Tramlines Fringe Festival Live at Sheffield City Hall

I arrive to find Trigger Thumb just on stage, with a quite busy and appreciative crowd in front of them. The room is already warm and echoing, though neither of these things seems to put off either audience nor band, despite the slight disservice done to Trigger Thumb by this. Even from the third song in, there are noticeably more heads nodding along and more movement in the crowd from earlier, as the Bradford 3-piece start to quickly work over the crowd, with vocalist/guitarist Arron’s self-deprecation between songs raising a number of smiles around the room, as he says, We are Trigger Thumb and we are losers”. Musically, they veer between noisy Math Rock and some quite delicate guitar and vocals, showing an homage, at least, to The Mars Volta, whilst nods to the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Faith No More pop through at various times. They perform their set with a minimum of fuss and thoroughly earned the loud applause they garner at the end of their set.

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On The Road… with Ensiferum

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Finland’s Ensiferum are one of the worlds leading “pagan metal” flag-wavers, if there can even be such a thing. The band released the criminally underrated One Man Army (Metal Blade) album last year, easily one of the finest moments in their career. Oddly though they don’t seem to have same recognition as some of their peers in the battle metal sub-genre. No matter, the music and the fans are what counts to this outfit, and it is proven by the many sold-out tour dates. Playing to a full room tonight in the band plays the hits, both old and new. The throng of fans approves. They are joined on this tour by the talented Metsatoll from Estonia, who also seem to be more obscure than thy deserve. On this night at Rainbow Warehouse in Birmingham Luke Denham of Luke Denham Photography caught all the action for Ghost Cult Magazine.

 

Ensiferum by Luke Denham Photography

Ensiferum by Luke Denham Photography

Ensiferum by Luke Denham Photography

Ensiferum by Luke Denham Photography

Ensiferum by Luke Denham Photography

Ensiferum by Luke Denham Photography

Ensiferum by Luke Denham Photography

Ensiferum by Luke Denham Photography

Metsatoll by Luke Denham Photography

Metsatoll by Luke Denham Photography

Metsatoll by Luke Denham Photography

Metsatoll by Luke Denham Photography

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On The Road… with Tesseract and The Contortionist

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Progressive metal stars Tesseract have hit the ground running hard since the release of their new album Polaris (Kscope) in 2015. Re-energized by returning vocalist Daniel Tompkins and new horizons to reach for musically, the band has been slaying out on tour. Will a huge headline run of dates in their native United Kingdom, as well as the rest of Europe, rabid fans were in a froth. Especially to see Tompkins, who is truly a great conduit vocally and lyrically for what the bands lays down. Most of the shows on the tour are already sold-out, attesting to the greatness of this band; already a modern legend. On this night at Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, the band was supported directly by like-minded US proggers The Contortionist and Nordic Giants (not pictured). The Contortionist themselves are another great young band, with a similar career arc of the headliners. Now fronted by Michael Lessard (Last Chance To Reason), the band is touring hardcore behind their own recent release the “Rediscovered” version of their album Language (eOne). As for the headliners, if you have ever seen them live, they are masterful performers. On this night they crafted a set list highlighting their newest work, but always remembering the moments from older albums that got them here in the first place. Captured here for Ghost Cult by Luke Denham of Luke Denham Photography, you get a glimpse one of tomorrow’s best band, today.

TesseracT set list:

Phoenix

Messenger

Concealing Fate, Part Two: Deception

Concealing Fate, Part Three: The Impossible

Of Matter: Proxy

Of Matter: Retrospect

Of Matter: Resist

Dystopia

Hexes

Survival

April

Of Mind: Nocture

Concealing Fate, Part One: Acceptance

 

Tesseract, by Luke Denham Photography

Tesseract, by Luke Denham Photography

 

Tesseract, by Luke Denham Photography

Tesseract, by Luke Denham Photography

 

Tesseract, by Luke Denham Photography

Tesseract, by Luke Denham Photography

 

The Contortionist, by Luke Denham Photography

The Contortionist, by Luke Denham Photography

 

The Contortionist, by Luke Denham Photography

The Contortionist, by Luke Denham Photography

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Primordial – Winterfylleth – Malthusian: Live at Sound Control

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On an ever-poignant date for Manchester, and in a venue situated within a small area of the city known as ‘Little Ireland’, it seems apt for the morose, blackened death of Eireann quartet Malthusian to be laying waste. Through the bloody annoying strobe effects, impressive frontman Pauric Gallagher stood behind his bass like a colossus, his Lemmy-style stance and ferocious, deep scour complementing the blackened rasp of co-vocalist Andrew Cunningham. Brutally savage yet with added elements of crushing doom, this was a huge assault on the senses and a delicious aperitif.

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Minor issues blighted the early Winterfylleth sound but old favourite ‘Ghosts of Heritage’ had the floor bouncing. Emotive new track ‘Careworn Heart’, from the band’s The Divination of Antiquity (Candlelight) opus, was led in by a beautifully taped acoustic intro; the more subtle yet crashing, almost mournful feel which displayed the new expansion and versatility of the band grasping the room in the palm of its hand. It’s this creative freedom, embodied by much of Dan Capp‘s delicate, post-style leadwork, which has propelled these local boys-next-door to hero status. Crowd favourite ‘Defending the Realm’ was greeted with unfettered joy, yet there was more an awed reverence rather than a pulsating throb for this adored outfit.

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A stirring Irish lament played Primordial to the stage, whence the unmistakable figure of the painted, hooded Nemtheanga roared “Are you with us?”. Generating rapturous, impassioned crowd accompaniment, one of Metal’s truly great frontmen stared wildly and prowled like a possessed madman through the rousing ‘Where Greater Men Have Fallen’, sorely apt given tonight’s close proximity to the site of the 1819 Peterloo massacre. Fiercely expressive, yet allying the bitter anger to a dark humour, the spokesman for The Committed announced the outrageously powerful, emotive ‘Babel’s Tower’ as “my confession”; whilst the ‘skipping bullet’ guitar line of ‘As Rome Burns’ is introduced to ecstatic roars with the tagline “This is the United States of Europe – you have the right to hate who you want”. The constant wall of resonant riffs were part of the defining proof that this is no mere backing band, subtly and skilfully producing a thunderous swell of sound, the rhythm and drums a colossal thunder. Tolling bells blending with brutality, classics ‘The Coffin Ships’ and ‘Empire Falls’ were greeted like old friends and closed not merely a scintillating night, but the most passionate, moving, Herculean live performance I have ever seen.

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Primordial on Facebook

Winterfylleth on Facebook

Malthusian on Facebook 

 

Words by PAUL QUINN

Photos by LUKE DENHAM

On The Road…. Avatar

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Hailing from Sweden we have Avatar a twisted combination of dark circus theatrics and heavy metal. Being a fan of their music but not having witnessed them live I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The room grew silent as I waited for Avatar the tension slowly growing within the crowd. The silence was suddenly broken by the sounds of anticipation and one by one approached the stage silently greeting the crowd with a cold malicious stare from the centre of the stage robotically and dutifully moving to stand in their place. Waiting like a caged animal upon the call of their master and then came on stage greeting the crowd like a ringleader inviting them all deeper into their circus of madness and all that tension in the crowd, all that malice within the band exploded into one. Avatar (9)

And it didn’t stop there followed by ear piercing guitar solos, and an impressive vocal range drawing you in with a soft almost frail voice. But smashing into a powerful bone shaking shrieking tearing its face off in front of you to reveal its true nature.

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And at the end of the show each band member silently as before walked to the front of the stage and one by one thanked the fans. After they gathered together placed their arms around each other and took a final bow, a class act. To me it was more than a genuine and heartfelt send-off great things are rarely made of one thing, it’s when you have all the elements whether it’s Kungen and Tim Öhrströms rock and roll sound the technical solos and hard hitting riffs. Henrik Sandelin’s rhythmic and groove inspired bass. John Alfredsson’s smashing the drums providing the heart attack rhythm to the machine. And Johannes Michael Gustaf Eckerström’s impressive vocal range entertaining and almost sadistic showmanship. Only by combining all these elements together you can only produce something as unique as Avatar.

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Avatar on Facebook

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY LUKE DENHAM

Soil – American Head Charge – HED PE – Wolf Bourne: Live at Club Academy, Manchester UK

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This show was a sell out, and you can understand why with such an amazing, nostalgic line up . The atmosphere at the venue was super charged from the beginning with everyone turning up to support their favourite bands, old and new.

Wolfbourne where the 1st band to kick off the show with a bang and they certainly did not disappoint. Based out of Vancouver, BC the band consist of the members Chris Witoski – Vocals , Lanning Kann – Guitar, Brett Nussbaum – Bass and Robbie Sheldrick – Drums . The hard rock, grungy metal edge this band possesses is truly mesmerising.

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Wolfbourne share similarities to Soundgarden, Iggy Pop David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails in my opinion. In both the intense drum and bass groove to the fast-paced, punk style they share within the creative genius of the music they create and share. The energy of this band on stage combined with the majestic beard that Chris has is something to be seen for yourself. I don’t think I have been to a concert where the first act to open up the event has so much rare power.

If you have not heard of Wolfbourne yet – I seriously recommend you follow them and purchase the latest album titled In the beginning. The band will be touring to support the album throughout 2014 and all of 2015.

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(HED) P.E. is one of the bands that a lot of fans came to witness in all their splendour and glory.

“The name (Hed) p.e. is a name that the lead singer ( Jahred ) came up with which basically means our consciousness is connected to the planet and the planet is evolving, therefore, we as her children evolve with her. The “p.e.” originally was defined as PLANETARY EVOLUTION, and sometimes morphs to PLANET EARTH and back, but both carry the same message, the (Hed) is the symbol for consciousness. WE ARE ON THE MOTHERSHIP!”

The band believe it or not have been on the alternative music scene for 20 years, since 1994. It wasn’t until 2000 when the bands most recognised album titled BROKE catapulted Jahred and the band into the mainstream and solidified them as a mainstay in the rock and metal community. I love the Fusion that the long-standing punk rock heritage with G-Funk-inflected hip-hop.

We first encountered (Hed) p.e, when Jahred walked on stage in full army camouflage gear and a full face mask – the scene was very surreal at first. The music had dark undertones and almost a riot feeling in the air. There were a few bewildered looks of people’s faces, with the intense stage presence.

The amount of energy when ‘Bloodfire’ started playing though, it set everyone back when they first heard the track, pits were being ripped open. To show the support for the amazing and euphoric feeling we all had.

Constant requests where being screamed to the band for their favourite tracks to be played – As soon as the first cords of ‘Renegade’ and ‘Bartender’ where heard the place erupted into a mass frenzy.

The combined enthusiasm of Jahred jumping into the crowd. His with his unique stage performance really set them out from he other bands . Everyone’s hands fist pumping into the air. Showing full respect the epic-ness of the song.

 

American Head Charge (1)

Having survived severe addictions, countless tours, the major label minefield, and the death of guitarist Bryan Ottoson, American Head charge have resurrected! They have returned to create new music and decimate crowds across the globe.

Following the 2007 deactivation of the band the (near) classic line-up of vocalist Cameron Heacock, bassist Chad Hanks, keyboard player Justin Fowler, drummer Chris Emery and guitarist Karma Cheema is back! To solidify their return they’ve added guitarist Ted Hallows to round out the line-up.

 

They burst our ear drums with the outstanding quality of tracks they performed. Cameron’s interaction with the fans was astonishing, high-fiving the front line, talking in between tracks, forming a bond with everyone. I think it puts a personal spin on attending a concert.

The heavy industrial rock sound of this stunning band filled the auditorium with passion and power. I absolutely loved the set they gave for this tour.

When they started to play ‘DND’ , all hell broke loose , with their fans embracing in the ambiance of the song being performed live .

Soil (5)

 

 

The building nearly took off when Soil entered on stage, the sound of the up roar and applause from the crowd brought tetanus to your ears.

 

It just proves how well the band are received. Even after 18 years after being created, following trials and tribulations, they still have it. In fact, they never lost the ability in the first place.

The sure passion returning vocalist Ryan McCombs has, with his almost God like presence on the stage. He just draws you in to the lyrics. It certainly does take you back to your teens (because I am old). Listening to the bands albums and tracks. It is almost like a time machine, the smells, and what part of your life you where at.

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There was so much respect for the band; fans were ecstatic seeing them live again with the return of Ryan as lead singer. The crowd loved the energetic sound of the flawless sound system at Club Academy that night. It makes you feel that you are a part of the show, an intimate gathering with your idols. Rather than huge outdoor festivals that can be impersonal.

And yes they played ‘Halo’ – by demand . Probably one of the most recognised tracks from the bands discography.

 

Soil on Facebook

American Head Charge on Facebook  

HED PE on Facebook  

Wolfbourne on Facebook

 

WORDS: EMMA WILSON

PHOTOS: LUKE DENHAM PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

 

 

On The Road…. With YOB and Pallbearer

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YOB and Pallbearer are both out on the road in support of stellar new albums. YOB’s Clearing The Path To Ascend (Neurot) received a 9/10 from Ghost Cult earlier this month. Pallbearer’s Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore) was a rare 10/10 from us and was our August Album of the month. Both bands recent teamed up for a co-headlining run of dates in the UK and Luke Denham of Luke Denham Photography caught both bands in front of his lens. A full review is coming soon. In the mean time, enjoy these shots!

 

 

Pallbearer (2)

 

Yob (27)

 

 

Pallbearer (9)

Yob (18)

 

Yob (12)

 

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YOB on Facebook

Pallbearer on Facebook

Luke Denham Photography