The Subhumans – Knock Off – You: Live at The 100 Club, London

A first gig of the year after a couple of abortive attempts were blocked by train strikes and I finally get to take in The Subhumans in the annual Punk festival in The100 Club – the scene of a number of good gigs I’ve enjoyed before. A long trip beckoned, but a hopefully worthwhile one nonetheless to finally see a band I’ve quite liked for a number of years now, complete with You and Knock Off in support duty. Continue reading

Godflesh: Live At Sound Control, Manchester UK

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Those who have ever witnessed Godflesh performing live in the past, could not have been more delighted after the announcement of upcoming UK tour in August. The release of well-received A World Lit Only by Fire, one of the most anticipated returns in alternative music, whetted fans appetites even further.

When I entered Sound Control in Manchester, I am greeted with a pleasing view of crowd, consisting of metal heads, industrial and core fans, shoulder to shoulder gathered in great anticipation.


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Clouds of vapour embrace the equipment on stage, and here they are – two men who influenced bands like Faith No More or Korn, but have forever remained in the music underground.

And it is Godflesh at their best – G.C. Green operates his bass with industrial tool precision, and the legend himself, Justin Broadrick, shreds his guitar in uncompromising manner, filling the room with unmistakable vicious and razor-sharp riffs.

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A laptop connected to stage equipment plays ruthless beats that can only means one – a hell of a performance. Around 200 other people rhythmically headbang in approval.

First half of the gig contains purely of new material. And the performance is even better than on the album! The greatest difference make Justin’s vocals. He apologises for throat infection that cause him problems to perform clean vocal parts, but the audience does not mind at all – vocals are much more harsh and brutal than on studio recordings. A delightful and unexpected occurrence.

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After performing six songs from the latest album, fans become more animated after hearing familiar notes of ‘Christbait Rising’, ‘Streetcleaner’ or ‘Crush My Soul’.

The gig finishes with encore, long-demanded ‘Like Rats’, on which the audience responds with wild pogo dance. To wrap up Godlfesh great performance, Justin Broadrick give improvised display of guitar cacophony. Combining with creative stage lighting this turns into a spectacular finale.

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Mr. Broadrick nods and discretely exits the stage. A monster in average Joe skin.

But satisfied fans, slowly leaving the club, are left with fantastic memories of one of the most non-average performances in Manchester this year.

Godflesh are back, and they are better that ever.

 

Godflesh is too cool for Facebook

WORDS: ARMEN HACZMERIAN

PHOTOS: KIRSTEN HEL

Knight Area – The Silent Wedding: Live at Extase, Tilburg, NL

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On the 30th of September the Extase in Tilburg was host to the pre-release party of Knight Area’s new album Hyperdrive, with opening act The Silent Wedding.

The Silent Wedding is a band from Athens, Greece, who play symphonic powermetal. Their lyrics are inspired by films, games and literature: ‘I Am You,’ for example, tells the story of the Phantom of the Opera from the phantom’s perspective, and ‘The Return (to Ithaca)’ is about The Odyssey. The band members are each very skilled, and drummer Renos, who occasionally resembles the Muppet Animal in his enthusiastic playing style sets a solid base for the rest of the band to build on. Vocalist Marios has a powerful clear voice whith a lot of vibrato, which lends his singing a classical air. Despite the rather small crowd, The Silent Wedding performed a very solid set.

Knight Area play a mixture of neo- and retro-prog that could also be characterised as sing-along-prog, due to its very catchy melodies and vocals. The bass features very prominently in the music, and Peter Vink plays every lick as if it were a bass solo. His style is very funky, and the bass often plays licks while the guitar and synths play chords, which gives and air of vivacity to the music. The guitar and synths take turns playing solos, and the quadruple stacked synths often tastefully cover the changes in meter.

Mark Smit provides good, clear vocals that are sweet and soft with the occasional hard rock edge that reminds me of Doogie White of Cornerstone. He has a lot of stage presence, as well as an awesome bodysuit that matches the album’s artwork, and plays additional keyboards in the ballad ‘Songs from the Past.’ The drumming is excellent and very varied.

One of the songs on the new album, ‘Bubble,’ was previously released on the Between Two Steps EP (2013). Some other songs that made a very good impression were ‘Avenue of Broken Dreams’ which is about 60s ideals; ‘Stepping Out’ which was written by their youngest band member, Mark Boogert, and features some excellent guitar work. They kept a good pace in the show, with generally not much wait in between the songs. They build their own party on stage and infect the audience with their enthusiasm. This was the first time that Knight Area played their new album live in its entirety. Hyperdrive was released on the 14th of October, and the band has another show planned for the 7th of November in Helmond.

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Knight Area on Facebook

The Silent Wedding on Facebook

 

LORRAINE LYSEN

Stormzone – Donum Dei: Live At Diamond Rock Club, Northern Ireland

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A Bloodstock rehearsal with a difference

When Stormzone announced a pre-Bloodstock Open Air show on Saturday 26thJuly at the Diamond Rock Club, Ahoghill, Northern Ireland fans could have been forgiven for expecting a 30-45 minutes run through.

 

Instead they had a real treat as the band played 20+ song in a two-hour set, all based on fan requests – this wasn’t so much of a warm-up as a treat for an audience.

 

Opening for Stormzone were the youthful Donum Dei, who have been making remarkable strides in harnessing their music recently, with the track ‘Justice Fails’ a highlight of a tremendous opening slot.

 

Stormzone have become festival favourites across Europe in recent years, their classic metal vibe hitting the spot everytime with well-judged melodies combined with searing solos and serious riffage.

 

Front man, Harv is the perfect leader of the troupe, hitting high notes and stalking the stage. His easy banter when not screaming out the songs is perfect for this home turf show, as he jokes with the audience and passes out ‘goodie’ bags to those who managed to have their requests played.

 

With a Sonisphere slot now behind them this year the band could have looked on this as a relaxed way to ease themselves into the groove for Bloodstock. Instead they delivered a full speed assault with the twin guitars of Steve Moore and Davey Shields trading solos and merging with perfect riffs.

 

With the title track of the recent Three Kings album one of the highlights, when the band sing Where We Belong, it is clear that this band belongs on the live circuit.

 

‘The Pass Loning’ and ‘Cuchulian’ were an opportunity for Davy Bates to shine, and Graham McNulty shrugging off technical issues with his rig to lock down the bass.

 

Bates was a constant beaming presence behind the kit, standing on top of his drum stool at one point cajoling all in the room to clap along,

 

What was evident from the performance was the range of songs on display from epics such as ‘The Legend Carries On’ and ‘Death Dealers’ trough to the melodic ‘Crying In The Rain’ and ‘Tugging on Your Heartstrings’.

 

If this was a performance for a local audience it had at times the feel that the band were playing for A&R men, not for a crowd that ranged from toddlers to (almost) pensioners.

 

With such a positive response to their Sonispehere set, what is sure that there will be a Storm(zone) front blowing away all in its path with a contemporary hard rockin’ stunner of a set. And, I can confidently pen those words weeks ahead of their appearance, such is the quality of Stormzone.

 

 


Stormzone on Facebook

Donum Dei on Facebook

 

JONATHAN TRAYNOR