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HRH Metal

Sunday’s live review of stages 2 and 3
O2 Academy Birmingham 18th February 2018.

With the dust still settling from the rather excellent day one of HRH Metal 2018, Sunday’s bands were raring to go and getting things well under way over on Stage 3, were Devil’s Playground. Taking a few on stage technical difficulties all in their stride, Devil’s Playground ignited the audience into action with a forty minute set that was built to impress. With Leanne sadly missing from the bands line up today, Katie King from Cenfora owned that mic in her absence and all in all, Devil’s Playground set the bar pretty high for all those about to follow.

Next up on Stage 3 were the Nottingham based band, Incinery who brought about our first taste of thrash for the day. With their fast, furious and merciless metal assault prevailing, the crowd did not hold back their appreciation and this was most definitely a set that went down a storm!

With today’s events over on Stage 1 getting underway at 3pm, the pressure to be in two places at the same time commenced and resulted in me only catching the last few songs of Vice’s set but what I did see and hear was pretty impressive, as was their performance and the way that this band gel so well together. Discovering new bands is a real draw to HRH Metal for me and this band is one that I will certainly be looking out for in the future.

In these parts of the West Midlands, our next band up on Stage 3 are pretty much everyday hero’s so it was no surprise at all, to witness The Mighty Wraith playing to a pretty packed out hall. With their adrenaline fuelled metal ramped for maximum impact, the atmosphere in the room was fantastic and judging by the size of the smile on vocalist Matt Gore’s face, this was one gig that they will happily reflect on for a long time to come.

Trivax next and here we have yet another West Midlands based band who stand in a league of their own, with their blackest of metal taking on a life of its own. There is an addictive air of intense turmoil to be experienced within this bands music, which I find to be both foreboding yet magnetic when caught in it’s grip – an excellent set from Trivax and one of my favourite performances of the day.

Nightmare World were next to pick up the metal gauntlet and deliver a set that was both charismatic and melodic in it’s style. The band have announced that they are now intending to start work on a second album so do keep checking their Facebook page for more news on that aswell as future gigs.

Sadly, with all three stages now in full swing by the time I galloped back to Stage 3 to catch Skarthia, they had just finished their set so apologies to the band for not making it back there in time to see them play live. I did however manage to catch the rather fantastic Sister Shotgun and I have to hand it to Chloe Ozwell for completely owning this set and if you like your metal laced with lashings of rage, vocal power and va-va-voom, then Sister Shotgun are just what you’re looking for!

Closing out Stage 3 in their own unique and unforgiving style were Dead Hands, whose performance tonight was nothing short of savage! Dead Hands have a wildly alternative approach to their sound and I found myself making the comparison to the now disbanded band Heck, who also had that same crazy ability to detonate on impact. With Stage 3 having been a hive of activity over these past two days and having provided the most discerning of metalheads with some pretty awesome bands to relish, it would only be right to go out on a ferocious high and that was exactly what happened – courtesy of Dead Hands.

With Stage 2 getting underway at 5pm in the O2 Academy’s upstairs hall, I briefly managed to catch the most brutal of attacks courtesy of Swansea’s own, Lifer. This band have quite a reputation for producing a tempestuous onslaught of combined thrash metal, doom and southern style rock that sits within a league of its own and from what I witnessed of their performance today, this bands metal is seriously good!

Over the years, I have had the great pleasure of seeing the birth and to follow the journey of many great up and coming bands and Torous, who were next up on Stage 2, easily sit within that category. Tonight’s set from the band served a very special purpose indeed as it was to be their final performance, so it was destined to be a bitter sweet event from the start. Bathed in blazing white light, the visual impact they delivered was as spectacular as their music and all in all, it was an amazing and emotional epitaph for both band and audience alike.

The final band that I managed to catch over on Stage 2 were Attica Rage and this set also held great meaning to all those present, with it being the final performances for guitarist Stevie Bell whose impending departure was announced last month. Hell bent on making this an occasion to remember, Attica Rage gave the audience an A+ set and as with many of the other bands who played over this two day event, they certainly gave HRH Metal their all.

In addition to stages 2 and 3, I also caught some pretty awesome performances over on Stage 1 today and if you would like to check out more of the photos from all three stages, then just hit the link and check out the gallery over on Flickr!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Hils Ovation

Tonight’s Hils Ovation gig has been a much anticipated one in my gigging calendar, as it is set to mark the release of ‘Torousnew album ‘Mindfield’ and getting this rather special night underway, were the Birmingham/Stourbridge based rock/prog band, Unchanged.

Having already been intrigued by the content of their biography over on the band’s Facebook page, there was clearly a lot more to Unchanged than that which you initially see on the surface. Describing themselves as a concept seems to have opened wide the flood gates for the many musical influences they collectively hold and these varying genres just flow like a raging river through their songs. The bands skill on stage was equally as intriguing and I for one, was definitely left wanting more!

Adam Martin - Unchanged

Our second band of the night were Cause To Effect and over the past few years, these guys have steadily earned themselves a much respected reputation and quite rightly so, as these guys always deliver the kind of hard rockin sound that never fails to leave a great lasting impression. Whilst tonight’s set felt like quite a short one, it still hit the spot and with the band just about ready to play their headlining show over at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton on 20th May, which is also the official launch for the new albumCircumstantial Creatures’, then there’s not too long to wait for some more Cause To Effect!

Ged Green - Cause To Effect

One of the great things that I always love about a Hils Ovation night, is that it gives me the chance to discover some of the great up and coming bands from across the region and our next band of the night, Signs Of Fire, most definitely fall into that specific category! If you could bottle the on stage energy and presence of this band, then you’d never have a bad day again as the vibe that they deliver on stage, is really quite something. With the band currently in the process of recording some new material, I can’t wait to hear the finished product, so I will be keeping my ears and eyes open for more updates on that and wholeheartedly recommend that you do too!

Tommy Smith and Liam Dyer - Signs Of Fire

There is nothing quite like an intriguing band name to get me curious and when presented with a name such as Bad Llama – I’m hooked straight away! Hailing from the Burton In Trent area, Bad Llama have set about creating an all consuming alternative rock sound that carries its own individual stamp which is very easy to get engrossed in. Bad Llama are set to return to the studio shortly to record their second EP, so keep your eyes and ears open for more news from them on that too.

Kyle Jordan - Bad Llama

When our headlining band first came on the scene back in 2014, there was something about them that had me hooked from the very first encounter. For a band such as Torous, there is no limit to the heart, soul and depth that they capture within their music and with each new track that they pen, they always succeed in creating something quite spell binding. Recent months have seen the band busy writing and spending time in the studio with the final outcome being the glittering prize and rather spectacular debut album, ‘Mindfield’, whose launch was now upon us.

Marc Malone - Torous

Torous’s headlining set was very much welcomed by the O2 Academy3 audience and it was apparent from the get go, that ‘Mindfield’ makes for as much of an invigorating live experience as the recorded material does, when it comes pouring out of your home speakers. The set included the album pretty much in its entirety with only a few tracks omitted and Torous more than did it justice – this album will most definitely be a big smash with fans old and new.

Tonight’s set list from Torous consisted of: 1.Sideline (intro track) 2.Frontline 3.I Am 4.Colours 5.Close My Eye 6.Seven 7.Nine 8.Mindfield 9.God Game Suicide 10.Shadow Self

Tonight’s event was the kind of gig that lights up the path for the future of these five great bands and it’s gonna be one that I shall certainly class as a highlight of 2017. Big thanks have to go out aswell to Hils for making it happen and also to the sound engineer for giving us A+ sound and lighting tonight.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Torous

The Flapper Birmingham 20th August 2016.

Back in June of this year, we spoke to Torous and the guys promised us a tour in August, with a rather special night planned for Birmingham. Well, that night has come and also bringing an extra kick to it, are The Mighty Wraith, Devils Playground and Black Asteroids.

I’ve not seen Black Asteroids before but heard good things about them so their set tonight was a must see occasion. Comprising of Simon Donovan and Chris Allen, these guys give a new classification to drum and bass and as the name Black Asteroids suggests, there is definitely a cosmic connection to be found in their dark and heavy sound. The band released a new EP earlier this month and if tonight’s set is anything to go by, then this is definitely an EP you need to check out!

Black Asteroids

Our next band of the night were the local metallers Devils Playground who never fail to whip up a storm at each and every performance of theirs that I’ve seen. Metal and harmony go hand in hand within the sound of Devils Playground with the song by the same title, being a perfect example of this. According to the band’s Facebook page they are set to start work on some new material which hopefully we will get to hear when Devils Playground perform at Hils Ovations Midlands Metal Crusade in November, so that is something I will look forward to, as that will be a must go to event for sure!

Devils Playground

The Mighty Wraith are always a familiar and much welcomed addition to any metal gig but tonight’s set at The Flapper brought a slightly different line up due to the absence of Chris Muzz (drums). Stepping in at very short notice was Torous’ very own Tom Fenn and by short notice I mean only a couple of hours to learn the drum parts to the songs and if that ain’t the sign of a talented drummer and all round top guy, then I don’t know what is! As for The Mighty Wraiths performance tonight, Matt Gore and the guys rocked out and rawked with all their usual gusto and intensity, and delivered yet another blistering set!

Matt Gore - The Mighty Wraith

Torous have certainly climbed a few mountains in their two short years of existence and during that time, their combined talents have created a wealth of well written, imaginative and down right unmistakable songs, which precisely capture their individuality in it’s full integrity and tonight’s set from the band saw that excellence delivered the full.

GMT - Torous

The band have also just released a new 10 song compilation CD which includes just about all of their recorded tracks and believe me when I say, this is a must have purchase for all fans of the band.

Marc Malone - Torous

Tonight’s gig marked the midway point of Torous’ ’God Game Suicide’ tour, with dates at the Bridgnorth Festival (27.8.16) and Giff Fest Wolverhampton (28.816) still yet to come. So for all those live music aficionados who couldn’t make it tonight or any one who just wants more Torous, fear not, as you still have time – just head on over to the bands Facebook page for details of these events and get ya self sorted!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.