LIVE REVIEW: Agnostic Front – The Take: Live at Mama Roux’s, Birmingham, UK

For years, metal and hardcore have been regular bedfellows but that wasn’t always the way. Back in the ’80s, metalheads regularly ran the risk of getting beaten up if they attended hardcore or punk shows. Skins and Mohawks did not take kindly to long-hairs stepping onto their turf, and vice versa. It wasn’t until the emergence of more popular bands like Slayer who, by straddling both genres, showed that the two sets of fans were capable of co-existing without confrontation.

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Damnation Festival 2019: Live at Leeds University

When Axl Rose waxed romantically about cold November rain in back in 1992, he clearly wasn’t singing about Leeds on a Saturday morning. A cold, depressing day darkened by oppressive black clouds showering their misery relentlessly from above, there is nothing romantic about Leeds city centre. However, above the sound of rain pelting against umbrella canopies, and cars splashing through ankle-high lakes of dirty water, there is hope. Somewhere out there is Damnation Festival. Continue reading

REVIEW: Gloryhammer – Beast In Black: Live at The Mill, Birmingham

Greeted with a queue that stretches the length of the entire street and beyond, the nearest many get to seeing Italian Dwarven Metal act Wind Rose is listening to them from outside. ‘The Breed of Durin’, ‘To Erebor’, and of course ‘Diggy Diggy Hole’ sound like they’re going down well, but it’s disappointing that a large percentage of the crowd has to miss most of their set. Continue reading

REVIEW: Rivers of Nihil – Black Crown Initiate, MØL, Orbit Culture Live at Mama Roux’s

With a lengthy and excitable queue having already formed well before the 7 pm opening time, you can already tell heading to Birmingham on a typically drizzly September evening is going to be well worth the effort. After disappearing for a few words with Rivers of Nihil drummer Jared Klein, I arrive back into the previously empty venue to find it heaving with activity. The bar area is already packed, beer flows freely and merchandise is being handed over at an impressive rate. Continue reading

Demons and Wizards – Islington Assembly Hall, London

It’s been twenty-one years since John Schaffer of Iced Earth and Hansi Kursch from Blind Guardian joined forces to create Demons and Wizards. It’s been nineteen long years since they released their self-titled debut album, and it’s been fourteen years since its successor, Touched By The Crimson King (Steamhammer), but after one of the longest prick-teases in metal, the Iced Guardian supergroup has finally arrived to play their first ever show in the UK. Continue reading

Anaal Nathrakh – Akercocke: Live at The Asylum, Birmingham UK

It’s another one of those typically cold, grey April evenings in central Birmingham. Slowly darkening skies, a distinct chill in the air, and a dense pall of doom hanging over The Asylum as it’s clear that first band Khost are already on as I arrive. Luckily, the band are only a couple of songs in, but the slowly gathering crowd are already enraptured by the duo’s atmospheric industrial grind. Continue reading

Decapitated – Devilment – Acid Reign at HRH Metal, O2 Academy Birmingham (UK)

Spread across the three adjoining Academy venues in deepest, darkest Birmingham, the third annual HRH Metal indoor fest is well into its second day when I finally arrive (a long story involving illness and unforeseen hospitals), and gathering pace on the main stage with Nottingham stoner trio Witch Tripper. The band’s beer-fuelled, Black Sabbath inspired riffery capturing the attention of a respectably sized early evening audience.

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