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
UKBM act discuss their roots, Mozart and Alan Moore
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).
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.)
Debut visual release from UKBM act
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.
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
May 25, 2016 | Categories: Music | Tags: band, black metal, download, extreme, heavy, heavy metal, industrial, metal, Music, promo, UK, UKBM, underground, underground music scene, unsigned, video | 1 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
Beautifully chaotic debut from UK metallers
1. Requiem Aeturnam
2. Kyrie Eleison
3. Dies Irae
4. Rex Tremendae
5. Confutatis Maledictis
7. Agnus Dei
Denigrata Herself – vocals/guitar
Manea – keys/vocals
Cændél – guitar
Legivn – bass/vocals
Tasìmengyì – ‘timbrel alchemist’
Ever heard an album so varied in its influences and sounds, full of calculated chaos and heaviness, that it defied a simple description? Denigrata’s debut album ‘Missa Defunctorum: Requiem Mass in A Minor’ is such an album. Comfortably encompassing black metal, industrial, goth and symphonic metal all at once, in such a way that it could also potentially qualify as progressive metal too (unless that’s just confusing matters further), it’s an incredibly adventurous extreme metal release. For an attempt at a simple breakdown, imagine for a moment, if members of The Berzerker, Cradle Of Filth and Nightwish collaborated on a Tim Burton soundtrack with Devin Townsend – you’d possibly get something similar to this.
Rather than provide a track-by-track breakdown, I’d suggest having a listen – it’s better heard than described! From the slow-building Blade Runner-esque intro of ‘Requiem Aeturnam’ and ‘Kyrie Eleison’ (available as a free download from their Bandcamp site) to the all-out operatic onslaught of closer ‘Agnus Dei’, the thought and production that has gone into this is incredible.
‘Missa Defunctorum….’ is like the perfect soundtrack to a gothic horror movie, all at once dark yet beautiful in its seamless flow of ideas, with the level of extremity you’d expect from a black metal album.
Denigrata’s ‘Missa Defunctorum: Requiem Mass in A Minor’ is available now via Bandcamp as a digital download and CD at https://denigrata.bandcamp.com/releases, and on CD at live events.
For fans of: The Berzerker, Apocalyptica, Strapping Young Lad, Cradle Of Filth, The Birthday Massacre, Emperor
Note: ‘Kyrie Eleison’ was also included on my recent metal mixtape, which can be downloaded for free with 17 other tracks from https://musikalsin.bandcamp.com/album/musikal-sin-mixtape-vol-5-metal-without-boundaries.
December 22, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: album, band, bandcamp, black metal, Denigrata, download, extreme, heavy, industrial, metal, Music, new CD, operatic, progressive, review, rock, UK, UKBM, underground, underground music scene, unsigned | 2 Comments
Bringing one hell of a storm on their second album
1. Blood And Rust
2. No Redemption
4. Bad Blood
5. Unto Me
7. No Return
8. Off The Edge
9. Cross To Bear
10.Voice Of Demons
11.Psychokiller (Talking Heads cover)
Jimi Brown – Vocals
Ash Smith – Guitar
Dom Wallace – Guitar
Darren McCullagh – Bass
Jon Paul Quantrill – Drums
UK metallers Stormbringer have been around for a few years now and already proven themselves worthy of attention and festival slots, having previously played at Download and Bloodstock. Having had the pleasure of booking these guys earlier this year and hearing what their new vocalist was capable of, I was eager to hear what ‘Blood And Rust’, Stormbringer’s first album with new frontman Jimi Brown (and second overall), had to offer. I was not disappointed.
Following the instrumental intro, Stormbringer tear into ‘No Redemption’, a catchy track with some classic rock swagger and meaty riffs. Tracks ‘Rise’ and ‘Bad Blood’ have both been released as promo videos, posted below, and are worth looking out for if you’re just as equally comfortable listening to both contemporary melodic metal and classic rock stadium acts. The chorus to ‘Unto Me’ is likely to lodge itself into your brain for days after listening, and goes down well in the live environment too (look out for it on a Bandcamp mixtape I’m releasing soon). Moving further into the album, it becomes difficult to pick out any favourites over the others as the quality presented here is consistently high, with ‘Ashamed’, ‘No Return’, ‘Off The Edge’ and ‘Cross To Bear’ all deserving some ear time, but one thing does become obvious: they made the right choice in picking Jimi Brown as their new frontman, his voice is phenomenal and fits in perfectly in what was already a finely-tuned act. Want hooks, catchy choruses and solid solos? This album’s packed with them. Penultimate track ‘Voice Of Demons’is nothing short of a nostalgia trip; reminiscent of a time when MTV used to play rock music, when bands such as Alice In Chains, Skid Row and Queensryche could be seen on Headbangers Ball and the like – this sounds exactly like the sort of thing you’d see playlisted, with its darker heartfelt lyrics, almost ethereal riffs and passionate vocals. Ending with something out of the leftfield, their cover of Talking Head’s ‘Psychokiller’ is an interesting track, one they’ve successfully managed to put their own stamp on – rather than sticking out as an odd track, it works well alongside the rest of the album.
Full of highlights and lacking any ‘filler’, ‘Blood And Rust’ is recommended to pretty much anyone who likes solid rock with a decent tune, those looking for a rock act who’ve disregarded any and all modern trends, and those who’ve been passionate about all forms of rock and metal over the past 30-40 years. A potential future classic.
The video for ‘Bad Blood’, the first to be released –
The video for ‘Rise’ –
Stormbringer’s ‘Blood And Rust’ is available now via Attic Records on iTunes at http://bit.ly/SBMMXIII, and on CD at
http://atticrecordsuk.bigcartel.com/product/stormbringer-album-cd-blood-rust and at live gigs.
For fans of: Skid Row, Buckcherry, Def Leppard, Galactic Cowboys, Fozzy, Testament
November 29, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: album, band, classic rock, heavy, heavy metal, heavy rock, metal, Music, new CD, review, rock, Stormbringer, UK, underground, underground music scene | Leave a comment
Fiery second EP from Herts metallers
1. Hell In A Cell
2. From The Darkest Place
3. Whiskey And Nicotine
Joe Savage – vocals/guitar
Tommy Savage – bass/backing vocals
Ant Pinnell – guitar/backing vocals
Dave Ward – drums
‘Hell In A Cell’ is the second EP from North Herts metal quartet Kill Confirmed, the follow-up to last year’s ‘Descend’ EP. If you like no-nonsense headbanging metal that doesn’t conform to trends, you’ve come to the right place.
Opening track ‘Hell In A Cell’ doesn’t waste any time with a long intro or build-up, instead opting to grab the listener’s attention straight away with a solid riff and kickdrum combo that’s likely to become a firm live favourite soon – this one might appeal to fans of Stone Sour’s heavier moments. ‘From The Darkest Place’ is a little more restrained but injects some groove, and demonstrates how far the band has come in both confidence and writing; vocalist Joe Savage’s clean vocals are sounding stronger than ever, and the band are sounding tighter as a unit – this may just be the one that gets them noticed further afield. Closer ‘Whiskey And Nicotine’ has a Maiden-esque riff that would appeal to the old school crowd, without sounding dated or like a mere clone of what’s come before, demonstrating KC’s knack of blending older and contemporary influences to create something that could appeal right across the board.
At a relatively young age, Kill Confirmed are already producing strong material that demonstrates both growth and the potential to appeal to a larger fanbase – these guys are ready to stake a claim as a band to watch out for in the UK’s’ underground metal scene. ‘Hell In A Cell’ is the EP they needed to make, and deserves to be heard. Here’s hoping for a full-length album further down the line.
‘Whiskey And Nicotine’ on Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udaDkZav0HE
The ‘Hell In A Cell’ EP will be available from November 1st as a download from the band’s Bandcamp site at https://killconfirmed.bandcamp.com, or on CD at live gigs.
For fans of: Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine, Iron Maiden, Machine Head, Stone Sour
October 29, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: band, bandcamp, CD, download, EP, heavy, hertfordshire, Herts, Kill Confirmed, metal, mp3, Music, new CD, rock, thrash, 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
New sludge from Herts quintet
1. Insect Whore
2. Sanity Of A Madman
3. I Spit On Your Grave
4. Isolation Trip
William Jennings – vocals
Jim Males – guitar
Sam Farrington – guitar
Sammie Donnelly – drums
Jimmy Long – bass
Herts-based sludge quintet Skrugg have just released their eagerly-awaited debut EP, ‘Asylum Mist’. Formerly known as Lord Shrugg and featuring three former members of the promising but short-lived doom act Burn The Yeti (and two currently from black metallers The Graven Sign, who’ve also just released a new EP), members have also previously played in acts such as Gilla Bruja, Wrongly Accused, Zebediah Crowe and Wyndforge, so these guys are no mere newcomers to the scene.
Featuring five tracks of dark, dirty sludge metal, ‘Asylum Mist’ is the result of several months’ hard work and, combined with their touring schedule which is already seeing them getting booked for underground festivals, should see Skrugg expand their fanbase further. Including established live favourites such as ‘Insect Whore’ and ‘Isolation Trip’, this is filthy down-tuned sludge that even non-fans of this particular subgenre could into, with its heavy yet catchy groove-injected riffs, intense vocal delivery, one almighty hook of an opening track and all the elements required for a solid metal release.
‘Asylum Mist’ is available now to download via Bandcamp at http://skrugg.bandcamp.com/, or on CD at live gigs.
For fans of: Down, Crowbar, Nailbomb, Sepultura
Live photo courtesy of Chris Woor Photography.
September 1, 2015 | Categories: Music | Tags: band, bandcamp, CD, debut ep, download, EP, extreme, heavy, hertfordshire, Herts, live music, metal, Music, new CD, review, Skrugg, sludge, underground, underground music scene, unsigned | Leave a comment