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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)


Kick start 2018 Eurpean Tour with Alien Ant Farm

Following on from the release of their ‘SCREAM: The Essentials‘ album at the end of last year, SOiL are now gearing up for their european tour supporting ALIEN ANT FARM which kicks off in the UK in February.

The band will also be doing their Grip And Grin ‘meet and greets‘ for the UK shows, tickets available for this can be purchased from here: https://national-acts.com/soil/ Tickets are also available to buy now from Live Nation – https://www.livenation.co.uk/show/1012287/alien-ant-farm/bristol/2018-02-06/en – and all usual online ticket sellers – Seetickets, Ticketmaster, Songkick etc

Tour Dates – Feb 2018:
Tues 6th, O2 Academy Bristol
Wed 7th, O2 Forum London
Thu 8th, The Ritz Manchester
Sat 10th, Waterfront, Norwich
Sun 11th, O2 Academy Leeds
Mon 12th, O2 Institute Birmingham
Wed 14th, Academy Dublin
Thur 15th, Limelight 2 Belfast
Fri 16th, The Garage Glasgow
Sat 17th Academy Newcastle
Sun 18th, Rock City Nottingham

‘SCREAM: The Essentials’

Formed in 1997, Chicago Heavy Rock band SOiL quickly took the scene by storm. The band has sold over 2 million albums worldwide and is best known for the hit singles Halo, Unreal, Redefine, The Lesser Man, and Shine On.

After celebrating their 20th anniversary in January of 2017, SOiL entered into the studio to record new material to be included on ‘SCREAM: The Essentials’, a Greatest Hits collection featuring the songs that solidified SOiL as Hard Rock mainstays, as well as alternate versions of popular tracks and unreleased material. The new studio track “Gimme Some Lovin” is a cover song originally featured in the 1980 smash hit cult classic movie ‘The Blues Brothers’. “We felt it was a perfect song to add the album” states bassist Tim King. “It tied in our Chicago roots and the 20th anniversary of the band perfectly”.

Watch ‘Gimme Some Lovin‘ by Soil (official music video).

Other tracks included on “SCREAM…” include an acoustic version of “Can You Heal Me” recorded at Dimebag Darrell’s home studio and produced by Vinnie Paul. Also included is a special version of “Give It Up” featuring the late Wayne Static of Static-X contributing verse, chorus, and bridge vocal lines throughout the song.

SOiL will embark upon a worldwide tour in support of the new release “SCREAM: The Essentials” throughout 2017 and 2018.

Line Up: Ryan McCombs (lead vocals), Tim King (bass), Adam Zadel (guitar), Mitch Gable (drums)




Rock City Nottingham 1st November 2014.

This was a tough review to write, especially when you consider Ryan McCombs (SOiL) suffered a stroke on the Sunday, after their headline set at Rock City on the Saturday!!! Thankfully, he is recovering, so we’d like to wish him a speedy recovery!

The first of four bands on tonight were Wolfborne, all the way from Vancouver and consist’s of Chris Witoski – Vocals, Lanning Kann – Guitar, Brett Nussbaum – Bass and Robbie Sheldrick – Drums.

From what I can remember, these guys rocked hard and looked the part, especially bassist Robbie, sporting a rather fetching mow-hawk. What with Halloween being the night before, vocalist Chris got into character and had smeared blood all over his head. A great song by these guys, is “Sex Sells” check it out on you tube.


(hed) Planet Earth next, a band I should have known before-hand, yet they seem to have slipped my net, that is until tonight. With the popularity of cross over bands, such as Skindred, who SOiL toured with earlier this year. I feel SOiL wanted a similar band to support them especially after seeing how well Skindred go down at a live show and they managed it with (hed PE) for tonights show, as their styles are very similar and quite frankly, they rocked as hard, if not harder, who have a slightly more aggressive reggae/metal sound than Skindred.

Having started life some 10 years ago, these guys have amassed a huge following, but seem to have laid dormant for many years for what ever reason, but it seems they are back, with a vengeance. Their new album “Evolution” is released next month and I for one will be interested to hear what it sounds like, as tonight’s show was killer!

Jahred Gomes

Front man Jared is a mad man, who also looks like a bit of a hard b*stard, he’s certainly someone I wouldn’t want to cross, lets put it that way! He emerged on stage in a camouflaged jacket and a bandanner covering his face, which made him look very menacing, which complimented their musical style perfectly.

Setlist may have looked something like this:

1.No Turning Back 2.Bloodfire 3.Killing Time 4.Whitehouse 5.Blackout 6.Bartender 7.One More Body 8.Renegade 9.Raise Hell 10.Peer Pressure 11.Hold On 12.Ghost Town (Specials cover)

American Head Charge next, a band who are really starting to find their true form again. Having seen them tour with RSJ, almost a year to the day at a very intimate venue (which seemed to shock a lot of people), it was no surprise to see them back on the big stage at Download this year. I never saw that performance (at Download) but after tonight, I can only imagine it went down a storm, as these guys certainly suit the larger venues. There was a slight hic-up with Chad’s mic, which he wasn’t all too happy about, which was a shame, as the guys at Rock City are usually very good at delivering the goods! Tonights set from AHC was an absolute belter, they managed to get the crowd moshing hard, Chad even managed to perform an EPIC stage dive, from the top of the speaker stack (Stage right) where he was successfully caught by the crowd and surfed back to the stage to finish the set. Loved it!

Karma Singh Cheema

SOiL then, having seen them in January this year, when they supported Skindred, I had to go back to witness a head lining set from these guys. Before the show, we managed to grab an interview with Ryan and if you follow this link, you can hear it for yourself. Thankfully this wasn’t his last ever interview and no, it isn’t worth even thinking about, but poor old McCombs had a stroke on the Sunday, after this show. Thankfully, tonight was the last night of the tour, so fans weren’t disappointed, but I’m sure they would have understood and I’m sure they are all wishing him well!

Ryan McCombs and Adam Zadel

Amazingly, he seemed up-beat and energetic on stage tonight? Again, McComb’s mic failed, so he got the crowd to sing the words to the first track “Loaded Gun” Once back on track, McCombs continued. Some arse-wipe was busting balls from the start, asking for Halo, which is SOiL’s biggest and most loved track to date, so they had to play that song, or there would be a riot, but shouting it out between every track must piss the band off, as they have written a great variety of tracks, which makes for an awesome set and show!

Tim King and Ryan McCombs

Tonight, I was a little dis-appointed with the lighting, which was a shame as the last time I saw them, the lights were top notch, apparently though, that was a one off, as they usually like the lights to be difficult, odd, especially when you think a band would want good publicity shots? Any how, get well soon Ryan, hope to see you on the road again soon.


Tonight’s set list may have looked something like this:

1.(Intro) We will rock you 2.Loaded Gun 3.Two Skins 4.The Hate Song 5.Deny Me 6.Need to Feel 7.The One 8.Way Gone 9.Redefine 10.Unreal 11.Breaking Me Down 12.Halo @Info[Ryan sung the song within the crowd] 13.Shine On

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)