Punk/metal hybrid with a divine sound
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.
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
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
39 reasons why metal isn’t dead
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.
Countless Skies – Progressive death metallers who have played at Bloodstock Festival, with their debut album out now.
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.
Warm Blooded Beast (free download)
Arcane Militia – Intense new act for fans of Amen, Cancer Bats and Atreyu.
So Much For A Second Chance
Skrugg – Sludgey metallers from Hithin.
Asylum Mist EP
Everest Queen – Imagine Tool meets Mastodon and you’re getting warm.
Dorylus – Frantic thrash/death metal hybrid.
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.
Across Corpses Grey
Elysian Divide – Another new act who will be debuting their new material soon.
Seasons – Melodic metal from former members of Imicus and Alone With Wolves, their debut EP is out now.
Jackal’s Backbone – Frantic groove-injected sludge, currently working on new material.
Derange – Hotly-tipped tech-metallers who will be playing at Bloodstock this year, this is taken from their debut album, out now.
This Is The End lyric video
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.
Hell In A Cell EP
Assimilate – Alt-metallers from Watford.
Irrational Fears EP
The Graven Sign – Atmospheric black metallers.
As Hope Withers
Suffer No Fools – Thrash/metalcore-influenced melodic metal.
Songs For The Restless Youth
Burke & Hare – Doom/sludge/stoner duo, currently working on a new EP.
Conform To Serve – UKDM with black metal leanings, a sound that could appeal to fans of both old school death metal and modern deathcore.
Dogma Of Sin
Ivory Fire – A high-energy combination of metal and dance/drum ‘n’ bass from Hitchin.
If You can Read This You Have Eyes EP
As You’re Falling – Intense young death/metalcore act from North Herts.
Praetorian – A veritable sludge supergroup from Hitchin.
Mystery Of The Magic Man
Skullf*cked – Combining old school death metal with sludge, grindcore and skatepunk.
Rough Justice – The debut video from the classic/southern rock-tinged metallers.
Ghostman’s Torch – Doomy garage rock duo.
Gevaudan – Doom/stoner metallers who’ve played at Terrorizer-sponsored gigs, currently working on their next EP.
The Burning of the Black Sun (Single, free download)
13 – Melodic metallers from Hertford, whose debut album ‘Deliverance’ can be downloaded for free from Soundcloud.
Deliverance (title track)
Alone With Wolves – Promising melodic metal/post-hardcore quintet who are preparing to launch their debut full-length album soon.
Neverworld – Classic metallers representing the old school, here with their debut music video.
Armies Of The Night
Draugr – Intense black metal.
Child Of Sorrow EP
Aghast – One of the busiest/most high profile bands from the local metal scene. Currently working on their next EP.
All The Rage
Slaine – Sludge with death metal influences.
Shotgunned Brews Shirt Nappy Blues EP
Vendetta – Now performing with a new line-up.
Demo EP (free download)
Far From History – Soon to be releasing their next EP, from which this track is taken.
A-Negative (free download)
Breaking Illusion – Classic rock-tinged metal with groove.
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.
Blessing Of The Torchbearer – Currently impressing crowds across the county.
Dark Asphyxia – Old school death metal.
Phlefonyaar – Industrial-tinged sludge from one of the busiest men in the scene (also the founder of Gilla Bruja, Zompok and Zebediah Crowe).
Helgrind – For fans of old school thrash metal.
Tirgoviste – A black metal side-project from members of Skrugg.
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.)
This literally goes up to 11
An essential part of being a ‘metalhead’ is having a sense of humour, and just as important is the ability to make fun of one’s self – to both recognise and embrace the absurdities and cliches that exist within the rock and metal world and its lifestyles. It’s this ability that has lead to many of the films listed here being completely embraced by the alternative communities, and becoming firm favourites with rockers, goths and headbangers everywhere.
This Is Spinal Tap
Essential viewing for anyone who calls themselves a rocker or metalhead. Inventors of ‘going up to eleven’.
Basic synopsis – The misadventures of an 80s heavy metal band.
Cameos – Many recognisable faces from television/Hollywood make brief appearances, including Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey and Anjelica Huston.
Soundtrack – The band themselves.
Not featured in the film, but worth sharing….
Wayne’s World 1 & 2
Basic synopsis – In the first film, Wayne and Garth’s local cable TV show gets bought by a national company. In the second, the duo decide to organise a huge rock festival.
Cameos – Rock legends Alice Cooper and Aerosmith, Chris Farley.
Soundtracks – Queen, Tia Carrere (performing tracks from the films) and Jimi Hendrix, among others.
Basic synopsis – A British 70s rock band reunites 20 years later, despite unresolved issues amongst its members.
Cameos – Phil Daniels, Zoe Ball.
Soundtrack – Features music from its stars Jimmy Nail and Billy Connolly, among others.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure/Bogus Journey
“Be excellent to each other, and…. party on dudes!!” – Abraham Lincoln.
Basic synopsis – In ‘Excellent Adventure’, the ‘Wyld Stallions’ duo travel through time collecting historical figures for a history report. Then, in ‘Bogus Journey’, our heroes travel through the afterlife and battle evil robot versions of themselves.
Cameos – Jim Martin, formerly of Faith No More, and Primus.
Soundtracks – Van Halen, Kiss, Extreme, Big Pig and Slaughter, among others.
A pre-Mummy Brendan Fraser film, and the first time we see Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi appearing together.
Basic synopsis – A struggling unsigned rock band highjacks a radio station, in an attempt to get their demo played.
Cameos – Late rock legend Lemmy of Motorhead, White Zombie, Chris Farley. Spinal Tap’s Michael McKean also stars as a radio DJ.
Soundtrack – Motorhead and White Zombie, among others.
Some might see this as an unlikely choice; whilst not everyone is a fan of his films, this has always been a favourite of mine. Elements of rock music appear in many of Adam Sandler’s films, this being a prime example.
Basic synopsis – The Devil’s youngest son must visit the world above to prevent his brothers from taking over Hell.
Cameos – The man himself, Ozzy Osbourne as himself.
Soundtrack – POD, Linkin Park, Incubus and Filter, among others.
Queen Of The Damned
Again, another that didn’t win critics over, but found a fanbase attracted by the music.
Basic synopsis – A centuries’ old vampire awakens in 21st century America, joins a rock bands as their frontman.
Cameos – Korn frontman Jonathan Davis appears briefly as a ticket tout.
Soundtrack – Five tracks written specifically for the film by Davis and Richard Gibbs, sang by frontmen from other bands (Disturbed, Static-X, Marilyn Manson, Linkin Park, Orgy), alongside various other tracks.
School Of Rock
Basic synopsis – A substitute teacher introduces his young class to rock music, and turns them into a rock band.
Cameos – None.
Soundtrack – Tracks performed by Jack Black and the cast, alongside Cream, Led Zeppelin and others, with various classic rock bands featured throughout the film.
A cult favourite in alternative circles, its star Brandon Lee tragically lost his life during its creation. Three sequels followed, none of which repeated the same success as the original.
Basic synopsis – A murdered rocker is resurrected to seek vengeance on the Los Angeles underworld.
Cameos – None.
Soundtrack – Nine Inch Nails, Pantera and Stone Temple Pilots, among others.
If documentaries are your thing, track these ones down:
Other soundtracks worth checking out:
Singles (A who’s who of 90s grunge, including Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone and others)
The Crow 2: City Of Angels (White Zombie, Korn, Hole, Bush and many others)
Spawn (a album of techo-rock crossover collaborations)
Judgment Night (the legendary rap-rock crossover album)
Strangelands (Dee Snider’s horror, includes Anthrax, Pantera, SOAD, Sevendust and many others)
I Know What You Did Last Summer (Offspring, Korn, Type O Negative, L7 and others)
Alone In the Dark (a massive 2CD collection of acts right across the metal spectrum)
Last Action Hero (Alice In Chains, Def Leppard, Queensryche, Aerosmith and others)
May 31, 2016 | Categories: Random, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: alternative, cinema, comedy, culture, DVD, entertainment, films, goth, metal, metalhead, movies, Music, rock, spinal tap | Leave a comment
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 – 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.
December 27, 2015 | Categories: Music, Random, Writing | Tags: 80s, album, alt-rock, alternative, Bad Pollyanna, band, bandcamp, black metal, death metal, Dorylus, download, electronic, electronic pop, entertainment, EP, extreme, glam rock, goth, gothic, metal, mp3, Music, new CD, pagan, post-punk, review, rock, The Tuesday Club, The Wolves Of Avalon, Toy Birds, UK, underground, underground music scene, unsigned | Leave a comment
Post-punk with a modern twist
1. Forbidden Kiss
2. Cities Alive
3. One Idea And A Lonely Voice
Imagine if you blended glam-pop-rockers Do Me Bad Things with Adam And The Ants, threw in some Kaiser Chief-style group chants and gave it all a 80s post-punk coating – you’ll then get St Albans’ rockers The Tuesday Club, presenting here their latest EP, ‘Forbidden Kiss’.
The second in a themed series of EPs (with a third coming very soon), the EP comprises of the title track and two new tracks, with the CD set to become a part of an eventual 4 x EP boxset. You can check out the official video for ‘Forbidden Kiss’ below. Whilst the main song is a lively slice of pop-punk, the real star here in my opinion is second track ‘Cities Alive’; easily one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard in the past 12 months, having originally heard this on their Soundcloud profile I already knew the EP would be worth getting for this track. Infectious and worth hitting the repeat button for. Closer ‘One Idea And A Lonely Voice’ is a slightly edgier track with a quirky side, keeping things interesting and suggesting it’s worth keeping a look-out for the forthcoming next EP.
The ‘Forbidden Kiss’ EP is available digitally at The Tuesday Club’s online shop at http://thetuesdayclub.tmstor.es/cart/product.php?id=25308, and on limited edition CD at live gigs.
Their full-length debut album ‘See You Next Tuesday’ is also available as a download, CD and vinyl from the website and at gigs.
For fans of: Do Me Bad Things, Kaiser Chiefs, Adam And The Ants, Blur, 80s post-punk
September 17, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: 80s, alt-rock, alternative, band, CD, download, EP, Herts, Music, new CD, pop, pop-punk, post-punk, punk, rock, The Tuesday Club, underground, underground music scene, unsigned | Leave a comment
Not feeling old now or anything
Two 90s metal albums, both key albums during my teens, are now twenty years old – wow. These are Korn’s classic self-titled debut, and Fear Factory’s immense second album, ‘Demanufacture’. Both albums have been celebrated by critics and fans alike, with the anniversaries of both being marked by album performance tours.
When ‘Korn’ debuted, it was a true revelation, not only because it spawned an entire new genre of heavy music, but because that, thanks to frontman Jonathan Davis’s brutally open and honest lyrics, they were genuinely relatable. Oh and they were the first (only?) band to include bagpipes in their material.
Fear Factory’s ‘Demanufacture’ helped them become genre champions, pretty much laughing in the face of that old ‘difficult second album’ problem faced by many bands, and still sounds just as sharp and immediate as ever.
Another thing both albums have in common – the buzz their intro tracks both create for the listener. Have a listen to Korn’s ‘Blind’ and the title song for ‘Demanufacture’ for proof.
Special mention should also go FF’s labelmates Machine Head’s debut album ‘Burn My Eyes’ – twenty years old last year, and in my opinion, still their strongest album.
People aren’t always full of praise when referring to metal from the 90s – perhaps they’re forgetting about the existence of these three albums? Not to mention Sepultura’s ‘Chaos AD’ and ‘Roots’. Or Pantera’s ‘Cowboys Fom Hell’ and ‘A Vulgar Display Of Power’. Or White Zombie’s ‘Astro Creep 2000’. Or Metallica’s self-titled (‘Black’) album…. I could go on. Another blog entry maybe!
July 19, 2015 | Categories: Music, Writing | Tags: 90s, album, alternative, band, CD, Demanufacture, Fear Factory, heavy, industrial, Korn, Machine Head, metal, nu-metal, Roadrunner Records, rock | Leave a comment
Debut music video from Herts rockers
Hertfordshire’s metallic post-hardcore quintet Alone With Wolves have just released their debut music video, for the track ‘Cutting Ties’. Taken from their most recent EP ‘The End Of Nothing’, this recent release is just one of many highlights the band has enjoyed over the past year, with others including the aforementioned EP release, being picked up by new management, starting work on the new album and landing a slot at last year’s Bloodstock Festival.
Watch out for these guys – you may well be hearing a lot more from them in the future.
The ‘End Of Nothing’ EP, available from Bandcamp at https://awwofficial.bandcamp.com/album/the-end-of-nothing
Photo courtesy of Graham Dullaghan Photography.
June 7, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: Alone With Wolves, alt-rock, alternative, band, bandcamp, download, EP, hertfordshire, Herts, metal, Music, post-hardcore, screamo, UK, underground, underground music scene, unsigned, video | Leave a comment
Noisy British alt-rock with a touch of nostalgia
A couple of years back, I began raving to my friends about this band a manager friend of mine had told me about, and wrote about their EP. Thankfully, now everyone else is raving about God Damn too, and this month they released their debut full-length album ‘Vultures’, for which they’ve released this video.
Visually, it wouldn’t have been out of place on the likes of Headbangers Ball or Alternative Nation back in the 90s, perhaps nestled between Nirvana’s ‘Heart Shaped Box’ and Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’. Musically, imagine putting The 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Siouxsie & The Banshees and Electric Wizard in a melting pot, and you’d be getting close.
Here’s another track from the album, which is available here – http://www.indian.co.uk/site/artists/god-damn
Free album from departing UK metallers
Luton-based melodic metallers Imicus have anounced that they intend to split after one more gig. Having had a few line-up changes over the last few years, the current incarnation have decided that now is the right time to call it a day, though on good terms. Existing in various forms since 2003, Imicus have had many career highs, including playing sets at Download, Bloodstock, Bulldog Bash and Hammerfest VI, slots with the likes of Sikth, Breed 77, Panic Cell, Forever Never and Deathstars, and an appearance on Metal Hammer’s Judas Priest tribute CD.
As a farewell gift, Imicus have released their final album ‘Turbulent Skies’ as a free download, available from Bandcamp and Soundcloud (they actually had to upload to Soundcloud after hitting their ‘free download’ limit on Bandcamp on the day of release). Older fans might recognise the track ‘This Everlast’ as a cover from frontman Miller’s previous band Dilate, presented here in an updated form.
Their final gig will be at Club 85 in Hitchin on Saturday 25th April in a ‘special guest’ slot, details of which are posted here: https://www.facebook.com/events/953307724688182/
March 30, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: album, alt-rock, alternative, band, bandcamp, Bedfordshire, club 85, download, entertainment, free music, hertfordshire, hitchin, Imicus, live music, metal, Music, rock, UK, underground, underground music scene, unsigned | Leave a comment
Intense new compilation/fundraiser for mental health charities
Glasgow-based collective ripcord have released an intense 22 track compilation of UKHC, punk and metal acts, ‘RE:MIND Vol 1’, to raise money for two mental health charities – Mind, and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH). Featuring acts such as Svalbard, Ithaca, Pariso, Rope Spasm, No Honour and World Weary amongst many others, it is available to download now via Bandcamp for just £4. ‘RE:MIND Vol 1’ is not only a great way of raising funds for worthy causes, it is also an impressive showcase of the UK’s underground heavy music scene – useful to anyone looking for new bands to listen to.
This is just the first of a planned series of compilations from ripcord – head over to their Facebook page (linked below) for further updates and releases.
February 11, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: album, alt-rock, alternative, bandcamp, charity, download, EP, extreme, fundraiser, grassroots, heavy, mental health, metal, Music, punk, ripcord, rock, UK, UKHC, underground, underground music scene, unsigned | Leave a comment