both vocalists perform with this band. Both singers have very different styles and stage presence, which helps to give the band a completely different feel both times I’ve seen them! Personally, I couldn’t care less who sings for the band as it’s all about Dave Chandler anyway, the bands guitarist, who’s been a permanent fixture in the band since their inception. ‘What a guitarist’ – I could watch and photograph him all day long and I was mesmerised throughout most of their set tonight, amazing!

Saturdays headliners, were none other than Orange Goblin, which I was most excited about as weirdly, I’ve never photographed this band before, until now that is. I say weirdly, because I love this bands music and have enjoyed seeing them perform, many times over the years. I’ve even spoken with Ben, the bands lead singer several times when I’ve seen him at festivals and that time when he was touring with the band Scorpion Child, a few years back! I was getting well into their set tonight, so much so I didn’t even mind having water thrown over me, as I got caught in the cross fire when Ben threw water into the crowd. It’s safe to say these guys are as tight as ever and as they are currently writing and recording a new album, they’ve had plenty of time to practice together in preparation for tonight’s headline show, which was nothing short of magnificent! What an honour to see such a great set, up close and personal! The band head off to Ireland at the end of this month for three shows, so if you haven’t already, go and see these guys perform live, you will not be disappointed.

Sadly, I couldn’t attend the Sunday due to family commitments, which I’m most upset about as I missed some great performances by all accounts, courtesy of the likes of Witch Tripper, King Goat, Ten Foot Wizard, Slabdragger, Truck Fighters (a band I’m desperate to see play live) and Kadavar, who got moved to the headline slot due to My Dying Bride having to cancel their appearance and we hope everything’s ok with them and their camp! Incidentally, Kadavar are supporting Metallica at the end of the month, so I’ll be seeing them then, CAN NOT WAIT!

It also means I’ve got to write less! I hate writing these reviews, coz I’m shit at writing but it’s a stipulation for getting accreditation, so thanks for putting up with my gibberish.

By the looks of this weekends strong attendance, we can only assume this fixture will go ahead next year, so we’re looking forward to that already! What a great day, shared with some amazing people. Thank you.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)