While She Sleeps & Wovenwar @ The Ritz, Manchester Review


, , , ,

While She Sleeps live @ The Ritz, Manchester

While She Sleeps live @ The Ritz, Manchester

Two of metal metalcore’s hottest new wave of talent have been touring extensively over Europe supporting In Flames these last few weeks and finally, they bring their flavour of chaos to UK shores. Despite the October chills, legions of fans await to what hopes to be a thrilling night of adrenaline-fuelled carnage. But did both While She Sleeps and Wovenwar live up to the great expectations?

From the ashes of As I Lay Dying arise Wovenwar, with all former members of AILD enlisting frontman Shane Blay from Oh, Sleeper to create a new band delivering a new style of metalcore. With one full length record under their belt and performances at Reading & Leeds Festivals earlier this year the band have been creating quite a name for themselves and that was certainly evident throughout their performance as each song’s closure was met with thunderous applause. Musically, Wovenwar were on absolute top form; with every riff and solo executed at pin-point perfection accompanied by consistent rhythm of Jordan Mancino’s drumming. For example, the rapid riff and rising drum beat leading to the breakdown in Death To Rights was absolutely sensational, showcasing the band’s sheer talent.

The real stand-out element to Wovenwar’s performance however, was the vocal performance from both Shane Blay and Josh Gilbert. Singing cleans in metalcore in a live performance often do not match the standards witnessed on studio recordings, but the combined efforts of both vocalists was incredible to witness. The dual vocal combination in Tempest was absolutely breathtaking, and yet despite the band not utilising any growls or harsh vocals of any kind, it still maintained one whirlwind of a performance. (8)

British metalcore act While She Sleeps have sky-rocketed in popularity over the last few years. The five piece act from Sheffield have built a solid reputation of menacing and energetic live performances, and that was crystal clear in their performance. Frontman Lawrence Taylor possess’s ridiculous amounts of energy; by simply diving into the crowd and around the stage he ensured the crowd was whipped into a frenzy from start to finish.

Despite a few technical difficulties involving microphones, While She Sleeps were absolutely phenomenal. Riffs came in strong, breakdowns were enormous and roars sailed above it all. Whilst it was disappointing that one of the verses to False Freedom was lost due to the technical issues, the crowd ensured the band raged on. When everything was in order, there was simply no stopping While She Sleeps. This is the Six and Death Toll saw host to enormous pits and legions of crowd surfers crashing over the barricades; all of which is responsible for the monstrous riffs and roaring vocals. Fan favourite, Crows, sent the crowd absolutely ballistic which the band lapped up with sheer delight. While She Sleeps are on course to becoming of Britain’s strongest and biggest metal bands and that was absolutely clear from tonight’s performance. (9)

Interview: Shane Blay – Wovenwar


, , ,

Wovenwar live @ The Ritz, Manchester

Wovenwar live @ The Ritz, Manchester

Thoroughly into their first European tour, American metalcore group Wovenwar are set to make an immediate impression on the UK crowd in Manchester. I sat down with frontman Shane Blay to discuss touring, musical influences and the bonds you make with people on tour.

I’m James with One Media Group and I’m here with Shane from Wovenwar, how are you doing?

Shane: I’m good man. Tired from the ferry though!

You’re well into the tour now, how’s it been?

Shane: It’s been frickin’ amazing. The In Flames crew have been the most accommodating people and just friendly dudes, like we go out for beers all the time on tour. Obviously the shows have been huge so that aspect of it has been awesome!

And you’re touring with While She Sleeps as well, a rising British band. What are they like on the road?

Shane: They’re like our brothers now. We’re sharing a bus with them so yeah erm we’re very intimate with them haha. But yeah, they are like some of our best friends now.

Has there been any stand out dates? Any performances that have been a favourite of yours?

Shane: Ermm Cenon, France was amazing. That was probably my favourite of the tour as I got to speak only in French to the crowd and that was fun, it was something I always wanted to do. Paris was great for me as well, like seeing the city. But best show so far would have to be Cenon, France I think, it was insane!

Because this is really the first European tour for Wovenwar, as you did tour with Black Label Society in the US. Is it easy touring? Or is it new experiences for the band?

Shane: Well everyone in the band are super veterans of touring. I mean As I Lay Dying toured for ten years, Oh Sleeper toured for eight years and me and Nick’s band before all that toured forever too haha, so shows aren’t really a scary thing anymore. Well accumulating to being a full time singer has been a huge thing for me personally, I have to pay attention to what I eat and how much I drink.

Haha bit unforunate there!

Shane: Well I drink like a fish anyway, but I have to not go to the bars and scream and whatever.

The first record, your début, it’s been out for a few months now. How’s the reception been?

Shane: Everything I’ve seen people are stoked on it. There’s a lot of “oh it’s not heavy enough” and I get a lot of flack for not growling and doing goblins and ghouls sounds, but I don’t really care haha. They got me because that’s what I do, I sing.

When it came to the writing, did you guys take influence from your old bands or did you want to strive for a unique sound for Wovenwar?

Shane: When it began they didn’t really know who was going to be the singer. So they just wrote like a wide spectrum of stuff and I was on Warped tour last year and then they asked me to do it. So they sent me like a buttload of songs and I picked the ones that I thought I sounded good on, so that’s sort of how the sound got moulded. And then after Warped I flew out and got to start writing guitar stuff. But I don’t think we catered or got influenced by our past stuff, we definitely wanted to have those fans that carried over to the new band. So we kept some of our elements alive!

Your first UK dates was Reading & Leeds Festivals in the summer. How was that? As they aren’t really like an indie festival isn’t it? I mean, they aren’t a metal festival.

Shane: Exactly and I think we went down well. Our booking agent came out and loved the show and I talked to a bunch of fans that night, so it seemed to be awesome! The funny thing is that we played in Barfly, Camden a couple of days later and it was just insane. It was one of my favourite shows of my life. It was tiny obviously, but it was so much fun!

And after Reading & Leeds, do you have any other UK festival plans for next year?

Shane: Not yet, it’s too early to tell.

And really my final question is what’s next for you guys after this tour?

Shane: We’ve got two months off and then early next year we have stuff that I can’t talk about who it’s with and everything, we’ve got some US stuff planned. My plan is after these two months off to start writing new stuff and get ready for record two. Now that we’ve established it, I want to get the ball rolling and get a discography going.

Brilliant! Thanks a lot mate

Shane: No problem!

Wovenwar’s self titled studio record is available now via Metal Blade Records.

Desolate Horizon ‘Rise From The Ashes’ EP Review



Describing themselves as a fusion of Slayer, Evile and Metallica Desolate Horizon are the latest band to emerge under the resurgence of thrash metal. Their 2013 release of their debut EP, Rise From The Ashes, promises to pack an almighty punch. But for a genre that has steadily become stagnated with countless bands that all strive to keep the thrash metal sound, will Desolate Horizon stand out from the crowd and fly the thrash metal flag high?

For a band that have only just have emerged on the Manchester metal scene the level of musical quality from the four-piece is absolutely superb. Instrumental opener Dehumanizer sets the tone for the rest of the EP; fast and ferocious thrash metal. The guitar work is rapid and played to pin-point precision whilst the drumming feels equivalent to machine gun fire. It’s heavy and stupidly brilliant. For example, the riff fused with consistent drum kicks in A New Beginning just encourages a serious case of whiplash.

The characteristics of thrash metal aren’t particularly difficult to grasp but Desolate Horizon have strived not only to meet these characteristics but to surpass them. Typically, thrash metal demands vocal performances that deliver sheer power and the combination of Ryan Marshall and Josh Bellos’ vocals creates a truly impressive sound.

For a genre that is so over-populated it is incredibly difficult for emerging bands to deliver a fresh sound. Desolate Horizon have created a truly magical EP that breathes fresh air into a stale genre of heavy metal. It is testament to the view that heavy metal is more alive than ever.


Interview: Evil Invaders


, , , ,

Credit: Katie Louise Photography

Credit: Katie Louise Photography

Belgian thrash outfit Evil Invaders have just performed a blistering set in Manchester. With a sound that is so similar to the old school thrash acts the band went down a treat for the ravenous fans. I spoke to frontman Joe Audenhove & bassist Alain Hulsbosch to talk about the tour with Destruction, their musical sound and future plans for a full-length record.

I’m James and I’m here with Joe from Evil Invaders. You played one awesome set, how was that performance tonight?

Joe: It was great! We had a lot of fun on stage and the crowd was raging!

You’re well into the tour now, it’s the second to last date tonight, how’s the tour been so far?

Joe: Amazing! We’ve played shows in Germany, Belgium, the UK. We’re going to play Holland tomorrow.

So a bit of a long drive to get to Holland tomorrow then?!

Joe: Yeah totally. But we are with the Destruction guys so it’s all good.

And touring with Destruction, a great old school act, what’s it like touring with those guys?

Joe: Really cool! They are really chill and we’ve been partying every night

Has there been any party highlights?

Joe: Honestly, it’s been like that every night haha! Yesterday was cool though, we went on the ferry and I climbed up to the roof of the ferry on the helicopter platform with him (Alain) which was the highest point on the ferry where we weren’t supposed to be!

So I real stand out party moment then! Has there been any standout performances from this tour?

Joe: All of them were great!

Alain: Every one had their special moments. But of course the biggest crowd was the shows in Belgium. I mean for example yesterday, in Dublin, we played a really small stage but it was absolutely packed! And the guys were going insane! I really did not expect that but the fans were just so thankful that we came over.

Your debut EP has been out for over a year now. Since that EP has come out, how has the reception been?

Joe: We didn’t expect people to react so good to it. I mean we’ve been playing a lot of festivals, we’ve even played in Japan…

What’s the Japanese crowd like?

Joe: Dude they’re crazy! Really nice people though.

So it’s been a good reception then?

Joe: Yeah yeah totally!

And has that reception pushed forward plans for a full length studio record?

Joe: Yeah! We are working on that right now! The release date is planned for the 28th of February.

And your style of music is very much old school thrash. Do you find that with the new wave thrash bands emerging, that you guys just wanted to go back to the old school sound?

Joe: Well our main influences are like the really old bands like Black Sabbath. Where as the new wave bands, their influences are like newer stuff such as Destruction and Overkill. So I think that’s where we stand out maybe! As we combine tradition heavy metal riffs with the thrash. We just wanted to sound like the 80s metal bands!

And finally have you guys got plans for the future?

Joe: As soon as the album is out we hit the road and we keep on going.

Any festival plans?

Joe: Yeah, we have some confirmed. We’re playing….ermmm…I’m really bad at names haha

You guys ever thought about playing Bloodstock?

Joe: I know the festival but I’ve never been there haha!


 Evil Invaders’ self titled EP is out now

Destruction @ Manchester Sound Control Review


, , ,

Credit: Katie Louise Photography

Credit: Katie Louise Photography

Thrash metal seems to be one of metal’s most prominent sub-genres; absolutely jam-packed with bands backed by a legion of dedicated fans. With Destruction decimating venues across Europe these last few weeks, the northern residents of Manchester were at last ready to face the carnage. But did the band provide the level of chaos that is to be expected from the thrash titans?

Kicking off the night was Evil Invaders, whilst technically classed as a new wave thrash band they are musically rooted within the old school 80s sound. With only one EP to the band’s name their performance was short but so utterly sweet. Riffs were performed in force here, accompanied with blistering solos that the manic crowd lapped up with delight. For example Victim of Sacrifice kickstarted a whirl of frantic headbanging and pits that engulfed the room in thrashtastic madness; it says a lot for a band that only has one EP under their belt! (8)

 Lost Society are a band that has steadily been building a reputation in the thrash scene. The fins unique approach to the music hasn’t gone unnoticed as the crowd swelled in size for their set. If only they could match the anticipation…

For a band that was eagerly anticipated it was rather disappointing that the band failed to fire on all cylinders. Whilst musically, the band were on form with riffs performed rapidly and to a high standard, their interaction with the crowd is what let Lost Society down. It almost seemed like the crowd were waiting to unleash hell for Destruction and no one else, so whilst Lost Society performed well, the tidal wave of carnage that was to be expected only came across as a tepid stream. (6)

 With the main support coming from Shrapnel, a world of expectations awaited the band. However Shrapnel proved doubters wrong by performing a setlist jam-packed with fury, adrenaline and ultimately musicianship of the highest quality. From the offset the band kicked up a whirlwind of frantic fans, encouraged by consistent drumming, quick fire riffs and Jae Hadley’s vocals rising above like a phoenix. It was breathtaking to watch and showcases the band’s rising influence on the UK thrash metal scene! (8)

 With Destruction’s career spanning over thirty years and thirteen studio records the band have been prominent on the survival of thrash metal. And their dedication to the scene was rewarded with an explosive reaction from the crowd; every riff, every solo and every roar of Marcel Schirmer’s vocals was met by thunderous appreciation.

Musically, the band were on fine form with the German trio executing their roles perfectly! With a setlist comprised essentially with the band’s ‘greatest hits’ as well as several tracks from 2013’s Spiritual Genocide it proved to be a nice balance of new and old. Fan favourites such as Nailed To The Cross and Mad Butcher were instant highlights with headbanging in full force and pits so chaotic it would strike fear into the biggest of beasts. Destruction essentially showcased that the old school still reigns strong, and even 30 years after their inception, can provide utterly brilliant live performances! (9)


Devildriver ‘Winter Kills’ Album Review


, , ,

Devildriver to me have always been considered one of the ‘gateway’ bands for access to heavier music, once upon a time ago I was presented with 2007’s ‘The last Kind Words’ and it paved the way for my interest in extreme music. Six years and two records later Devildriver are back with their brand new record entitled ‘Winter Kills’. Does this new offering continue the slick groove found in Devildriver’s music or does it fall short on expectations?

One thing is certain with ‘Winter Kills’ there is plenty of slick grooves and intricate guitar play to keep one certainly entertained throughout. Devildriver built their name and reputation on offering breathtaking guitar solos, and consistent riff mastery and groove all reinforced with frontman Dez Fafara’s iconic vocal style. For example the excellent solos and twin guitar play performed by Jeff Kendrick and Mike Spreitzer that were so ever present on ‘The Last Kind Words’ return on ‘Winter Kills'; ‘Curses and Epitaphs’ features an extensive closing solo that bears so much resemblance to earlier material and ‘Gutted’ features slamming riffs that just encourage heads to bang.

Before ‘Winter Kills’ was released Devildriver did release two tracks from the album in order to build anticipation for the record release, ‘Ruthless’ and ‘The Appetite’ were the two tracks in question. However these two tracks are easily the weakest tracks from ‘Winter Kills’. ‘Ruthless’ is your standard bog of the mill track that you can now expect from Devildriver that was so ever present on 2011’s ‘Beast’ and ‘The Appetite’ whilst significantly better than ‘Ruthless’ does lack that special hook that made Devildriver’s earlier records such titans in the groove metal genre.

This leads to another point I have to make about ‘Winter Kills’. You know from the offset that it’s a Devildriver record. Everything you have come to expect from the American groove lords is present here, from consistent riffs, to steady consistent drum work and roaring vocals throughout. Now that is certainly not a bad thing as if the formula isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Right?!

Devildriver have brought another consistent and solid record to the table. As record number six, it certainly maintains the musical quality the band have established since their formation 11 years ago. Whilst significantly better than 2011’s ‘Beast’ ‘Winter Kills’ does not rise to the same immense high standards of quality like 2005’s ‘The Fury of our Maker’s Hands’ and 2007’s ‘The Last Kind Words. That said though, ‘Winter Kills’ is still a solid release from Devildriver providing plenty of fresh groove and riffs to encourage a good dose of whiplash.


Entombed Announce New Album


, , ,

Swedish death metal pioneers Entombed have announced their brand new studio record, the follow up to 2007’s ‘Serpent Saints – The Ten Amendments”.

Entitled ‘Back To The Front’ the band promises to deliver their usual slab and style of death metal that propelled Entombed to the status of one of the pioneers of the Swedish death metal movement.

‘Back To The Front’ will be released on October 28 in Europe and October 29 in North America via Century Media Records.

Stay focused on Entombed’s Facebook page for updates on the new record.

Born of Osiris ‘Tomorrow We Die ∆live’ Review

Progressive deathcore act Born of Osiris certainly established their finely crafted sound on 2011’s The Discovery, blending the progressive polyrhythmic chugging riffs of djent, the musical proficiency of technical death metal, and heavy use of keyboards and electronic elements. The result was a unique take on the deathcore genre, and the album’s successor, confusingly dubbed Tomorrow We Die ∆live. Yes, the triangles are indeed necessary.

Immediately, it is noticeable that there has been a slight shift in style. With the departure of lead guitarist Jason Richardson, the band has chosen to revert to a style closer to the band’s earlier efforts. However, the similarities end there. The album’s opener and lead single, Machine, displays an apt showcase of the album’s strong points. The chugs are heavy, the leads are sweepy, and the keyboards are oh so catchy.

With the album’s second track, Divergence, in the the rear view mirror, it’s clear already that this band knows its way around the blend of catchy and heavy. These hooks are as meaty as they get.

The production on this effort is nothing short of superb. The djent elements of guitarist McKinney’s sound have been increased, giving the riffs far more impact. The band utilizes a heavy bass presence once again, although not to such great effect as on the album’s predecessor, as there is far more chug this time around. The keyboards are far more present on Tomorrow We Die live, swirling around the riffs to create some of the most obnoxiously catchy songs this year. The vocals, a duty provided by both keyboardist Joe Buras and standalone vocalist Ronnie Canizaro, are expertly mixed. Ronnie’s lows see a lot of double and even triple tracking, which mixes perfectly with Joe Buras’ highs. The drum production is once again phenomenal. There are few snares that can match this.

But, by halfway through the album, one can’t help but notice the gaping hole where shred extraordinaire  Jason Richardson once stood. His input on The Discovery, while not huge, was expert, culminating in the unparalleled masterpiece that is the album’s closer, XIV/Behold. The track’s complex blend of speedy riffing, crushing chugs, and beautiful soloing was one of the album’s high points. Here, Lee McKinney includes some of the neoclassical elements present on the last album, though they fail to match the extremes Richardson took them to. Tracks such as Illusionist and closer Vengeance exhibit  some excellent sweep picking focussed leads. Unfortunately, the amount of actual solos is limited. Only Exhilarate sees the return of the free-form shred the graced The Discovery.

However, this album is constructed eleven very strong tracks, rather than the six masterpieces and ten alright songs that made up the previous record. There is no filler present, no interludes or electronic tracks. This is a stripped down, razor-sharp groove-based machine. And the band works the sound with brilliance.

Yes, here is a record that is relentlessly heavy for 42 straight minutes. This djent-filled pot of chug surprisingly entertains throughout, simmering with a unique blend of deathcore and electronic elements. The dubstep breakdown during Divergency’s outro is a prime example of such. While we’ve all heard chug before, here is a unique and original take on the discipline of the open note. Truly marvellous. – Henry



Exhumed ‘Necrocracy’ Album Review


, , , ,

For a band like Exhumed who’s career has spanned an impressive 23 years new studio records can often be difficult to bring something new to the table. By then a band’s sound has been firmly established and often new releases just tend to grind down the same formula. Two years on from 2011’s ‘All Guts No Glory’ Exhumed are back with their brand new studio record entitled ‘Necrocracy’. Does this new album grind the same formula we’ve come to expect or does it offer some delight for the death metal community?

A major strong point of ‘Necrocracy’ is the incredible musicianship to be found on this record. Exhumed’s blend of grindcore and death metal is stronger than ever on this record, through pummeling riffs that encourage serious cases of whiplash and excellent solos that showcase Exhumed’s talent. Unlike most bands associated with grindcore that just stick to the traditional formula Exhumed’s blend creates something truly unique here. For example tracks like ‘Necrocracy’ and ‘(So Passes) The Glory of Death’ are prime examples of the formula done perfectly; note slick riffs accompanied by excellent drumming and solo work.

Whilst commonly on most grindcore records that feature around 30 quick fire, adrenaline surging tracks ‘Necrocracy’ balances time structure brilliantly. Sticking to the average four minute duration it gives each track plenty of time to be enjoyed to maximum effect. It also allows the album to flow nicely, for example ‘Dysmorphic’ features a brilliant diversity of pace, easing the carnage for a short duration to then unleash back into a ferocious riff accompanied with easily the best solo on the record. This really allows each member of the band to showcase their talent. However the real noticeable improvement here is Matt Harvey’s vocal work, his range of high and low growls have improved greatly and ‘Necrocracy’ is easily his best work to date.

Production wise, ‘Necrocracy’ excels on this front as well. Unlike earlier releases the production on ‘Necrocracy’ is simply fantastic allowing a truly devastatingly immersive listening experience. Exhumed have really outdone themselves with ‘Necrocracy’, making it easily one of the most enjoyable yet incredibly heavy albums of the year and will only further boost their popularity in the death metal scene.


Introducing: Iraqi Death Police


, , ,

Originating from South Africa Iraqi Death Police present a solid slab of grindcore mixed with elements of progressive metal. The result is pure aggression accompanied with experimental guitar play. With influences from the likes of Pig Destroyer, Nile, Decapitated and Insect Warfare clear in their style of music Iraqi Death Police are a excellent band to add to your library.

They currently have one album available, via soundcloud.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.