My Saturday at Download began over at the main stage where I caught the retro new wave of classic rock act Those Damn Crows, a band who have amassed a significant following in Wales thanks to appearances at the likes of Steelhouse Festival and other rock-oriented affairs. Possibly one of the smallest acts to perform on the main stage this year, the band spared no expense offering a fantastic wake-up call with some unremarkable if solid hard rock tunes. The day’s proceedings then continued firmly in the rocky territory with a southern, slightly heavier twang with Black Label Society, in their first festival appearance on UK soil since 2015, and with less of Zakk Wylde’s expectedly lengthy and tiresome soloing. Don’t get me wrong, Zakk was still doing his usual thing, but with a much-needed addition of percussion, making the moments of instrumental wankery much more palatable than usual.
After a prolonged absence from the British metal scene courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic (save for a scaled-back pilot event in 2021), Leicestershire’s iconic summer rock, punk, and metal weekender, Download Festival returned to Castle Donnington in a maximalist blaze of glory, packing in a full-scale 5-day experience with some familiar favorites, hotly tipped up-and-comers and some of the best international acts that rock and metal scene has to offer.
While Blazon Stone’s sixth full-length continues down their established path of Running Wild emulation, it’s also the first they’ve released as a full-fledged band. In contrast to past albums that had bandleader Cederick Forsberg recording most of the instruments himself with whoever was available to sing at a given time, Damnation (Stormspell Records) sees him just sticking to the guitars this time around. A completely new lineup has been assembled that includes a new singer, a new drummer, and even Crystal Viper bandmate Marta Gabriel on bass duties.
Radio City Music Hall is one of the most historic venues in all of New York City. Located in Rockefeller Center, the 6,000 capacity venue has held concerts for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow, Liza Minnelli, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and BB King, but last night Opeth took to the famous stage, and absolutely mesmerized all those in attendance with over two hours of music.Continue reading
UK Extreme Metal heavyweights Dragged Into Sunlight will embark on a European tour throughout the month of November. The run of dates will feature many countries across Europe including two dates in the UK at The Dome in London and The Exchange in Bristol.
DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT SET TO EMBARK ON A EUROPEAN TOUR, WITH TWO UK SHOWS,
COMMENCING THIS NOVEMBER
WATCH THE NEW TOUR TRAILER
Dragged Into Sunlight have left a permanent scar on the extreme metal community ever since they emerged with their debut, Hatred For Mankind. Countless live shows (including prestigious festival slots at Maryland Deathfest, Incubate, Damnation and their recent Japanese tour) have further cemented their place as one of the most visceral and cathartic live bands in extreme music. Their latest album, the eerie masterpiece Widowmaker, revealed a darkly beautiful side to their songwriting, creating much anticipation for their upcoming new full length, which is rumoured to arrive next year.
This November, Dragged Into Sunlight shall embark on a European tour, preceded by two shows in the UK. Here are the final tour dates which can now be made public:
DRAGGED INTO SUNLIGHT EUROPEAN TOUR NOVEMBER 2014
8th – The Dome w/ Hooded Menace, London, UK
9th – The Exchange, Bristol, UK
11th – Decadence, Ghent, BE
12th – Le Klub, Paris, FR
13th – Les Pavillons Sauvages, Toulouse, FR
14th – Mogambo, San Sebastian, ES
16th – The Blacksheep, Montpellier, FR
17th – Freakout Club, Bologna, IT
18th – Sidro Club, Rimini, IT
19th – Le Romandie, Laussanne, CH
20th – Lo Fi Club, Milan, IT
21st – Blue Hell, Budapest, HU
22nd – Kokpit Club, Prague, CZ
23rd – Exzess, Frankfurt, DE
24th – Ciemna Strona Miasta, Wroclaw, PL
25th – Cassiopeia, Berlin, DE
26th – KB18, Copenhagen, DK
27th – Bambi Gallore, Hamburg, DE
28th – dB’s, Utrecht, NL
29th – Romein, Leeuwarden, NL
For tickets go to www.bandsintown.com/DraggedIntoSunlight
Effortlessly blazing a trail encompassing brutal death metal, British folk and classic progressive rock, Mikael Åkerfeldt has led Opeth through many bold new directions and transcended genre boundaries for the band’s entire career. That 2011’s Heritage (Roadrunner Records) saw Opeth forgo the heavier end of the spectrum was for many a bitter pill to swallow. Whereas previous prog masterpiece Damnation was bookended with a heavier companion in Deliverance, Heritage saw Åkerfeldt indulging influences such as Comus and King Crimson in a fastidious and stubborn fashion claiming freedom from the restrictions of metal.
Fast forward three years and Pale Communion (also Roadrunner Records) is, in many ways a continuation of such a direction, but one that see’s Mikael’s uncompromising view drawing more clearly into focus.
Harking back again to the late 60s and early 70s this eleventh studio opus features fluid dexterous drum patterns, moody distorted organ work and another all clean and highly proficient performance in the vocal department. Where Heritage felt somewhat disjointed on occasion Pale Communion is richly woven into a tapestry of ornate and complex elements rather than flitting from one genre to the next.
‘River’ is perhaps the most surprising moment this time around drawing on the southern sounds of the likes of the Allman Brothers with the addition of a classic Rush middle section. It’s the bravest and most refreshing moment herein, unearthing yet another string to the Swedes’ substantial bow.
Largely a more cohesive work than its predecessor, there is a moment of overindulgence in instrumental centrepiece ‘Goblin’ could have been left on the cutting room floor. Though a tribute to the Italian horror soundtrack masters, it feels ill-fitting and out of place.
Far better is the albums longest moment the undulating ‘Moon Above, Sun Below’ a perplexing beast which keeps you guessing while again highlighting the morose beauty of Mikael’s vocals.
“I don’t want to bare my scars for you” opines Åkerfeldt on the graceful ‘Elysian Woes’. It’s a sentiment which is echoed in the fiercely uncompromising approach he has taken to producing music that truly challenges the listener. Hell bent on reinvention, this is another collection of finely crafted salvos from this prestigious group.