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Music

Introducing…. The Mantis Divine

Punk/metal hybrid with a divine sound

Line-up:
Nadia Maria – vocals
Kim Young – guitar
Lee Warren – bass
Greg Anderson – drums

This is The Mantis Divine, a Herts-based quartet who’ve been gigging around their home county recently and looking to go further. Though the band has been together for less than a year, their members have previously played in bands such as Sink Or Swim, Swamp Pussy and St Stella, so have already got experience behind them. The fact that they only narrowly missed out on proceeding further in the current Metal 2 The Masses competition (for this year’s Bloodstock Festival) speaks volumes about their potential.

Live at Club 85, Hitchin, 26-03-17

TMD have got the whole package – frontwoman Nadia can easily switch from smooth and melodic to call-to-action punk vocals in a heartbeat, guitarist Kim is an incredibly talented player who knows how to write a solid riff, whilst rhythm section Lee and Greg add a groove and punch to the whole thing.

Check out the lyric video for the ‘To Hell’, available on their demo CD. For a reference point – imagine if Atari Teenage Riot went full punk-rock….

 

Here’s what others from the music scene have to say about them:

“An exciting young band with a lot of potential for the future, catchy riffs and powerful vocals.” – Bruce Hamilton, Gevaudan

“A passionate, curiously successful fusion of metal and punk.” – Brad Smith, Nineteensquared Promotions

“With a profusion of low-end tone and deep sounding heavy riffage, MD does a fine job in combining grubby punk rock with a distinctive creepy Melvinsesque sludge sound. Hold onto your heads!” – Gary Payne, Neverworld/The Graven Sign

Live at The Red Lion, Stevenage, 02-02-17

Their demo CD is currently available at live gigs (and whilst stock lasts, you can grab a free t-shirt too). With a tight sound and a professional attitude, The Mantis Divine are worth some attention. For further info/bookings, please get in touch at the links below.

For fans of: L7, Atari Teenage Riot, Kittie, The Unknownn, Babes In Toyland

Contact:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/themantisdivine/
https://www.instagram/themantisdivine/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIFKLrmwyQlOymOKwLY_Cig
https://soundcloud.com/the-mantis-divine


Introducing…. Jackal’s Backbone

Groove-injected extreme metal from North Herts

Line-up:
Nathan Draper – vocals
Becca Swinney – bass
Jake Eaton – drums
Mitch Boost – guitar
Odin Long – guitar

Jackal’s Backbone are a North Herts-based metal act, recently boosted to a five-piece, who have already gone down well with Herts’ metal fans and are looking to go further.

Blending death metal, sludge and grindcore influences, JB have proven themselves to be solid live performers and built a loyal local fanbase, and will be playing their first London date at Camden’s popular Fiddler’s Elbow on April 5th. They currently have one EP available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify and other outlets, and are currently working on a follow-up. Extreme metal with a sense of groove, Jackal’s Backbone are recommended to any fans of the various sub-genres.

 

Here’s a handful of opinions about them from other members of the local scene:

“Their new expanded lineup only foresees promising things on the horizon. Faster, heavier and raunchier”. – Mark, Praetorian

“Heavy with a groove, always an energetic show.” – Jim, Skrugg/Phlefonyaar

“Jackal’s Backbone is a band that you have to see live to fully experience the power and intensity they bring to their specific brand of metal. It is surely a thing to behold, with Nathan’s extremely wide vocal range and Jake’s impossibly tight and tasteful blast beats.” – Joe, Dorylus


Jackal’s Backbone are one of four bands set to play at this weekend’s Metal 2 The Masses tournament heat at Club 85, Hitchin, vying for a place at this year’s Bloodstock Festival.

For fans of: Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, Discharge

For further information on new releases and live dates, and for booking queries, please get in touch at the links below.

Contact:
https://www.facebook.com/Jackalsbackbone
https://twitter.com/jackalsbackbone
htt://www.instagram.com/jackalsbackbone
https://www.youtube.com/user/jackalsbackbone


Memoirs of a Metalhead – My Gateway Songs

The riffs that started it all

queen-bohemian-rhapsody-still

Partly inspired by that ’10 albums from your teens’ post that was trending on Facebook recently, I’ve been thinking back to the tracks that acted as a springboard to the bands and genres I’ve become interested in since, and decided to gather them together. Here they all are – I’ve done my best to list them in the order that I became introduced, but I can’t be sure on the exact order after all this time.

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

I’m sure we’ve all reenacted that scene from Wayne’s World at some point. Party on.

Def Leppard – Let’s Get Rocked

Their cover of ‘Action’ also deserves a mention. One of their previous albums, ‘Hysteria’, has since become one of my favourite albums.

Guns ‘n’ Roses – You Could Be Mine

I think it’s this song that helped me develop an appreciation for building intros.

Michael Jackson – Give In To Me feat. Slash

I was already listening to Michael Jackson before I got into rock music. The riffs in this song took me further.

En Vogue – Free Your Mind

This one might surprise a few people. It’s overlooked by the rock community/press, but in my opinion is actually better than a lot of the proper attempts at ‘crossover’ tracks from other artists.

Soul Asylum – Runaway Train

My introduction to grunge. Don’t listen to it much these days. Be warned, this video is a little heavy going, given the subject matter, but it did help in finding many missing people.

H-Blockx – Move

I’d actually forgotten about this one until, well, writing this. I’ve got the single somewhere.

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

Another amongst the first grunge tracks I got into. It would be a little while before I also got into the likes of Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots.

Die Krupps – Isolation

My introduction to industrial music, think I first heard it on Ray Cokes’s ‘Most Wanted’ show, back when MTV played music.

Metallica – One

The first time I ever knowingly listened to them, and it blew me away. To date I still regard this as one of the greatest metal tracks ever.

Mutha’s Day Out – Green

Well, I could post the whole album, as they were one of the first rock/metal bands I got into. A guy I knew at the time recorded this on to a tape for me, and on the b-side of that tape was a mix of things, which included the aforementioned Soundgarden track, Pearl Jam’s ‘Go’, and also….

Biohazard – Love Denied

….this track. At the time, I wasn’t even aware that there was a genre of heavy music known as ‘hardcore’, but this was my introduction to that form of metal.

So there they are, my first steps into heavy music. I had no idea at the time just how important those steps would become.


UK metallers Skullf*cked release debut album

New noise from Herts headbangers

skullfcked-live-april-2016

Line-up
Morri Haig – Guitar
Fred Jessop – Vocals
Jordan Allard – Drums
Max Hummerstone – Bass

Herts-based quartet Skullfucked have just released their debut album ‘Blasphemy’, available now from Bandcamp. Combining death metal and grindcore with groove, a punk attitude and a twisted sense of humour, ‘Blasphemy’ literally goes up to 11.

skullfcked-blasphemy-cover

Sounding reminiscent of the sort of albums being released by Earache Records during the 90s (I could actually imagine them snapping this band up, had they been around back then), this is recommended to fans of old school death metal and British extreme metal. Behind every NSFW song title there’s some (almost) no-nonsense intensity, with tracks like the brooding ‘Impending Foetal Doom’ and ‘Bloody Tissues Daddy Issues’, and the riffy closing self-titled track, continuing the metal tradition of ending with the longest track.

Skullfucked will be headlining an album launch party at The Red Lion, Stevenage on Friday 16th December, with support from Phlefonyaar, FSI and Praetorian. Entry is free.

skullfcked-album-launch-gig-16-12-16

‘Blasphemy’ is available now from Bandcamp at https://skullfuckedbgka.bandcamp.com/album/blasphemy, with a CD release coming soon.

For fans of: Obituary, Carcass, Earache Records, 90s death metal

Contact:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Skullfucked/414048352059522?


The Soundtrack To Your Halloween

Warning: contains blood/gore/nudity/explicit language

lordi-promo

With Halloween approaching at the end of the month, I thought I’d put together an appropriate playlist to set the right atmosphere, featuring the usual suspects, some classics and some upcoming names from the UK (links provided).

Note: some of these videos are unsafe for work.

Cradle of Filth – From The Cradle To Enslave

The title track of that EP – the uncensored version! Definitely NSFW.

Moonspell – I’ll See You In My Dreams

Taken from the film of the same name’s soundtrack, available on Youtube. Also NSFW.

Send More Paramedics – Zombie Crew

Horror punk from the UK.

Misfits – Scream

Taken from the Michael Graves-period album ‘Famous Monsters’.

White Zombie – More Human Than Human

Taken from the classic ‘Astro Creep 2000’ album. FEATURES STROBE LIGHTS.

Alice Cooper – Feed My Frankenstein

As featured on the Wayne’s World soundtrack.

Lordi – Devil Is A Loser

The one-time Eurovision winners.

Marilyn Manson – Sweet Dreams

The Eurythmics cover that first brought MM to noteriety.

Denigrata – Kyrie Eleison

Taken from the album ‘Missa Defunctorum: Requiem Mass in A Minor’, available from Bandcamp at https://denigrata.bandcamp.com/releases.

Cerberus Unchained – Naturom Demonto

Taken from the debut EP ‘Di Inferni’, available at https://cerberusunchained.bandcamp.com/.

Victorian Whore Dogs – Prayer of Dust

Taken from the EP ‘Hobo Chic’, available from https://victorianwhoredogs.bandcamp.com/album/hobo-chic.

Type O Negative – Black No.1

A classic, taken from the album ‘Bloody Kisses’.

Talanas – The Apostle

Taken from their acoustic EP ‘Asylum’, available from https://talanas.bandcamp.com/album/asylum.

Skullfucked – Sluts Impaled on Their Own Entrails

Taken from the forthcoming debut album ‘Blasphemy’, to be released on November 10th from http://skullfuckedbgka.bandcamp.com/.

Morbid Angel – God Of Emptiness

One of biggest names from the Florida death metal scene.

Nile – Sacrifice Unto Sebek

Love that intro riff.

Fear Factory – Martyr

The opening track of their debut, back when they had a more industrial-death metal sound.

Butcher Babes – They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!

Taken from their covers EP ‘Uncovered’.

Bile – In League

Featured on the ‘Strangelands’ soundtrack. FEATURES STROBE LIGHTS.

Author & Punisher – Terrorbird

Taken from the album ‘Ursus Americanus’.

Related:
Another playlist from a couple of years ago – https://thursdayaddams.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/atmos-fear/
https://www.facebook.com/Denigrata
https://www.facebook.com/talanasband
https://www.facebook.com/cerberusunchained
https://www.facebook.com/Skullfucked-414048352059522/
https://musikalsin.bandcamp.com/album/musikal-sin-mixtape-vol-3-extremities


Drore release their debut EP

New music from Oxford sludge quartet

Drore live shot

Tracklisting:
1. Skinjob
2. Hippy Crack
3. Greys
4. Fukbag

Line-up:
Tom Greenway – vocals/guitar
Taz Corona-Brown – vocals/guitar
Olly Corona-Brown – bass
Stephen Frame – drums

Drore, the Oxford-based act featuring members of Undersmile and Crippled Black Phoenix, have just released their debut EP ‘TapeOne’, posted below. With a sound that takes the members away from their other jobs, TapeOne features four tracks of intense, atmospheric sludgey-noise that will also appeal to fans of doom and post-metal.

 
Whilst CBP and Undersmile deal with more progressive and slow-burning build-ups, Drore are much more immediate and direct, whilst still maintaining the latter’s darkness and that sense of atmosphere. This is angry sludgey doom in a neon package – watch out for live gigs.

‘TapeOne’ is available now as a limited edtion tape or download at https://drore.bandcamp.com/album/tapeone, or from Rad Naseum Records at http://radnauseam.co.uk/.

For fans of: Torpor, Steak Number Eight, Hang The Bastard, Windhand

Contact:
https://www.facebook.com/droremusic/


Denigrata interview with Johnny Doom

UKBM act discuss their roots, Mozart and Alan Moore

Denigrata promo for new video

UK black metallers Denigrata were recently interviewed by famed rock DJ/host Johnny Doom, for his Amp’d show. Here they discuss how they formed, playing their album launch in a 900 year old church, the classical music influence and their debut video, which plays at the end of the interview.

 

One of the most interesting bands I’ve encountered over the past 12 months, Denigrata’s sound is a unique take on black metal, with symphonic and electronic elements. If you’ve not heard it yet, here’s the debut album, which I reviewed last year (link below).

Contact:
https://www.facebook.com/Denigrata
https://twitter.com/DenigrataMusic

Related:
https://thursdayaddams.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/denigrata-missa-defunctorum-requiem-mass-in-a-minor-review/
https://thursdayaddams.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/denigrata-release-new-video/


Herts’ Metal Scene, Class of 2016

39 reasons why metal isn’t dead

A CIMG9998

Recently inspired by a metal magazine’s article about British metal and the problems within the scene (my own response posted here below), I felt prompted to create a list of (most of) the bands that make up Hertfordshire’s current metal scene. This is a scene I’ve been actively helping to promote since 2005, and we’re lucky to have an incredibly varied and talented group of acts right on our doorstep.

Metal Hammer UK scene 27-07-16 3

Countless Skies – Progressive death metallers who have played at Bloodstock Festival, with their debut album out now.

https://www.facebook.com/CountlessSkies

New Dawn full album stream 

Cerberus Unchained – Death metal from former members of Embers Of Angels and Outright Resistance, playing their debut London gig soon, despite only forming a few months ago.

https://www.facebook.com/cerberusunchained

Warm Blooded Beast (free download)

CIMG4959.JPG

Arcane Militia – Intense new act for fans of Amen, Cancer Bats and Atreyu.

https://www.facebook.com/ArcaneMilitia

So Much For A Second Chance

Skrugg – Sludgey metallers from Hithin.

https://www.facebook.com/SkruggAsylum

Asylum Mist EP

Everest Queen – Imagine Tool meets Mastodon and you’re getting warm.

https://www.facebook.com/everestqueenband

 

Dorylus – Frantic thrash/death metal hybrid.

https://www.facebook.com/dorylusband

Deceiving The Pure 

The Wolves Of Avalon – Featuring Metatron from The Meads of Asphodel, this is their Bathory cover taken from their recent album out now on Godreah Records.

https://www.facebook.com/thewolvesofavalon

Across Corpses Grey

Elysian Divide – Another new act who will be debuting their new material soon.

Elysian Divide promo 2016.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/ElysianDivide

Seasons – Melodic metal from former members of Imicus and Alone With Wolves, their debut EP is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/seasonsbanduk

Sailed Ships 

Jackal’s Backbone – Frantic groove-injected sludge, currently working on new material.

https://www.facebook.com/Jackalsbackbone

Puppets EP

Derange – Hotly-tipped tech-metallers who will be playing at Bloodstock this year, this is taken from their debut album, out now.

https://www.facebook.com/DerangeUK

This Is The End lyric video 

CIMG9925

Kill Confirmed – Though they’ve sadly announced they’re set to split soon, two of their members have wasted no time in forming a new band, Excinerus.

https://www.facebook.com/killconfirmedofficial

Hell In A Cell EP

Assimilate – Alt-metallers from Watford.

https://www.facebook.com/AssimilateOfficial

Irrational Fears EP

The Graven Sign – Atmospheric black metallers.

https://www.facebook.com/thegravensign

As Hope Withers

Suffer No Fools – Thrash/metalcore-influenced melodic metal.

https://www.facebook.com/SufferNoFools

Songs For The Restless Youth

Burke & Hare – Doom/sludge/stoner duo, currently working on a new EP.

https://www.facebook.com/burkeandhareband

Titanicus 

Conform To Serve – UKDM with black metal leanings, a sound that could appeal to fans of both old school death metal and modern deathcore.

https://www.facebook.com/Conformtoserve

Dogma Of Sin 

Ivory Fire – A high-energy combination of metal and dance/drum ‘n’ bass from Hitchin.

https://www.facebook.com/ivoryfireofficial

If You can Read This You Have Eyes EP

As You’re Falling – Intense young death/metalcore act from North Herts.

https://www.facebook.com/AsYoureFalling

Divergence EP

Praetorian – A veritable sludge supergroup from Hitchin.

https://www.facebook.com/praetorian000

Mystery Of The Magic Man

CIMG0595.JPG

Skullf*cked – Combining old school death metal with sludge, grindcore and skatepunk.

https://www.facebook.com/Skullfucked-414048352059522/

Self-titled EP

Rough Justice – The debut video from the classic/southern rock-tinged metallers.

https://www.facebook.com/RoughJusticeOfficial

Dirt

Ghostman’s Torch – Doomy garage rock duo.

https://www.facebook.com/GhostmansTorch

GMT

Gevaudan – Doom/stoner metallers who’ve played at Terrorizer-sponsored gigs, currently working on their next EP.

https://www.facebook.com/Gevaudandoom

The Burning of the Black Sun (Single, free download)

CIMG8685

13 – Melodic metallers from Hertford, whose debut album ‘Deliverance’ can be downloaded for free from Soundcloud.

https://www.facebook.com/13musicofficial

Deliverance (title track)

 

Alone With Wolves – Promising melodic metal/post-hardcore quintet who are preparing to launch their debut full-length album soon.

https://www.facebook.com/alonewithwolves

Cutting Ties 

Neverworld – Classic metallers representing the old school, here with their debut music video.

https://www.facebook.com/NeverworldMetal

Armies Of The Night 

Draugr – Intense black metal.

https://www.facebook.com/DraugrBand

Child Of Sorrow EP

Aghast – One of the busiest/most high profile bands from the local metal scene. Currently working on their next EP.

https://www.facebook.com/AGHASTKVLT

All The Rage

 

Slaine – Sludge with death metal influences.

https://www.facebook.com/slainesludge

Shotgunned Brews Shirt Nappy Blues EP

Vendetta – Now performing with a new line-up.

https://www.facebook.com/Vendetta.uk

Demo EP (free download)

Far From History – Soon to be releasing their next EP, from which this track is taken.

https://www.facebook.com/Farfromhistoryuk

A-Negative (free download)

Breaking Illusion – Classic rock-tinged metal with groove.

https://www.facebook.com/breakingillusionuk

Roll With The Punches (free download)

 

Outright Resistance – OR have just released their new EP ‘Me Vs I’, from which this track is taken. Also appearing at this year’s Bloodstock Festival.

https://www.facebook.com/OutrightResistanceBand

Gee, Dysphoria

Blessing Of The Torchbearer – Currently impressing crowds across the county.

https://www.facebook.com/Blessingofthetourchbearer

Vengeance, live

Dark Asphyxia – Old school death metal.

https://www.facebook.com/DarkAsphyxiaOfficial

Gallows

Phlefonyaar – Industrial-tinged sludge from one of the busiest men in the scene (also the founder of Gilla Bruja, Zompok and Zebediah Crowe).

https://www.facebook.com/Phlefonyaar

Kissing Carrion

CIMG1291

Helgrind – For fans of old school thrash metal.

https://www.facebook.com/HelgrindUK

Insurrection

 

Tirgoviste – A black metal side-project from members of Skrugg.

https://www.facebook.com/tirgovisteUK

Albastru Horizon (free download)

This isn’t even the whole picture; there are often new bands forming, and there are other bands who aren’t quite ready to share examples of their material just yet. It’s also worth bearing in mind that this level of talent isn’t exclusive to Herts either – right across the UK, there are underground scenes in every county with bands worth checking out. There are other bands I could have included here, who are either just on the outskirts of Herts or are popular visitors, but then I’d be here all day.

Please support your scene – bands don’t just magically appear on the cover of magazines or on the stages of major festivals overnight. Once upon a time, your favourite band was right where this lot are now.

(All photos, aside from Elysian Divide’s promo shot, taken by me.)


Denigrata release new video

Debut visual release from UKBM act

Denigrata promo for new video

UK black metallers Denigrata have released their debut video for the track ‘Kyrie Eleison’, which is taken from last year’s awesome debut album ‘Missa Defunctorum: Requiem Mass in A Minor’.

The video, which was premiered this week via the UK’s leading extreme metal magazine Terrorizer, also features a cameo appearance from acclaimed writer Alan Moore (Watchmen, V For Vendetta), whom the band met through mutual interests in their home town Northampton.

http://www.terrorizer.com/news/denigrata-release-video-kyrie-eleison/

For more of their multi-faceted sound, check out the entire album here, available as a download and CD:

My review of the album – Denigrata – ‘Missa Defunctorum: Requiem Mass in A Minor’ review

Related links:
http://www.facebook.com/Denigrata
https://twitter.com/denigratamusic


Sounds Of The Underground, December 2015

Recent rumblings in the underground music scene

A round-up of recent releases I haven’t had time to blog about in more detail over the festive period.

Bad Pollyanna

 

Bad Pollyanna – new album
UK rockers Bad Pollyanna have just released their second album ‘The Broken Toys’, available now via their website. Immediately engaging and dramatic, ‘The Broken Toys’ has a varied sound that might appeal to a broad range of audiences, from the electro-rock/goth crowd, to fans of 80s post-punk – imagine an act somewhere between Toyah, Evanescence, The Birthday Massacre and The Dirty Youth, and you’d be getting close. Coming as a result of a successful Pledgemusic campaign, and getting strong reviews everywhere in the rock press, 2016 may just be Bad Pollyanna’s year.

A solid album that features some catchy tunes (highlights include ‘Define Me’, ‘Hooks’ and ‘Ugly Love”) with little filler, ‘The Broken Toys’ is available now as a digipak CD and digital download at http://shop.badpollyanna.com/album/the-broken-toys, live gigs and other digital outlets.

Toy Birds – new EP
Toy Birds, featuring The October Game’s drummer Ollie Taylor as frontman, have released their debut self-titled EP. Having offered a preview of their sound with the track ‘These Eyes’ earlier this, the band have now expanded on this with these five tracks, with an electronic-pop sound not a million miles away from some of the popular acts of the 80s – if you’re into pop in the A-Ha/Paul Young/Nik Kershaw vein, give this a listen.

Dorylus – debut tracks
London/Herts-based metallers Dorylus have released their debut EP, two tracks from which are streaming now over at Reverbnation. Having formed less than a year ago, the band have been gigging since May and winning fans with a melodic-death metal sound that would appeal to fans of the likes of Lamb Of God, Meshuggah, In Flames and DevilDriver. The whole EP is out on iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Googleplay and other outlets.

The Tuesday Club – new EPs
St Albans post-punk/glampop crew The Tuesday Club have recently released EPs 3 and 4 for this year’s set of releases. Titled ‘Lady Gargar’ and ‘Boo Hoo’ respectively, both EPs comprise of three tracks each and are available now via their website. These complete the set of four releases which make up their second album.

Despite recently losing a couple of members (The Minx and J-Rod), the band look set to continue as a five-piece for 2016.

The Wolves Of Avalon – new single/album
Pagan-black metallers The Wolves Of Avalon released a two-track vinyl single a few months ago, and are currently working on the release of their next album for 2016. The A-side of their single is a cover of Venom’s track ‘Die Hard’ and features guest vocal appearances from Rob Miller of Amebix, Mirai Kawashima of Sigh, Alan Averill of Primordial and Venom’s own Mantas guesting on vocals and guitar. The B-side, ‘Carrion Crows Reprise’ is an alternate version of a track originally featured on their first album. Released via Eternal Death Records, available on their Bandcamp site.

The next album, to be titled ‘Across A Twilight Field Of Corpses Grey, Only The Trilling Of Nightingales Can Be Heard’ , is currently scheduled for a May 2016 release via Godreah Records.

Contact:
http://badpollyanna.com
https://www.facebook.com/badpollyanna
https://twitter.com/Badpollyanna
https://www.facebook.com/RagePr
https://www.facebook.com/toybirds
https://twitter.com/ToyBirdsBand
https://www.facebook.com/dorylusband
https://twitter.com/DorylusBand
https://www.facebook.com/thisisthetuesdayclub
https://twitter.com/thetuesdayclub1
http://thetuesdayclub.tmstor.es/
https://www.facebook.com/thewolvesofavalon
https://www.godreah.com