Festival Review – Hellfest 2018!

The good news? Hellfest is bigger than ever before, continuing to receive national awards and international recognition. The bad news? Next year’s festival is already sold out!!! Yes folks, the cult of Hellfest is truly upon us with winning line ups, a professional operation and most of all, a warm social embrace to welcome all persons, so there is little sign of the momentum slowing down in what is fast becoming a worldwide event!







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Doro – “Forever Warriors, Forever United”


Doro – “Forever Warriors, Forever United” 2CD (Nuclear Blast) 

Battle Helm Rating

Long acknowledged as the ‘Queen of Heavy Metal’, Doro Pesch has been hitting the stages for 35 years over the course of 20 albums. More importantly though, her profound inspiration to many has seen her become an icon acknowledged for putting her fans first in regard of her own life choices as well as her trail blazing work for women in rock. Now in her mid 50s, she has returned with not one, but two full length releases totalling 19 tracks on her very first double album! Never short of friends having made close attachments to Gene Simmons and the late Lemmy, it doesn’t come as surprise that there’s a heavy n sultry cover of Motorhead’s ‘Lost In The Ozone’ but more importantly, ‘Living Life To The Fullest’ is a deep anthem composed while on a plane journeying to Lemmy’s funeral. Joining her this time as guests are Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio, Dead Daisies) who confirms her long admiration for Dave Coverdale in a cover of ‘Don’t Break My Heart Again’ (not to mention her first band being called Snakebite). Equally, Warlock’s Tommy Bolan puts in an appearance and on ‘If I Can’t Have You – No One Will’ Amon Amarth’s vocal beast Johan Hegg joins her on this dark rocker. On the face of it split between her harder side in “Warriors” and the more melodic “United”, there’s actually more balance with songs like ‘Soldier Of Metal’ being a prime example of a ballad with heaps of passionate guitar work on the former release while the roaring, hard stomping rocker ‘Fight Through The Fire’ is on the latter so her breath of talents are evenly spread making both releases of equal merit. From the double bass propelled ‘Bastardos’ to the kick ass ‘Blood Sweat And Rock N Roll’ with its twin screaming guitars trading off one another, not to mention the soaring power ballad ‘Lift Me Up’, it’s clear how inspired by the love of metal this revered veteran is. Indeed, the hugely catchy ‘Backstage To Heaven’ pretty much sums it up with its massive grooves, wailing guitars and a very sexy sax, not forgetting Doro’s own soulful vocals as the icing on the cake to this stupendous double helping from a true angel of metal!

Nonpoint – “X”

Nonpoint – “X” (Spinefarm Records) 

Battle Helm Rating

“X” – ? Well, yeah, it’s album number 10 for this nu metal crew that have been going for just over 2 decades. With over one million albums sold worldwide, their cover of Phil Collins ‘In The Air Tonight’ used in the soundtrack to the 2016 movie “Miami  Vice”, a discography of billboard charting albums while sharing stages with Megadeth, Papa Roach and Stone Sour to name but a few, it’s pretty hard to ignore Nonpoint despite their name. Melding a fusion of styles from groove to rap to nu metal, founder Elias Soriano is almost possessing in his captivating rhymes, stylings and street raps as the guitars of Rasheed Thomas and B.C. Kochmit soar and shred through massively catchy grooves, aggressive at times while mellow during other moments, but always colluding with Soriano to ensure a maximum effect on the highly memorable 10 tracks here. While not being a big nu metal fan, I really enjoyed this album and that’s a real testimony to Nonpoint’s capability that it stays long in the mind – that’s if you can actually put down “X” – this being my 6th consecutive listen ha ha! Seasoned veterans, Nonpoint’s material is not just composed expertly but actually reflects the feeling of the band themselves, so clearly it’s personal for these dudes. Comparable to bands like Drowning Pool and Hed PE, the tracks vary from heavy to more mellower grooves and right from the off, “X” takes a hold of you and doesn’t let go like on the furious ‘Dodge Your Destiny’ with its speed and chopping beats as Soriano runs riot before the screaming chorus hits home amid a crescendo of riffs, wailing metallic guitar and percussion including tabla drums – wow. With their experience of shaking stadiums and festivals comes the slow crowd rocker ‘Wheel Of Will’ with its inducing power riffs, tribal drumming and crowd shout outs led once again by Soriano’s oh so slick rhymes contrasted by some melodic hard rock soloing – can’t wait to see the waves of arms air punching to this one! Utterly possessing me and completing the trick was the electricity of ‘Crash’ with its hard stomping core beats and raw machine gun raps from Soriano shifting with trippy, laid back pieces but always kept busy by the guitars constantly injecting breaks, licks and melodies – unbelievable. Amazing as it may seem, some people have suggested that Nonpoint have slowed down but what these fools don’t realise is that this band will never stop, and their legacy has only grown with “X”.

Pink Fairies – “Resident Reptiles”

Pink Fairies – “Resident Reptiles” (Cleopatra Records) 

Battle Helm Rating

OMG. Pink Fairies. I never thought I’d hear that name again and certainly not on a new recording! I’ve heard stories and infamous tales about these guys over the decades, and I’m sure that all of them were shockingly true. Formed at the end of the 60s, these excessive psych anarchists were straight out’ve the West London hippie commune of Ladbroke Grove – that’s down the road from fashionable Notting Hill maaaaaaaaann! Drug fuelled and completely out of control, the Fairies nevertheless released 3 regarded albums (when they got their act together) including “What A Bunch Of Sweeties” which actually charted nationally in 1972, along with playing the first Glastonbury Festival and other ‘free’ festivals that were happening during the early 70s. Signed to Polydor, the band could’ve been big, however, excess and infighting has seen history consign them to cult status, occasionally mentioned in the mainstream owing to guitarist Larry Wallis’s Motorhead connection. By 1977 it was all over for the band although there have been sporadic one off reunions of different members depending on their health, mental condition and whether on talking terms with each other! Given that, “Resident Reptiles” is an achievement in itself. Officially the 9th Fairies album (not withstanding the countless contentious releases over the years), it features founding guitarist Paul Rudolph along with original Motörhead drummer Lucas Fox and Hawkwind bassist Alan Davey. If that doesn’t sound respectable enough then original Motörhead and Fairies guitarist Larry Wallis was with the band in spirit as they churned out an excellent version of his tune ‘Old Enuff To Know Better’! Together, they’ve put on an incredibly tight performance (by Fairies standards) on the 9 tracks that still resonate the style and sound of 70s anarchic psych rock, while using today’s production and the talent of Jurgen Engler of Die Kruups behind the desk. Like I said, it’s an achievement and I really hope it prompts people to check out the band’s hazy past cos the material here is excellent. Rudolph coolly mixes blues elements while retaining his people power fire on ‘Your Cover Is Blown’ before unleashing the wah in vivid contrast to his nonchalant drawls as Fox goes into his own percussive overdose. Chugging biker rock is the theme on ‘Lone Wolf’ as Davey’s bass rumblings run riot while the riotous energy of Rudolph’s breaks and licks are non stop, ensuring the track is as funky as it is sassy. A spontaneous collaboration of ideas recorded mostly live according to Rudolph, ‘Whipping Boy’ is a monster jam with his raw revved up guitar dancing all over the smooth rhythm groove, steady in its beat, but slowly and surely getting inside your head as the chorus trips you out without any chemical inducement. Less freakish but still far out, “Resident Reptiles” is a commendable achievement so whatever the future of the Fairies, at least they can’t say they went out on a downer.

Wild – “Sin Piedad”

Wild – “Sin Piedad” (Fighter Records) 

Battle Helm Rating

Citing themselves ‘..one of Spain’s finest heavy metal acts..’ might be seen like quite a boast, but in Wild’s case it’s more than justified by this truly impressive release! Formed in 2002 and now onto their 3rd album, “Sin Piedad” is a true heavy metal album in every sense, flat out with balls but equally plenty of passionate throughout. Vocalist José García, who looks like a cross between Glenn Danzig and Blaze Bayley, has plenty of screaming power and matching soul resulting in a very epic and not to mention stylish performance throughout the 10 splendid tracks here. Equalling him in every regard are the rest of Wild, from the dexterous twin guitars of Javier Pastor and Jaime Núñez with plenty of crunching riffs and screaming solos but also tons of melody clearly inspired by Maiden, along with a heavy rhythm especially in the batería of Niko Fernández! It all results in excellent material, unpretentious nor ‘retro’ but authentic and catchy in all the true aspects of heavy metal from the chugging ‘Todo o Nada’ with García’s soaring vocals hitting all the right highs to the epic majesty of ‘Circo Virtual’ culminating in the furious ‘Venganza’ with its raging guitars and Juanma Castaño’s ballsy bajo going into overdrive along with Fernández’s double bass drumming. Macho with melody, these matadors of metal truly live up to their name on “Sin Piedad”!

Leeched – “You Took The Sun When You Left”

Leeched – “You Took The Sun When You Left” (Prosthetic Records) 

Battle Helm Rating

And they look like such nice lads an’ all ha ha…..this is dark grindcore from the industrial wastelands of Madchester. Not the fast n furious kind with heaps of energetic aggression but something far more evil, festering in some hole, fomenting its hatred and misery into pure violence exploding right into your face on the 11 embittered tracks making up this nasty debut album. And quite astonishing it is too. For a band that formed just a year ago, the trio of Laurie, Judd and Tom swing it like they’ve been doing it all their lives wallowing in a pit of grindcore and heavy industrial metal. Already stoking the fires with their earlier EP “Nothing Will Grow From The Rotten Ground” (try telling that to your grandmother), the path to desolation has been set and as Laurie’s primordial roars rage along with his pig grunting bass. Adding Tom’s dull thudding drums, they set the dirty canvas for Judd to bring all his distortion, wails, feedback, bone crushing djent riffs and savage grooves to bear on tracks like ‘Cripple The Herd’, ‘By The Factories’ and ‘Hollow Point Weddings’. Nice. More than able to crush you underfoot, Leeched occasionally shift into break neck speed but always keep it extreme while still being alluring to those who like it that way on this unrelenting trip of brutality. Oh, the innocence of youth….

U.D.O – Make The Move

U.D.O. release a blistering new lyric video for “Make The Move”. The song is the third single taken from the new album “Steelfactory” which will hit the streets worldwide on August 31st.2018! Check it out, go mad and enjoy!

Michael Schenker Fest – Take Me To The Church

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST are set to invade the UK in November in support of the new album Resurrection. Yesterday the band is teased their new official video for ‘Take Me To The Church’, which is premiering on YouTube now!

Michael Schenker comments: “Today we are releasing the new video for ‘Take Me To The Church’, released from Michael Schenker Fest’s debut album – Resurrection. We filmed the video in an old church in St Petersburg, Russia as well as at our live show there that same evening. The process was an interesting experience! The fans in Russia were great for the video, too.”

Doogie White adds: “‘Take Me To The Church’ was the obvious choice, given the terrific response in the live arena and from fans and reviewers alike, so we decided to bite the bullet and shoot a video. This was the first of three songs Michael and I wrote for the “Resurrection” album continuing the partnership we started with “Temple of Rock. It is always fascinating to see how others interpret lyrics and bring them to life visually. We also knew that fans would want to see live footage of the line-up, we added some of that too. So once you have watched the video and learned your lines you can sing along when we come to a town or city near you. ALRIGHT…”

The legendary MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP vocalists Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley plus Michael Schenker’s TEMPLE OF ROCK vocalist Doogie White will be joining the guitar maestro on tour. Chris Glen will be appearing on bass with Ted McKenna on drums and Steve Mann on guitar/keys.

Featuring 3 original M.S.G. singers Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley plus Doogie White (ex-RAINBOW, Michael Schenker’s TEMPLE OF ROCK) w/ EDEN’S CURSE

05.11. UK Glasgow – O2 ABC
06.11. UK Birmingham – O2 Institute
08.11. UK Gwynedd – Hard Rock Hell *SOLD OUT*
09.11. UK Newcastle – O2 Academy
10.11. UK London – O2 Forum Kentish Town
11.11. UK Manchester – Academy

Buy tickets:  michaelschenkerhimself.com/tour.php

Order Resurrection: http://nblast.de/MSFResurrection

The album is available in the following formats:
CD:  http://nblast.de/RessurectionAMZCD
CD + DVD-DIGI (incl. Bonus-DVD):  http://nblast.de/MSFResurrectionCDDVD
CD + DVD Earbook (incl. Bonus-DVD & extended artwork):  http://nblast.de/MSFResurrectionEB
2LP (black gatefold):  http://nblast.de/RessurectionAMZVinyl2
2LP (clear gatefold):  http://nblast.de/RessurectionAMZVinyl
2LP (clear + red splatter in gatefold – NB MAIL ORDER EXCLUSIVE):  http://nblast.de/MSFshop

Order ‘Resurrection’ digitally:  http://nblast.de/MSFResurrectionIT

Tarja – “Die Alive” (Live in Milan)

Following up the worldwide top 10 video chart success “Act I”, Tarjaand earMUSICare happy to announce the release of the long-awaited follow up “Act II”this summer.

Filmed during Tarja’s world tour “The Shadow Shows”, during which the influential heavy rock singer circled the world for 7 ½ times with over 300.000 km travelled and played over 200 shows in 40 countries in front of 1 million people, “Act II”consists of the singer’s very intimate 75 minute set filmed and recorded live at the Metropolis Studio in London, UK and the breathtaking live performance of one of her shows in Milan, Italy, and previously unreleased interviews and photo galleries.

The theatrical rock adventure “Act II”combines two incredible, yet slightly different live performances on video:
The first chapter, “Metropolis Alive”, has been filmed two months prior to the release of Tarja’s 2016 success “The Shadow Self”. 20 winners from all over Europe were lucky to witness Tarja’s intimate, yet rocking 75 minute set at renowned Metropolis Studios in London, UK where the singer performed songs from her then unreleased album – for the first time in front of an audience.

“Act II’s” second chapter has been recorded on November 29th, 2016 at the magnificent Teatro della Luna Allago in Milan, Italy and includes numerous hits from all four Tarja albums such as “Innocence”, “Die Alive”, “Until My Last Breath”as well as an incredible cover of Muse’s classic “Supremacy”. That night’s set list also enchants the soprano’s long-time fans with a medley consisting of the distinctive Nightwishevergreens“Ever Dream”, “Slaying The Dreamer”and “The Riddler”. All topped off with a remarkable acoustic set which presents Tarja classics in a brand new way.

Even though the shows deliberately differ in look, sound, approach to the music and adrenalin, both have one thing in common: from the very first to the very last tune, the state of the art production displays Tarja’s energetic performance and her graceful, charming presence.

“Act II” is going to be released on July 27th, 2018 on earMUSICas 2CD digipak, 3LP Gatefold (180g, black), DVD, Blu-ray, Limited Mediabook 2CD+2BD (incl. two full live shows filmed at Hellfest in France and Woodstock Festival in Poland as bonus)and Digital.
A wide variety of exclusive, limited fan items and bundles can be found on Tarja’s official web shop: https://tarja.tmstor.es

“Act I”, Tarja’s first ever live release, charted Top 10 all over Europe as well as almost all over the world, with a sensational #5 in Germany’s General Charts. The video version even remained for over two months at the peak of the Finnish music video charts.

Blu-ray: https://tarja.lnk.to/Act2_Blu-ray
DVD: https://tarja.lnk.to/Act2_DVD
Vinyl: https://tarja.lnk.to/Act2_Vinyl
Mediabook: https://tarja.lnk.to/Act2_Mediabook
Digital: https://tarja.lnk.to/Act2_Digital
CD: https://tarja.lnk.to/Act2_Digital

Dan Reed Network – new album

Dan Reed Network are ecstatic to follow up their UK November Tour announcement with details of their brand new studio album Origins, released on Friday November 23rd, 2018 via Dan Reed’s own ‘Zero One Entertainment’ Label.

Origins follows DRN’s hugely successful comeback album Fight Another Day (2016). Physical pre-orders for Origins are available from Friday 10thAugust directly from the Dan Reed Network website.  All orders will receive a digital version of the first single Fade To Light as a free download.

To celebrate the announcement of their new album DRN are also extremely proud to share the first single Fade To Light with a music video they feel encapsulates the whole experience of recording Origins.

“The video for Fade To Light is taken from the inaugural live studio recording session at Blueprint Studios in Manchester and is the perfect microcosm for this entire process. What I think really translates throughout is how having an audience in the room fed the band with a unique energy that pushed us to expand our creative horizons. We’re thrilled with the results,” explains Dan Reed.

While recording the album DRN opened the studio doors to the public and invited them in to be a part of an exclusive series of recording sessions that spanned the globe with tracks that would eventually become Origins recorded at Blueprint Studio’s in Manchester, The Power Station in NYC, Nia Studios in Portland Oregon and finally Studio 4 in Stockholm.

The concept allowed supporters of the band to intimately witness the whole process of recording a brand new song from scratch with the band individually tracking drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and vocals before inviting the audience to participate and provide backing vocals for the song as can be seen in the brand new video for Fade To Light. The audience were also witness to a classic Dan Reed Network being re-imagined right before their eyes.

TICKETS www.danreed-network.com/tickets

Bilston, The Robin 2                                                                                        Wednesday 7 November

Newcastle, Riverside                                                                                     Thursday 8 November

Inverness, Monsterfest, The Ironworks                                                 Saturday 10 November

Glasgow, The Garage                                                                                     Tuesday 13 November

Wakefield, Warehouse 23                                                                           Wednesday 14 November

Pontypridd, Muni Arts Centre                                                                    Friday 16 November

Chester, The Live Rooms                                                                              Saturday 17 November

Stoke, Eleven                                                                                                    Wednesday 21 November

Derby, The Venue                                                                                           Thursday 22 November

London, 229 Venue – Album Launch Party                                           Friday 23 November

*London, The Landor – Exclusive Album Listening Party                 Saturday 24 November (Sold Out)

Manchester, Club Academy                                                                        Sunday 25th November