Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Stubb - Cry Of The Ocean (Album Review)

Cry Of The Ocean cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 11th November 2014
Label: Ripple Music

Cry Of The Ocean – Track Listing

1.Cry Of The Ocean, Part One 05:44
2.Cry Of The Ocean, Part Two 01:54
3.Heavy Blue Sky 05:03
4.Sail Forever 04:04
5.Heartbreaker 04:19
6.Devil's Brew 03:35
7.Snake Eyes 07:01
8.You'll Never Know 07:15

Bio

The power trios of the late ’60s and early ’70s are the blueprint for Stubb’s loud, hard-driving, fuzzed-up heavy blues rock. The band recorded their first full length album for UK label Superhot Records, and hit the road, gigging with such heavy rock luminaries as the Gentlemans Pistols, Firebird, Cherry Choke, Steak, Sungrazer and The Machine as well as appearing at Desertfest to a packed house. Making the trip over to Europe twice with Stone Axe from the USA further cemented Stubb’s reputation as a solid live act with some serious chops. Quickly, their debut album sold out and fans of heavy rock have been waiting eagerly for their sophomore effort. Now, Ripple Music is proud to deliver Cry of the Ocean, a blissed-out new album that will cement Stubb’s reputation amongst the higher hierarchy of heavy rock bands.

Band Members

Jack Dickinson- Guitar and vocals
Tom Fyfe- Drums
Peter Holland-Bass

Review:

London’s Stubb are a band whose name has been familiar to me for many years. However, it is only with the arrival of their second LP “Cry of the Ocean” that I have had a chance to familiarise myself with their intoxicating brand of heavy, fuzzed out blues rock. Within a couple of spins, I was kicking myself for not getting to know them earlier.

A cursory glance at the tracklisting tells you straight away that you are in safe hands. Any band that is willing to separate tracks into parts/movements/suites in true classic Prog style are obviously people of exquisite taste. “Cry of the Ocean” embraces this in fine fashion, kicking off with the powerful opening salvo of Parts 1 & 2 of the title track. Part 1 begins by establishing a serene and suitably oceanic atmosphere with calm guitar and gentle toms, bringing to mind Fleetwood Mac’s classic “Albatross”. The band picks up the pace, bringing in some suitably aquatic vocals before unleashing a weighty stoner riff, demonstrating the might of Stubb at full tilt. Things slow down a little as we enter Part 2 which introduces an anthemic stomp not too dissimilar from Fleetwood Mac again, but this time in full “Rumours” pomp.

This strong curtain raiser features all of the winning elements that Stubb explore in more detail over the subsequent six tracks. Taking an obvious love of classic 60/70s power trio, Cream and modern disciples such as Sweden’s Kamchatka, they add a healthy dose of Kyuss desert dirt and a desire to embark on psychedelic jams akin a more grounded Earthless (whom Stubb ably supported in London recently). A stumbling block for some bands with similar influences is the vocals. There is a fine line between the soulful, raw vocals of the likes of Paul Rodgers or John Garcia and sounding like Black Stone Cherry or some terrible, overwrought X-Factor wannabe. The vocals here are thankfully firmly on the right side of this line, demonstrating a satisfying mix of tunefulness and punky enthusiasm.
The likes of “Devils Brew” and closer “You’ll Never Know” demonstrate the kind of hard, dirty stoner rock that have established Stubb’s reputation. The latter brings the album to a close in suitably epic fashion by saving the longest and wildest, overdriven, wah-drenched solo until last. A whole album of similar tracks would have still made for a great listen, but it’s the tracks where Stubb stretch out in new musical directions that leave the biggest impression here.

Heartbreaker” shares more than a title with Led Zeppelin. Rather than echoing the powerful riffing of that classic track, this brings to mind the folkier acoustic side of the 70s monsters and provides a welcome oasis of calm as the album’s centrepiece. The album highlight for me however is the superb “Snake Eyes”. I mean it as a compliment of the highest order when I say this track wouldn’t sound out of place being stumbled upon, bleary-eyed late at night watching a BBC4 Old Grey Whistle Test compilation. The track takes Stubb’s core sound and adds a liberal dose of heavy Deep Purple Hammond and a yearning, soulful edge which brings to mind the likes of Procul Harum, particularly during the huge chorus. The track then veers into high-octane instrumental interplay which brings proceedings to a close, having covered all the best parts of 70s classic rock in seven minutes.

Overall this is an awesome album from Stubb, which given the current popularity of heavy retro rock deserves to find them a wider audience. Whilst being shamelessly derivative and hugely in thrall to obvious influences, Stubb bring a modern rawness and honesty to their music which sets them above many of their more popular peers.

Words by Charlie Butler

Thanks to Cat Jones from Southern Cross PR and Ripple Music for the promo. Cry Of The Ocean is available to buy on DD/CD/Vinyl from Ripple Music now.

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Leather Lung - Reap What You Sow (EP Review)

Reap What You Sow cover art

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 10th October 2014
Label: Self Released

Reap What You Sow – Track Listing

1.Burning Out 04:47
2.Green Bitch 03:59
3.Stone by Stone 05:39
4.Moth to the Flame 04:49
5.Repack/Relight 06:29

Bio

We set out in late 2012, as four best friends, to write the dirtiest stoner metal we could. Playing in mostly punk and hardcore bands prior to Leather Lung, we made it a point to bring those influences to the table. Through countless days/nights in a cramped jam space, ingesting untold amounts of weed and whiskey, Leather Lung was born. This is heavy music we can relate to. .

Band Members

Mike: Vocals
Zach: Guitar/Backup Vocals
Ben: Drums
Jesse: Bass/Backup Vocals

Review:

Leather Lung's debut EP – Reap What You Sow – is a weedian filled take on Punk/Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal . So that's the usual suspects there. Hard-hitting riffs dedicated to the mighty weed. This EP is a blast from start to finish. Loud, violent and in your face pounding with dope-filled smoky haze to drown your soul to.

Opening track – Burning Out – is a snarling Sludge/Stoner beast with Punk/Hardcore overtones to give Leather Lung's sound extra bite. The riffs come thick and fast with the band on fine form through out. The EP sounds superb which is no surprise since it was mastered by Brad Boatright. So you know it's gonna sound good with Brad on board. Leather Lung add smoky fuzz to their sound especially on the later tracks which gives them an addictive and violent edge which you will easily be addicted to in double quick time.

Green Bitch – takes an urban warfare approach to Sludge/Stoner Metal with the Doom Metal based vocals from Mike making this one dangerous crazy psychedelic weedian trip. It's cool to see a band actually trying to do some different with their sound and Leather Lung have succeeded by adding Punk/Hardcore vibes to the usual Sludge/Stoner metal riffs.

The standout track has to be Repack/Relight which oozes deadly doom and gloom atmospherics even if it's drenching in deadly addictive fuzz overtones. The riffs take a more sinister turn as Leather Lung slowly take their time in building up the atmosphere for one massive high. Yeah this is some great riffs. A great end to a hard rocking and awesome EP. Check it out for yourselves as this is available on BandCamp Buy Now Download. You won't be sorry.

Words by Steve Howe

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Golden Gorilla/Ghost Of Wem - Cruel Surprises Split LP (Album Review)

Ghost of Wem / Golden Gorilla - split - LP (Preview) cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 19th December 2014
Label: Per Koro Records and Meta Matter Records

Cruel Surprises (Split LP) – Track Listing

01 - Golden Gorilla - No Sleep
02 - Golden Gorilla - Paranoia Run
03 - Golden Gorilla - Teeth In The Pocket
04 - Golden Gorilla - Endlosrille
05 - Ghost Of Wem - (Cut The Head Off) Leave Th...
06 - Ghost Of Wem - Control Entity

Golden Gorilla Members

Tomasz Stompor - screams
Steffen Hinkel - guitar
Lars Ortlepp - guitar, backing growls
Thorsten Schüler - drums
Jürgen Schüler – bass

Ghost Of Wem Members

S. Guitar
D. Vocals
J. Guitar
J. Drums
S. Bass

Review:

So what do we have here? A heavy and brutal split record from two fine bands from Germany. In one corner we have - Golden Gorilla, and the next, we have Ghost Of Wem. Both bands offering heavy slabs of Sludge Metal to awaken your senses to. From what I can recall, Golden Gorilla split back in 2010 but reformed recently. Ghost Of Wem has been on this blog before with their intense onslaught of Blackened Sludge Metal. When my good friend Timon (from Sludge Worm Magazine) asked me - Did I want to review the new split record between these two awesome bands?

Of course, I jumped at the chance to review it. A few days later, a copy of their latest split release - Cruel Surprises - was handed to me. So let us get started. Golden Gorilla offer 4 tracks while Ghost Of Wem offers 2 tracks. 36 minutes of heavy bombastic Sludge/Blackened Sludge/Hardcore fury to rattle your bones to. Up first is Golden Gorilla with their heavy style of Sludge, Doom and Hardcore. Influenced by EyeHateGod and Iron Monkey amongst others, it does not take long for Golden Gorilla with their first offering - No Sleep. A punishing and bruising encounter with the music is low, mean and heavy with bleak vocals to match. It is a disturbing song with spikes of killer sludge riffs, which packs quite a punch. Though it may take a few listens to understand what the vocals are actually singing about, as they are more of the death-based growl variety. Still a ton of great riffs for you to check out with Golden Gorilla providing a spectacle of loud noise through out their side of the split release.

Golden Gorilla's contribution may only last 17 minutes or so but it is a thrilling encounter, which will leave you shaken to the core. The other two tracks - Paranoia Run and Teeth In The Pocket - carries on the volatile atmosphere with hints of NOLA style riffage being added to give this Split Release an even hard-rocking vibe. Golden Gorilla don't hold back in letting you know how angry they are with the world. For the short time that they are here, they don't waste a single second. Though the last track - Endlosrille - is a more playful and humorous song that only lasts 1:41 mins. To be fair the band could have left this track out, as it doesn't quite match the excellent 3 tracks they have provided here. Other than that, Golden Gorilla should be applauded for unleashing an action-packed and disturbing encounter of intense riffs.

So time for Round 2 and Ghost Of Wem to show the world what they can do. Ghost Of Wem offer two tracks both running for around 10 minutes each. So if you're a fan of slow-paced down-tempo blackened sludge metal then you will be in your element here. Ghost of Wem's first song - (Cut The Head Off) Leave  - is a slow-paced affair with menacing disturbing blackened sludge riffs portraying a nightmarish world with brutal vocals to match. It's a very hard sound to like as Ghost of Wem take no prisoners. This is uncompromising as it gets, where noises are added to provide a more creepy effect. When the band start playing long drawn out riffs with guitar feedback lurking in the background, this turns into a full on exercise of misery where there is no escape from. I should point out that Ghost Of Wem features members from Black Shape Of Nexus so that should tell you about the quality of this band and how bleak the mood will actually become. Though the later stages of the song features highly impressive fast paced riffs that wouldn't go a miss from a post-black metal band.

Ghost Of Wem's 2nd and final track is Control Entity. A 10:40 minute opus that blends Drone, Doom, Sludge and Black Metal for a more experimental feel compared to the previous track. It starts rather slowly before the band add harsh vocals and faster paced riffs for an unsettling and loud experience. The drumming is fantastic as you can feel the drums being put through their paces. The vocals are more of the death/grind variety, which once again may take multiple listens to fully understand the lyrical content. Don't let that put you off as Ghost Of Wem keep you entertained through out especially if you're a fan of bleak and desolate sludge/black metal. It's probably the heaviest and loudest track on the split release and it ends the record on a bleak depressing note. Overall, this is an excellent split-record from two great bands. It may not offer anything groundbreaking but it's a great record to use to discover two excellent bands.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Timon from Mountain Range PR for the promo. Cruel Surprises will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl from Per Koro Records and Meta Matter Records from December 19th 2014

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Golden Gorilla


Ghost Of Wem

RoadKillSoda - Yo No Hablo Ingles (Album Review)

Roadkillsoda - Yo No Hablo Ingles

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 23rd October 2014
Label: Universal Music Romania

Yo No Hablo Ingles – Track Listing

1. As Black As My Lungs
2. What I've Become
3. Greet The Devil With A Grin
4. Wrong
5. Cruel Conscience
6. Old
7. A Ship That Sinks
8. Eyes of Emerald
9. Dead Calm
10. Slept So Long
11. No Time To Die
12. Weight
13. Sky Roads
14. Empty Skies
15. Moonlight Blues
16. Say Hello And Wave Goodbye
17. Ghosts
18. Yo No Hablo Ingles

Bio

RoadkillSoda is the reflection of the 70s American hawk, of the dusty Dodge, ragged T-shirts, tattoos, beards, booze, naked chicks and good vibes. The group started off as a jam session between Mihnea’s guitar and Para’s drums in the winter of 2010-2011, in a cold, dimly-lit room filled with smoke and music blasting through the walls.

And so, the stoner, sludge, psychedelic and rock’n’roll sounds fusion would become RoadkillSoda, a fresh, intense and unconventional project. Vava, Mihnea’s brother form the same mother, promptly took the, often underestimated, role of the bass player, adding a dirty bass sound that does not go unnoticed. As spontaneous as the entire project, the debut EP "A Fucked Up Trip Gone Bad" pops up, basically live recording from the rehearsal room and was released in 2011, via Asiluum label.

In 2012, Sebi joins Mihnea, Para and Vava in their journey. The band consequently assumes, without compromises, its ideal form and color – a metamorphosis fuelled by the sound, atmosphere and by the people on stage and in front of it.

In less than a year, the band wrote, recorded and produced the first official album. “Oven Sun” embodies the experiences of a man who wakes up in the middle of nowhere, bound to wonder and to take in both the good and the bad. From mirages and oasis to the burning sun and the endless desert, the album envisages RoadkillSoda’s metaphor of life. The “happy-end” is depicted through sorrow, despair and bleak scenarios carried out with a mask displaying a caddish grin, an attitude that fittingly sums up “Oven Sun” by one line – “F**k’em with a smile”.

Members

Sebastian Stancu "The Colonel" - vox;
Mihnea Ferezan "Panda Elixir" - gtrs;
Victor "Vava" Ferezan - bass;
Alex Para Ghita "Raptor America" - drums

Review:

Yo No Hablo Ingles” is RoadKillSoda’s sophomore album and it’s presented in not one but two parts, which is no small feat for a band that’s barely three years old. The front cover is graced with a female Dia de los Muertos doll who has seen the wrong side of good and the bad side of up. She’s holding three cards in her hand and sitting back with an air of confidence that she’ll win the pot once the river hits. The front cover is very descriptive of what the next two hours are going to bring, matching the vibe, attitude, and swagger of the songs that RoadKillSoda serve up.

Disc one is a collection of songs that channels a dusty Kyuss vibe laced with a vocal delivery similar to that of Scott Weiland. The songs sound slower than they should be, which helps you lose perspective of time, treating it like a yo-yo. Occasionally you’ll be thrown forward or pulled back, but for the most part you’re being held in a sleeper, waiting in anticipation for that push or pull moment. This slow trudge is driven by a guitar tone that I can only describe as the shades of purple, turquoise, and yellow that have been used in the artwork. In itself, disc one is a solid album from front to back and fits in just fine with the other bands that Europe has to offer in this genre.

I’d be slightly disappointed with this double album if disc two were more the same but luckily that’s not the case. Disc two is the moment that RoadKillSoda uses to break loose from their stoner strut, adding more melody and not being ashamed of experimenting with their grunge influence. There’s still a definite Kyuss feel on songs like “No Time to Die,” but the band is trying to use this as a stepping stone towards something else, something that’s slightly cinematic. A cut like “Sky Roads” is fantastic, as though the band has been contracted to write the soundtrack to a David Lynch movie. It’s catchy yet there’s an ominous feeling that something is off. The next couple of songs continue down this path and then things really take a strange turn with the final track, “Yo No Hablo Ingles.” For ten minutes long RoadKillSoda jams out a Mariachi tune and uses this to tie the album together. It sure is a daring move, and though unexpected, it is the river that our Dia de los Muertos doll was looking for.

Sure, the band wears their influences on their sleeve but the way they mix them together makes for an interesting listen. This music has attitude and swagger, like being able to pull off wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day. They have a little something extra to them and the fact that they’re able to stay focused for a double album is a sign that they’re accomplished musicians. In short, RoadKillSoda rocks.

Words by: Victor van Ommen

Yo No Hablo Ingles is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from here. CD/DD formats are available to buy from all good stockists.

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Generation of Vipers - Coffin Wisdom (Album Review)


Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: 27/10/2014
Label: Translation Loss Records

‘Coffin Wisdom’ CD//DD track listing:

01. Damaged Awake
02. Coffin Wisdom
03. Dark Matter
04. You Deserve This
05. Haunted
06. Stolen Voices
07. Crawling on the Ceiling

Generation of Vipers is:

Joshua Holt | Guitar, Vocals, Percussion
Travis Kammeyer | Bass
B.J. Graves | Drums, Percussion


Review:

Earlier this year I wrote a review for Trap Them regarding their latest album ‘Blissfucker’ in which I recommended that in order to set themselves apart from all of the other d-beat influenced hardcore bands, and in specific, those working in some Stockholm-style death metal influences as well, they might want to focus instead on their more engaging, slower material and make efforts toward finding a new trail separate from the one they’ve already helped blaze. Well, now I’m not sure what the hell they need to do because Generation Of Vipers is pretty damned close to what I had in mind. There isn’t a thrash, blast or d-beat to be found anywhere on this album and it works very strongly in their favor.

What Generation Of Vipers has done on ‘Coffin Wisdom’, their fourth full-length album, is apparently something they’ve been doing for some time now. I feel awful that I’ve only learned about this band with this release as what they’re doing is something that feels new, even if it does borrow from some well-known influences (Neurosis most notably). They definitely still sound like a hardcore band at heart, but they also use enough unique rhythms and guitar ideas that the lines are blurred, and rigid genre tags are confounded in the process.

One of the areas where Generation of Vipers put so many of their peers to shame is in the rhythm section. They feel like a single unit more because the bass often takes its cues from the drums rather than the guitar which it strangely not the case with the majority of metal bands. In an interview with Metal Wani, the reason Generation of Vipers is so strong from a groove standpoint is made clear: they’ve all played drums in this band or another. Every one of them has a strong background in rhythm and percussion.

That rhythm is their sharpest musical weapon is self-evident, but to cite a specific example; all you need to do is listen to the first minute or so of “Stolen Voices” to get the general idea. Bassist Travis Kammeyer and drummer B.J. Graves are so tight they feel like a single entity. While their unshakable groove stomps and decimates, guitarist/vocalist Joshua Holt lets an octaved guitar melody float over the top of it, so as to not get in the footpath of the beast. However, its separation is short-lived and the guitar is quickly assimilated, like Captain Picard into The Borg.

All of this is to say that Generation of Vipers is a band whose name should be on everyone’s lips, assuming you’re a fan of post metal/hardcore/sludge and so on. We’re at a point in heavy metal history where it’s becoming harder and harder to find bands that aren’t easily pigeonholed or labeled as a nostalgia act. Orthodox bands and bands writing love letters to the past have an important role to play; acting as a sort of comfort food for our ears. But, and this is stating the obvious, bands that push things forward, either through genuinely original ideas or through coming up with interesting new style concoctions, are even more vital to heavy music’s continued strength and virility. I’d certainly count Generation of Vipers as being a part of the second group rather than the first, which is nice to be able to say about a band in this genre when you consider that even “post” metal is starting to suffer from a lack of innovation.

Words by: Daniel Jackson


You can pick up a digital copy here and a CD copy here



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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Crypt Trip - Self Titled (Album Review)


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: Out Now
Label: Poisoned Mind Records

‘Crypt Trip’ LP track listing:

1). Mortis Venificis
2). Wraiths
3). Phantasm
4). Mrs. Absinth
5). Rose Croix
6). Spiral Eyes
7). White Lady
8). Datura

The Band:

Ryan Lee | Vocals, Guitar
Sam Bryant | Bass
Mario Rodriguez | Drums

Review: 

This is technically the follow up full length to this Dallas based doom/fuzz crews EP released in October of 2013. It contains three additional tracks written especially for this vinyl release, in addition to the original EP (Rose Croix, Spiral Eyes, and White Lady). The original EP came up on many peoples radar for good reason, strong fuzz heavy and slightly evil sounding doom songs with no bullshit and no wankery, that can sometimes plague newer bands in this genre.

The record starts with “Mortis Venificis” A classical guitar sounding intro acting as a nice set up for the proto doom/heavy occult rock to come. Rolling right into track two “Wraiths”, the first thing that jumps out is the super crunchy distorted bass laying down an ultra catchy rhythm. The song plays out great with a lot of Pentagram influence but not at all derivative, simply a fitting homage.  The band nicely peppers in some psychedelic influence about halfway in and then at three quarters of the way through the wah pedal kicks in, to usher in the end of the first full song on the record.

The next two tracks sort of follow the same pattern, “Phantasm” has a  more frenetic start, with an explosive and live sound to it. Psychedelic, introspective lyrics, not at all Sabbath–y (joking), the song does remind me of Sabbath but I can’t place why, because it does not sound like them until about ¾ of the way in. The song briefly changes pace with a weird Melvins/Sabbath mix. And I’m in!!  “Mrs. Absinth” follows the same sort of formula, but this time its fuzz fuzz fuzz! I really liked the vocal approach on this one, less effects on the vocals and different flow.

“Rose Croix” is the first truly new song we get and it is straight up psychedelic heavy rock, a  dark eerie and slow intro right into an echo and fuzz laden psyche freakout guitar solo. Great change of pace and demonstration of style, the lack of vocals on this song kind of make it feel like a separate intro to the second half of the album which works well for the vinyl version of the record.  “Spiral Eyes” brings us back to meat and potatoes heavy fuzz rock with psychedelic touches, indeed this is what Crypt Trip does exceptionally well and then ¾ in, a much heavier and faster passage. I really dig this change of pace within the song especially the heavy beat to rapid fire march closing out the track.

“White Lady” is a very psychedelic doom song, haunted lyrics into pure rock and roll, finishing up with an organ driven outro (I’m an absolute sucker for well placed organ work). “Datura” is the outro of the record with sounds of rain falling and church sounding organs.  For me a better use of the track would be as an add-on to the end of “White Lady” instead of a stand alone, but it works well nonetheless.

Overall impressions of Crypt Trip’s full length debut are very positive, I love bands doing this style, but in their own way, with their own elements. I know these guys consider themselves a heavy fuzz doom band, but a lot of the songs are very psych heavy with introspective lyrics, making me not want to pigeonhole them as another run of the mill doom band.

The singer and presumably lyricist has a great knack for story telling that fits great into the body of the song and the overall output of the band making it come across as not so much doom, but heavy fuzzed out psychedelic rock, which is awesome as hell. Crypt Trip is only a little over a year old at this point and they definitely have a clear and concise idea of what they are doing and what they want. My only critique is the band tends to be somewhat formulaic with a change of pace ¾ of the way in every song. It could help the flow of future recordings by structuring the songs different. BUT overall this is a solid record making me very much look forward to the future of this trio.

The full length is out now on the bands bandcamp site and for a minimum of 6 dollars U.S., so go out and pick it up already, you will not be disappointed!

Words by:  David Heaton

You can still pick up a copy of the vinyl here

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Live Review: Black Wolf / The Vintage Caravan / Blues Pills. Manchester Academy 3. 12/11/2014



Entering any venue to hear the glorious tones of Warren Zevon being played is a joy; knowing that you have some of the most exciting young bands around to see as well, just adds to the growing atmosphere at Manchester Academy 3. A mixed clientele of younger rock fans yearning for the seventies and those elder statesman looking for a flash of their glorious heyday's, steadily filled the room as the crowd awaited the arrival of the first band; Black Wolf.

Immediately the tone was set by the band, as the five piece band noodled into their opening number. The band found their stride early doors as they channelled the spirit of some of the best classic rock bands of yesteryear (think Free / Bad Co / Lynyrd Skynyrd). The track was met rapturously and the band continued to plough through a plethora of groove laden traditional rock tracks with excellent energy. During 'Relief' the band worked the crowd very well with pulsing tempos and stellar work on the crowd participation front.

As a warm up act; brilliant!

Again, Manchester was representing themselves well with an almost full room for the first band on a three band bill. It's always good to see and makes the atmosphere that little bit better.

The Vintage Caravan are a band that fellow Sludgelord writer, Phil Weller, had informed me about before. Their spot on the bill was my first foray with the band. For the 45 minutes or so they had been allotted they exuded energy and played the lion share of their 2014 release; ‘Voyage’. Mixing driving rhythms with progressive passages and some superb soloing, the amount of beer glasses being raised as the set progressed, grew and grew. Their energetic and emotive performance was up tempo and blistering as the crowd swelled further, ready for the main act of the night.

Blues Pills took the stage in low key fashion, ripping immediately into ‘High Class Woman’ from their debut album. It’s chugging bass line powered the track into an early extended jam which set the tone for the evening. Such is the prowess of the band; they have the ability to take their already masterful compositions in directions they fancy. The band delivered a large portion of their excellent debut album throughout the set, along with a great cover of Tony Joe White’s ‘Elements & Things’. As well as a great cover version, another highlight of the set included Elin Larsson tearing the roof off the venue with an impassioned and soaring vocal on ‘Devil Man’. Its howling introduction and Sabbath style riff was riotous and joyous in equal measure. The band returned to close out their set with a lengthy version of ‘Black Smoke’; another devilishly good helping from the bands debut album. Guitarist Dorrian Sorriaux showed his astounding ability throughout the evenings set, however ‘Black Smoke’ gave him a platform to show the tender side of his playing, as well as the pure fire he can create.

All three bands on the bill for this tour still have plenty to prove, and will continue to progress. Black Wolf sounded tight and proved to be an astute opening act. Nuclear Blast has two great hopes on their roster in the form of The Vintage Caravan and Blues Pills. It was a privilege to witness all the bands’ performances in the cosy surroundings of Manchester Academy 3.

Words by: Dominic Walsh