Category Archives: Interviews & Features

Death Ignloria: ‘we are exploring the inglorious ways which humanity will reach its death’

The concept-based rock/metal band Death Ingloria are currently out on tour with the brilliant Ward XVI. That’s how I discovered them (and check out the review of the show we went to here) and loved them. The bands sole member was kind enough to sit down between touring to talk to us about their sound, writing in their style and their future. Check it out in video or written form below!

How would you describe your sound?

It’s a mix of different genres, for sure. I like a lot of punk and riffs. There’s not a lot of solos in Death Ingloria songs mostly because I never bothered to learn any. I’m not a noodler, I’m more like the Rammstein ‘lets play a good riff’ kinda idea. There’s a little bit of prog… I guess it’s heavy rock/light metal. It’s a bit poppy and a bit proggy at the same time.

How’s the tour going with Ward XVI?

It’s been good, really good fun! Ward XVI are a unique bunch of lunatics, that’s for sure. They’ve been super kind to us by taking us under their wing because we’re a small band compared to the mighty juggernaut that is Ward XVI. It’s been really fun. The first two shows for me were very stressful, just trying to get the band together and stuff. Death Ingloria is essentially a one human project, the guys I have on stage with me are session players. As much as I’d love them to be in the band with me they all have their own projects.

I had been touring the whole thing by myself for four years before lockdown happened. The band is really new on this tour. We did the album launch with a band but having a touring band is new to this Ward tour. So the first leg was getting all the gremlins out of the system and then the second leg was a lot better. This third leg is going to slot together really well. Between all of our props and lights and all of Ward’s props and lights there’s an awful lot of props and lights! It’s a full theatre stage show by two bands. It’s interesting having these two bands with very narrative driven rock! They’re the perfect headliner for us, I think it’s a really good match between our story and their story.

So what inspires the storylines when you’re writing?

The two albums are complete sci-fi stories from start to finish. I kill off humanity completely in every story, not one human stays alive at the end. So, we are exploring the inglorious ways which humanity will reach its death.

What inspired that was I’d been trying to start a band for the guts of 20 years, trying to find people to write and play with. After the last incarnation of my band fell apart decided to do it alone. So I knew that the things people really want is some kind of stage show and I think that to some people having a girl singing and playing guitar is a high feature. I thought I could do those things myself, I just needed something on stage with me for that first part. I thought let’s get some animations, why don’t we do a comic book and have a story.

Within an hour of thinking about it I’d decided every album would have a comic, I’d animate those comics into music videos and every gig we’ll tell the story of one of the comics. We do mix and match the songs between the comics but on this tour we are telling the second comic story.

That was the easiest way for me to fill a stage with all the stuff that I wanted to do. I built this custom round projection screen which can change size depending on what size of stage we’re on. I sewed that together, I basically invented it! Well, I borrowed somebody else’s idea and made it work better for me. I think it’s the only one in the world.

What inspired you to be more of a concept artist?

I’m actually kind of a… comic book stock child. When I was a kid my mum used to write for 2000AD, she wrote for Judge Dredd and at one point had two different series running at the same time. We used to go to comic-cons! So when it came to the idea of how I’m going to tell the story, comics came most easily to me. I didn’t know anything about videography then, I’ve managed to learn about that and streaming over lockdown but before that I’d have had to employ a lot of freelancers to get any live action stories. And when I deviate from the mission statement everything gets hard and expensive and I get miserable so I’m very much like ‘we make music, comic books, animate them into videos and then project those videos on stage’.

I’m actually going to make sure we go into space for our next story. We’re a sci-fi based project so if we’re not in space then it kinda brings us back down to normality. So the first story is based in space while the the second one is in the near future.

Are so you said you’re working on new material, how’s it going?

Death Ingloria only released this second album in August, it’s not even a year old, so that’ll be touring until well into next year. I’m six demos down onto the new album and I would like this new one to be a full album, so going for 12 tracks. And I’d like it to be more of a graphic novel rather than a comic.

I’d like to really explore the theatre aspect of it more too. We have a voice actor involved in the second one who does all the animation voices for us but we originally had an idea of having a projection mapped theatre production where the actor would be on stage and I’d be playing around him. For this third one we might go into a bit more of that side of things, but it’s hard if you’re touring small venues. I originally thought you couldn’t bring a theatre production into a small venue and then we toured with Ward XVI! But I think it’ll be written more like… not musical theatre or a rock opera, but a modern metal band that does a lot of animation.

What would you say the state of the music industry is like currently?

I am in no place to tell people, I don’t know. I sit in this room in my little lab and I come out to play shows when people ask me to. I don’t know, is the answer. We’ve shaken the trees essentially and anyone who’s not in it for the long haul has fallen out I guess. And then a whole new lot of blood has come in. I also work at Brixton and Shepherds Bush down in London and audiences just aren’t showing up if a show has been rescheduled to a new date. And people aren’t buying in advance. But people are turning up. There’s been a couple of times when tickets sales have been bad but then the room is quite full. But whether that’s good or bad or indifferent, I don’t know.

And there we have it. Check out Death Ingloria ‘s music and try to get down to one of their shows ASAP, it’s definitely worth it!

The Skyline Lights: An Ambitious Project In a Tetralogy of Them!

When talking to Daniel Sherrill, my contact from the Chicagoland area special events planning team, he had this to say about the inspiration for Skyline Lights :

What inspired this particular release was us wanting to put together a perfect set of songs that the listener would have on their Mp3 player during an evening walk in the city of Chicago after being dropped off by the Metra train. The train I take from Elburn, IL to Chicago drops you off at the Ogilvie Transportation Center which is located right in the heart of “The Loop” area which is the most photogenic part of the city at night. It’s the most calming thing to being foot exploring all of the skyscrapers when they’re lit up at night. You get the full effect out of it on a walk with the right music to lead the way. That’s where the title came from and inspiration. Spring is the season coming up here where I’m having those exact same walks. Now I have a designated playlist for the occasion.

The album itself is a massively impressive feat. 145 tracks of country, pop, rock and symphonic metal performed by some of the best female artists around today. Now, that’s a long walk, I have to say. So, unfortunately, I cannot do a written review of all of the tracks. I do, however, have some plans for more features on this soon. In the meantime, I have a review of the first 20 tracks on the album, as well as a few more words from Daniel!

After a brief monologue intro from Jillian Jade Kallenbach, we launch into the title track, sung by Ariel Ryder. It’s a pop track so obviously not what we typically cover here, but I really enjoyed it. It was simple, just a slow piano, simple drums and some fantastic, multi-tracked vocals. The emotion is palpable already, something I feel will be a feature throughout the album. Ariel is one hell of a vocalist and gets to show it off perfectly here.

Shirley Tracanna, front-woman of Czech symphonic metal band Wishmasters, does a fantastic piano cover of Lady gaga’s ‘Million Reasons’. It was beautiful and such a showcase of Shirley’s talent, especially when it’s quite a different sound than her usual work. Moa Lignell also does a fantastic cover, this time of Dire Straits’ ‘Why Worry’. Both tracks are fairly similar in terms of composition, with this one too being a beautiful piano ballad.

When diving further in-depth about the project, Daniel said:

This is the fourth such compilation we’ve released and each one features a larger cast than the one previous. “The Skyline Lights” was meant to be the finale of the four albums so extra care was taken to bring a memorable group of artists together this time to create something special and to have a carefully planned release day that everyone could be involved in and share with their fans. I was very pleased with how it turned out.

There’s a good mix of Country artists and female fronted Symphonic rock musicians. Usually the two genres are never on the same releases but here everyone’s songs blend in well.

Next up Freakstorm bring a country-rock feel to proceedings with their acoustic track, ‘Out of the Door’. It’s definitely the closest track to ‘my thing’ so far, and again it’s so well done. Brimming with emotion, it’s insane that people can get such feeling out of vocals and an acoustic guitar. The storyline through the tracks so far has been fantastic too, setting the scene beautifully.

The album returns to the piano ballads with Demetra Dokos’ beautiful track. Then we finally start getting a few ensemble pieces. While still heavily piano-led, German symphonic metal band Xiphea adds some beautiful strings over the top as well as some distorted guitar for the choruses. It’s a metal ballad through and through and wouldn’t sound out of place on the latest Epica album, it’s that good.

Then you have tracks like ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Big Bang Drums’ that add an almost folk-rock style to their symphonic metal base. Heck, the latter in particular, from Mireya Derksen, feels like it draws together that many genres of music, from rock to metal to folk to electro-pop. It reminds me a lot of The Fifth Element. I would take that as a compliment because what a soundtrack that movie had. This is a personal favourite track of mine, but so far all have been fantastic.

‘Hammer of Thor’ is somehow a folk-pop track, a sub-genre I didn’t know I needed so much of in my life. Oda Gondrosen does a fantastic job on this track, and it honestly wouldn’t sound out of place in Vikings or The Hobbit.

Our theatre group/events planning team had been away from doing live events for two years during the pandemic and this series of streaming compilations was a good way to keep active and to engage our usual fans in the absence of live events. We’d been a consistent live event group since 2008 and now that the majority of our state is back to normal we will be directing and collaborating on a series of brand new events with the group members from the Chicago area.

‘A fifth compilation is set for late July to reunite the international group of artists from “The Skyline Lights” and for those who can’t geographically be part of the new events.

Erika Johnston Miner has the unenviable task of covering Brian Adams’ classic ‘Heaven’. It’s fitting emotionally, but I do have to admit I prefer the original. It just doesn’t quite have the same power behind it as Adams’ version.

The Soap Girls arrive a little later on to bring some much needed variety to the tracks, adding their own level of punk to it all. However, having said that, it still maintains the same atmosphere and darkness as all the other tracks on the album so far. It’s truly impressive that they have managed to get so many styles into one album while still keeping the same feeling throughout. 18 tracks in and it’s still interesting and flowing well.

Our good friend Jehanna brings her Ancient Waters project to the proceedings with her awesome track, Måneskinsskygge. We already have a review of the album up which features this song, which you can find here. It fits in with this album just as well as her own, too.

The project isn’t just about the recording, either. Daniel and his colleagues are planning a massive three night show across various different venues in Chicago. ‘In the 80s when a movie was too long for one night on regular television they would promote it as a “three part miniseries” at least here in the states like Ben Hur… Sound of Music.. Jesus of Nazareth” all the long two vhs tape movies… like Titanic.

‘So that’s our vibe for the new tour. A three part miniseries. Where the audience comes to all three shows to be in in the running storyline.’

You can check out the rest of the album and also donate to the cause here. And, as usual, if you enjoyed our content, drop is a follow on Instagram here.

Ward XVI, Death Ingloria and Flirting with Corpses at the Sal!

A fantastic night of gothic rock descended upon Nottingham’s oldest pub last Friday night. Three great bands from all of the country put on one hell of a show, and we were lucky enough to head down to review and interview!

First up were the local support band, Flirting with Corpses. Their unique blend of doom and more gothic sounds made them an interesting band right from the get go. The band also had their image down perfectly, between the face-paint and the gothic clothing they definitely looked the part! Their music is great and the band make it sound good live. They can definitely play. The only slight disadvantage they had were that they were alongside two bands that consider the show to be just as important as the playing. Between them just getting up there and playing and the slight technical difficulties, they didn’t stand out as much as the other two bands.

Next up were the theatric rock band, Death Ingloria. This is a band that knows exactly what style and brand they want to put out for themselves. Their entire image, from the way they dressed and the way their music sounded, to their merch and even their videos onstage, it all meshed perfectly. And their music is fantastic, which is a big plus. Their last two EPs have been consecutive concepts about an impending extinction of humanity. The weight of the topic and message is not lost live either, with anime-style videos being played in the background throughout their set, and even voiceovers recorded for in between. The art of the stage show is something truly missing in the rock world these days, but not with bands like this!

Then we reached the headliners, Ward XVI. I was familiar with the band after a fantastic set at Hard Rock Hell last year, and yet they somehow managed to top that again here. Again, they put on one hell of a show, as was to be expected, with plenty of props to help them tell the story of their Metamorphosis album. Between their outfits, the bed on stage, and the actors they had come on and through the crowd in various different outfits, it was a set to behold.

They played an incredible set of crowd favourite songs to a white-hot mob of people. And they closed on crowd favourite (and my personal favourite too), Toy Box. How reggae-goth-metal exists I don’t know but we need so much more of it in the world! The band are on the cusp of MASSIVE things, and I for one cannot wait to see what the band do with a bigger fanbase and a bigger stage to perform on.

We even had the opportunity after their set to sit down with the band for a quick chat, which you can read or watch below!

Check out our review of their HRH set here.

So Firstly, how was the gig?

Amazing! Really really good. Very warm! Yeah, very warm, very small! The atmosphere was there. If I was to give Nottingham a rating it would be a 10/10.

Did you guys always plan on being so theatrical or did it come with the songs?

I’d (Psychoberrie) always wanted to but it was always something that was only really me that wanted to do it in the beginning. Then we had a few line-up changes and the perspective changed…

She sacked everybody that didn’t want to do it! We’re just the idiots that put up with it!

It evolved, especially when we were touring with the first album, we started to bolt on different theatrical elements to the show. But it was still more like a gimmick per song so it didn’t really tie the whole concept of the album together. Then when we wrote this album we consciously wrote the stage show along with it. Then it still evolved a little bit! I think the vision was there and it’s probably a little bigger than we anticipated! The first gig back that we did after we launched the album was Bloodstock, so we built the stage show for the scale of Bloodstock and then we had to try and find a way to fit it onto smaller stages.

We also have the fun of trying to rehearse it in a living room and then getting onto the Bloodstock stage and thinking ‘I’ll come on at this bit’ and then realising oh no, the whole stage is about thirty paces long so we had to sprint it. There’s one point where I came off the wrong side of the stage and I just had to run the length of the backstage, Gail was sat in a wheelchair and my vocals were just about to start so I just ran on with her in this wheelchair. Then I realised I had to start singing and just let go, she just kept rolling! We just sent her into David’s pedals!

Do you guys prefer to write the song first and then come up with a cool stage show idea or vice versa?

We come up with concept of the album and then while we’re building the songs we’re thinking about the stage show so we can add in elements as we go.

Yeah, it’s trying to find elements of narrative to build into it. You’ve got the concept and the storyline and the music and you go ‘okay what are the beats of the song and what can we do theatrically without taking away from the music’. We did a lot of planning for it while we were shielding.

That’s the line you have to walk. You don’t want to make it a rock show with a few little theatrical bits, but you also don’t want to make it where it’s just theatrics and the musicians are practically non-existent, it’s trying to get that level.

How’s the re-launch of the album been?

It’s weird because we were all hyped up to do it. I think for the people watching it’s still kinda new to them but to us it’s become old. When we first came out with it for me it was hard to be as enthusiastic as if we’d just done it straight away.

We were meant to have done the launch gig a couple of months after and I think if we’d have done it then we would have rushed it. We’d have rushed the props and it would have been a lot smaller scale, I don’t think we’d have been as ambitious. So I think from a perspective of the scale and how we did it, it was a benefit, having all that time. What was a shock is how much effort it became to move things from gig to gig. In the past we could get away with putting stuff in the car, now it’s a big van in the car! We went from quite small to HUGE. It’s been a bitt of a baptism by fire. Tonight was one of the first times I’ve really closed my eyes and enjoyed it on stage.

It takes a while though. When you first start gigging it in you’re head, you’re singing the song but thinking ‘that props over there, I’ve got to be over there during this bit…’, but after a while it just becomes natural.

There’s always slight tweaks you have to make with each venue, going ‘right, how are we going to be able to tweak this to fit in here’. It’d just be nice not to walk into a venue and look at the stage and go ‘for god sake’.

Are you guys planning another album already?

We’ve started putting bits together, musically. We’ve got the concept in place. It’s going to be a trilogy, and the first two albums are there. And in September it would have been two years. After this tour we have a couple of festivals but then we’re not going to do any more gigs so we can get the album done. Then hopefully that’ll tie into being able to gig it at the time of release. That’d be nice! The aim is to hopefully go into the studio early next year and record it, then late next year release it.

As a dream tour, any ideas?

If anyone knows anyone in Alice Coopers camp, we would very much like for him to come and open for us, if he can fit us in!

Ward XVI, Ghost, Avatar.

Igorrr and Tool!

And there we have it folks! Three awesome bands and one great night of rock music. I would highly recommend checking out all three of these bands and seeing them live ASAP. All are going to be huge very soon!

Marco Mendoza: ‘after the album comes out it’s going to go to the next level!’

The amazing, talented and very busy Marco Mendoza took the time to sit down with us for a quick interview this week. We talked about his upcoming UK solo tour, getting his band together and a few other projects he’s working on too. Watch/read below!

What made you want to bring back your solo stuff?

I always say there’s no regrets. I’m very happy with my career, with all the other projects I’ve been privileged to be a part of. But if I could change anything it would be to pay attention to my solo thing a little more. I love it and I dig it and the response has been absolutely over the top!

I’ve been a busy guy so eventually no matter how busy you get there’s down time. And I’m one of those guys not to wait around too long, I love what I do. So I’m always looking to put things together if there’s nothing cooking. I always had an outlet to stretch out as a bassist and as a singer, improvisational stuff and even what’s considered jazz funk, just to keep learning and challenge yourself.

That first album I did, ‘Live for Tomorrow’ came out the time I was working with Whitesnake. I’d get off the tour and go with Thin Lizzy and Ted Nugent for quite a while. And there was some time off and Frontier approached me and the chance came up so we got into the studio. To my surprise the response was good! We didn’t support it though, that was a big mistake on my behalf. But I was busy touring with all the other stuff. I did some dates to support the album, but that was like two years after.

Then the next album the same thing happened, I was juggling a bunch of projects and I had an opening so we got it together and released it and again I didn’t support it. It came out and then it disappeared.

This last album I was really busy with the Dead Daisies and thee was an opening. I went to Copenhagen and started writing with my buddy and before you know it we had the album, ‘Viva La Rock’. For some reason when it got released the writeups were really good and really encouraging and so I decided, back in ’19, I had some time. So of course when you do that the response couldn’t be better because you’re representing the album live. I got on the radar so I got invited to do a lot of stuff in Europe for ’20, and then we know what happened. So managed to do a bit in November last year but we’re pretty much picking up the pieces.

And also what else got postponed was the release of my next album which is finally going to get released this year. We’re aiming for August/September, but the first single is coming out April 13th, so I’m excited! There seemed to be a buzz out there when I announced the dates in the UK.

Marco’s Official Facebook

So, how did the line-up for the tour come about?

I got really lucky that I hooked up with Tommy Gentry who’s gig is GUN, through Kyle Hughes. So it’s just one of those things, word of mouth and then we get introduced and then they send me videos so I can check out what they’re doing. Kyle did some stuff with Bumblefoot (GNR) and I love his playing and I love his heart and who he is as a person. He’s a young lad but he plays with fire. He’s hungry, sings great and he really pays attention to what my vision is on stage. As a bass player drummers are very important to me.

And then Tommy just kills it as a guitar player and as a human being. We all get along really well. Unfortunately they’re talented folks so they get pulled away to other commitments so I’m happy and lucky to have them on the UK dates.

I’m juggling stuff right now so people can come in and out because the reality is my solo project, as much as I hate to admit it, is still in its infancy. I’m still trying to build something. I think after this year, after the album comes out and everything lines up and we do well on the live shows it’s going to go to the next level.

How do you approach a tour with your solo project in contrast to touring with the bigger bands you work with?

It feels very different! It’s a lot of responsibility. Fronting the band and being the singer and also standing behind your own music, but like I said I do it because I love it. After so many years I love the whole dynamics of writing a song and putting it out there and people digging it and people wherever you are on the planet love it and they learn the lyrics and they sing the song, there’s nothing like that.

The other thing is that I have a little more control over what happens on stage and how we deliver the shows and the message… I always insist on carrying some sort of positive message, something that’s uplifting and proactive. Something that’s very optimistic with what’s going on right now on the planet. It’s very important that you’re there for your audience and be able to escape for a few hours and get away from the everyday living. Sometimes it gets heavy.

That’s the other thing that’s very rewarding to me, I always insist on doing meet and greets and when people come round and say ‘Marco, thanks for coming here, I’ve been struggling and you put a smile on my face, I’m going to go out there and make a difference’, it’s like, WOW. Beyond all the business and all the stuff that comes along with being a musician that’s the rewarding stuff that really stays with you and it fuels you to keep going. It’s very cool.

Also the other side, when you’re part of a collaborative situation there’s always a boss and a big team so everything’s handled. I just show up, they hand me the bass and I play. While here you’re pretty much at ground level and doing anything and everything you can to put it together. A little responsibility but I’m up for it! When you love something so much you can’t stop!

Wanna read/watch more of our interviews? Check them out here.

So obviously you’re mainly here to talk about your solo project, but is there anything you can tell me about another venture of yours, Iconic?

That seems to be getting a lot of buzz! That project got together originally… Joel Hoekstra and Nathan James and Michael Sweet all work for Frontier so we all had that in common. I got a call from them during the pandemic, I think, at the end of ’20, when we finally realised that the world wasnt going to open for a while. They were putting projects together because they realised there was a lot of musicians just hanging out.

So they approached me and said they’re doing this thing with these guys and would you consider being the bass player, and I said absolutely. These are all cats that are at the top of their games, great players. I knew Joel and Nathan and I’d met Michael here and there. So they called me and said the guys would love to have you but we don’t have a drummer, who would you like to call? I thought of a few cats but everyone seemed to be tied up doing other things except Tommy, who was busy but seemed very interested.

So it’s a cool bunch of cats, big profiles, big resumes, the credits are amazing. And the music is very good. We got together here in LA not too long ago to shoot some videos to release. I gotta say that the energy in the room and how we all got along is that at the end of the day it’s all about the music. And the songs are amazing.

There’s nothing more I can say other than stay tuned. Hopefully if things line up we can get a tour scheduled. It’s a great band, it’s going to go out there and kill!

What would you make of the state of the music industry right now?

I’ve seen it suffer so much. It’s such a long conversation but let’s just say that the music industry, general speaking, we took the biggest hit during the pandemic. This is how we live, it’s our livelihood. And in the bigger picture you have a lot of staff and people behind the scenes that really got hit hard. The strongest survive and come out the other side with a little bit of struggle, and it’s good to see that it’s starting to pick up. There’s a lot of hope in the air.

It’s getting better but I don’t know what’s going to happen the next couple of years. The recording side of it has come down, it got so beat up when the technology kicked in. But I’m not going to stop, as long as I have the energy to do it I will. And there’s a lot of us around that love what we do. And the fans which is another big factor, supporting the local venues and bands, it all triggers that knock on effect. We’ll see what the next couple of months bring and the end of the year and hopefully 2023 will go back to ‘as normal as we can be’. We’re getting back to working again, which is all I can say. I always say always prepare for the worse and pray for the best!

Ancient Waters: Cølestine and Interview!

We thought we’d try and do something a bit different this time. Ancient Waters was released back in December and we have been speaking to Jehanna about an interview for a while, so we thought we’d combine it together into one big feature to give you a good idea of what she is about!

How would you describe your sound?

‘I like to describe it as Bluegaze since it’s like the water, which can be calm but also wild. I think it’s a mix of Symphonic Metal and Blackgaze, with some rock, some folk elements and classical music.

Check out our interview with Bastette here.

As somewhat confusing as ‘Bluegaze’ could be, it is actually a very fitting description. Opening track ‘Rán’ is definitely symphonic rock/metal, and it does flow back and forth between the harder stuff and a softer sound. The harmonies in the choruses are a highlight, as is the bridge riff which somehow reminds me of both Black Sabbath and Madness, what a pairing! Jehanna’s vocals are impressive too, soaring high and fitting the music perfectly. My only issue, and it will probably be with the album as a whole, is that it isn’t terribly well mixed. It may just be my laptop speakers finally giving up on me, but the instrumentation didn’t quite pack the punch I was hoping for.

‘Nøkkens Svig’ even fittingly opens on the sound of bubbling liquid, an almost ominous, creepy piano melody over the top. The rest of the instruments join in and make it heavy (though again I wish they were louder), before dropping out and making the verse feel slower and quieter, adding to the menacing atmosphere. In fact, the whole track is slower than the previous one, giving it a much more epic feel to it. It’s a great track!

The above track ‘Ice & Wind’, picks up the pace again, this one almost having a Norse feel to it! The vocal harmonies are again a massive plus, and the melody for the vocals itself is heavily rooted in folk. The blend of styles here is really interesting and sounds great. Also, the drums stood out a lot in this track, but they have been solid and enjoyable throughout so far. This one makes the playlist, awesome stuff!

How was it making the album, given that you made it on your own?

It was definitely challenging me as a musician, since I started to learn to play the guitar and even the bass, for I didn’t have the musicians at hand. Luckily, my former guitar player helped me on the guitars. I also had to program the drums, which was the most nerve-wrecking part and no fun at all. But I liked how this showed me how much I am able to do all by myself. It builds more trust in you as a person and in your skills.

Is there a particular theme or story throughout the album, or is it more on an individual track basis?

It’s actually a chapter of my life which was filled with new experiences. All songs came to me in dreams, so I wasn’t writing them consciously.’

Speaking of dreams, ‘Sailor’s Tears’ opens on a beautiful string soundscape that does sound almost ethereal. It also builds perfectly, adding a simple drum fading in and out behind Jehanna’s powerful vocals. The distorted guitars and synths build in after time as the drums pick up, adding some great dynamics to the track. In fact, this song goes up and down beautifully throughout, it has some great quiet bits as well as the heavy stuff. With the right production, this could have been a MASSIVE single. Still the sound is growing on me, and it doesn’t hamper my enjoyment of the song too much!

Do you plan on getting a band together to play some shows and tour it? 

This is definitely something I want for Ancient Waters. I hope that when the Covid-situation is better and there is someone to give the musicians and me the opportunity to play, the first tour will happen. Of course it’s not that easy for me as a one-woman-band, for someone needs to pay the other musicians, but I’ll make it happen in one way or the other.

‘Boreas’ is another slow starter, a simple piano melody backed up with some ‘ooo’s. The lyrics soon come in over the top, again fitting the tone perfectly. It has even heavier folk vibes than before. Especially since it doesn’t actually get heavy at all. There are no guitars at all in this, just piano, vocals, strings and the same singular drum throughout. It’s a really enjoyable track, and one I could easily hear on a movie soundtrack, it’s that epic. Playlisted!

Where would be the dream place or venue for you to play at?

I think at any beach in the world with the sound of waves in the background.

Even though you have only just released an album, are you already planning and writing for a second?

‘Yes! The 2nd album is already written and the demos are recorded. Last week I finished most of the artwork and soon I’ll start to record it. This one is a bit heavier, for the melodies mostly came to me while sitting there with a guitar. I wrote it when Covid was at its core and we were in lockdown. There were many dark thoughts and dreams and this album expresses that.’

The rest of the album is equally as great as the first half of it, epic soundscapes of symphonic folk rock. ‘Havets Datter’ is another highlight, a nearly eight-minute epic of a track. But overall there isn’t a bad track on the album, it’s thoroughly enjoyable!

Score: 7/10

If you could collaborate with one artist or band, who would it be? 

Tomi Joutsen from Amorphis. I even asked him already do to some growling on the 2nd album but he didn’t reply. So like always, I tried, haha.’

And finally, we asked her if she had anything to plug and the answer was a very fitting sign off for this article…

‘Yeah, go listen to the new album “Cølestine”, give it some love, purchase the CD… It’ll give you some escapism if you’re in a dark place right now.’

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Simon McBride: This is my evolution

Photo courtesy of Franz Schepers.

After the success of Hard Rock Hell’s ABC Weekender, Simon McBride is back with an explosive 13 date tour of his own in 2022 covering the UK and Ireland and a brand new album released on the 11th March.

Simon McBride tour

The northern Ireland guitarist has played for Ian Gillan from Deep Purple and played guitarist/co-wrote on Don Airey’s albums as well as toured with Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa and Grammy nominee Derek Trucks.

Simon enthuses about the tour, “I can’t wait! After such a long time off, I’m ready and all fired up to perform again doing the one thing I love. It’s going to be great to be back on the road again with two great musicians and my good friends, Dave Marks and Marty McCloskey…these two are an unstoppable force of nature when it comes to delivering a show. Get ready for the fireworks!”

What inspired your latest single, ‘The Fighter’? Was it inspired by the pandemic at all?

“To be honest that song was written before the pandemic. That song is really about having a goal in life and never giving up till you get there. Never stop fighting, keep believing in what it is you want to do in life and never give up and that’s really what it is. 

“It’s kind of like a little inside to my whole life. I never stopped fighting and never stopped searching for that ultimate end, whatever that is. I suppose from my point of view it’s just being in the music industry and keep getting more and more successful. That’s my goal. I say to people that I’ve been in this industry for say what, 30 years or a bit less? I was only a kid when I started, I was like 13. And I only signed to a major record label 4 years ago you know after 26, 27 years. It took me 26, 27 years to get there. Some people give up after 5. You’ve got to keep fighting for what you believe in and what you want to do you know. From my point of view, I’m just thinking that this is what I do and I don’t know how to do anything else. It doesn’t matter what I have to do, I’ll do it. So that’s primarily what it’s about. 

“I understand people are writing songs about the pandemic and stuff but I didn’t really want to do that. Not to belittle anybody else, but I always found that a little bit cheesy. There’s a lot more to life than talking about covid. It’s a bad memory and for a lot of people it’s something they’ll want to forget. Hopefully we’re on the right track to getting there.”

‘The Fighter’ has a slightly heavier sound compared to your previous singles and album – leaning more towards hard rock riffs than bluesy rock. Is that something you’re building on with your upcoming album?

“I’m at the age in my life and stage in my career where I just say to myself I’m going to play what I want to play and that’s it. Years ago when I first started with the guitar scene in England, the blues rock scene was the scene to be on because of the likes of Bonomassa. I don’t class myself as a blues artist or a blues rock artist. I’m an 80s child so I grew up in the 80’s hard rock, hair metal and all that stuff so that’s me through and through. That’s what I still listen to. The likes of ‘The Fighter’ they are a lot more hard rock than anything. I’m just playing what I want to play. 

“There always will be an element of blues no matter what you play in a rock sense because rock basically comes from blues anyway. You think early Led Zeppelin, they’re just basically you know alterations of old blues guitar riffs. Everything evolves into something so this is my evolution. I do like playing other stuff but rock, hard rock is probably my home. And plus everybody else that I’ve played with, Ian Gillan or Snakecharmer, it’s all hard rock. 

“People put people in categories of blues rock or rock blues. I did see that once, blues rock and rock blues, and I thought, ‘what’s the difference?’ I like the days when it was just rock, pop, classical, jazz, blues. Done! People put a title around me and I think that’s fine, whatever! People can listen to my music and make their own determination on what it is to them. Hard rock is what I do and probably what I know the best.”

Simon McBride

The last album you released was in 2012. After a gap, you released a string of singles in 2019 and 2020, followed by this upcoming album. What happened during your time away and why have you decided to release an album now?

“The funny thing is, people think that I haven’t been around because I haven’t been releasing my own stuff which is kind of true but there’s been a lot of things happening. I’ve done three albums with Ian Gillan, I’ve done three albums with Don Airey, one album with Snakechamer – so seven albums, I have done stuff! It’s just not Simon McBride at the front. I had a family and kids. I’ve been busy doing stuff. 

“This album was ready to go three years ago, so I wrote these songs four or five years ago, but then covid hit so we had to pull the reins. We had a chat about it and I talked about the idea of releasing it over lockdown and basically they said ‘you might as well drive down the road and throw it out the window.’ The only way to promote an album these days is to tour and if the tour’s not there then what’s the point. There’s a lot of people worse off than me within the music industry. I’ve been fortunate enough, I have my own line which keeps me busy so I do that a lot of the time and now with touring coming back hopefully things will be busier than ever.”

Are there any venues you’re looking forward to playing again on your tour this March are are they all new venues for you?

“I think I’ve played maybe one or two of the venues before. There’s not really one jumping out at me thinking ‘I can’t wait to play at that place’ because I’ve no clue what they’re going to be like so it’s always a new experience. I think over the years because I haven’t really done a UK tour in three years, I think some of the venues have fell by the wayside a little bit during the pandemic and stuff like that. But I like trying new places and new venues. I’m excited to play them all.”

You can see Simon McBride on his UK and Ireland 2022 tour this February and March.

Dead Romantic: ‘Nothing beats a live show!’

alt metal(?) band Dead Romantic have been gathering a lot of momentum over the last year or so, even with limited shows and a delayed album release. However, with a huge UK headlining tour planned for February and the album still very much on the horizon, they are going to be a massive breakout band of 2022. Before the band manage to hit the road, we got the chance to sit down with frontman Dan about their upcoming plans and much more!

So you guys put out your debut album earlier this year, right?

Well, to be honest everyone thinks that the album is out but the album’s not out yet! We’ve released four singles from it now that we’ve done videos to and then we release an extra little single just before the first single came out just as a little teaser/taster sort of thing. We’ve been forced to put the album back two or three times now. Various different reasons but one of them is that we want to tour the album. We want to release it when we can play it for people and experience it with them. We couldn’t do that so we thought ‘what’s the point in putting it out now?’.

It is set to come out next year. I’m pretty damn sure it’s going to come out next year.

I’ve seen that you guys have a tour set up, I assume it will be just before that, fingers crossed?

Whether it’s before that or after I’m not sure. We’ll definitely be releasing a single before the tour in February. We’re doing pretty much top to bottom of the UK. There’s a Scotland and Wales date and then six others throughout the UK. We’ll definitely be releasing a single but the album might not come out until the summer.

Is there a theme running through the album or is it more individual tracks?

It’s definitely not a concept album. It’s not like everything goes together. The theme is generally just experiences. It’s kinda cliche to write about your life and experiences and all that sort of stuff, but the things you’ve been through mould you as a person. There’s some stories in there that could mean a certain thing to some people whereas when I or Mike were writing it it meant something completely different to us. But that’s cool, that’s what music is.

There are a lot of different stories on the album about mine and Mike’s and our shared experiences.

How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

I would describe it by saying go and have a listen!

We’ve been described as a few things. Metal, emo, pop-metal, pop-rock. I suppose it falls in the alternative/metal space. We’re between rock and metal but with that sort of poppy hook.

Will this be your first major tour as a band?

Yeah, this is our first UK tour and we’re going around as a headliner which is pretty sick! We didn’t really expect it but it’s awesome! Kilimanjaro are very involved in promoting some of the dates on the tour which is overwhelmingly great for us, to be able to work with people at a certain stature. We’re essentially a baby band, I think we’ve played four shows. Because of lockdown and stuff we just couldn’t get out. When we were finally able to get out and play again it was quite short notice for us to get some dates booked. So February’s going to be great for us!

For me personally it’s my favourite part. I love playing live. Nothing beats a live show, so I’m looking forward to it.

So you’ve been pretty involved in the music scene with singles and gigs. How would you say the scene is right now? Is it recovering?

I’d like to think that it is. There’s a certain portion of the population that are still scared to go to shows, which is fair enough. I like to think I’m not a judgemental person, if you don’t want to go, don’t go. But there is also the flipside of that, the other portion of the population that’s so eager to get out and be amidst that. The shows we’ve played since lockdown have been pretty packed out, I think we sold out more or less all of them. People are just so eager and they’ve been starved of it for so long that they just want to be there.

I think it’s a little difficult for bands at the minute to get on bills, I think that’s one of the negatives. There’s such a backlog of shows that we’re struggling to get on bills. A lot of the festivals have been booked up now for nearly two years because of the backlog and being pushed back and it’s got to catch up with itself.

It’s so great to see people out again. I think it’s something they use as a release, too, going out to shows. No matter what music you listen to, going to a venue or club is such a release for people and I think after having 18 months of sitting inside being able to go outside and witness live music again and be a part of that culture and that world where everyone is so tight nit is almost therapeutic.

Did you enjoy our interview? Keep up to date on all of them by following our YouTube channel here. And, while it’s not out yet, you can read our review of the album here.

Daxx & Roxane, Dirty Sound Magnet and Rules of Engagement on tour

First of all, what a line-up! Three insanely good rock bands on the same bill at a little venue in Nottingham – what’s not to love? Yes, it was a Sunday night, but there was still a damn good turnout.

Local openers Rules of Engagement took to the stage to a crowd of their own supporters. They blew the roof off the place with a variety of styles, the band could go from sounding like pretty heavy bluesy rock to Pearl Jam in seconds. It was in these slower, Pearl Jam-style tracks that I felt the band really came into its own. The heavier stuff was good, don’t get me wrong, but the band had more of a chance to breathe and show off with their more ballady material reminiscent of Black Stone Cherry. They also did a fantastic cover of ‘Dirty Diana’, the highlight of an overall great set!

Rules of Engagement’s Official Facebook

Next up, things got weird. Switzerland’s own Dirty Sound Magnet took to the stage. They immediately showed everyone that they are some of the best musicians around today. The level of playing from all three of them was off the charts, leaving my jaw hanging open frequently. They played some of the catchiest, if weirdest, psychedelic/stoner rock I’ve ever heard, and I loved every second of it (think psychedelic meets acid western meets space cowboy). They blasted through an impressive 50 minutes of some of their biggest songs, and I had a blast. Hopefully they’re over here again soon.

Then, the awesome Daxx & Roxane finally hit the stage. Having seen them once before at Rockin’ The Bowl (review here) we were excited to see them again. Opening on their popular classic ‘Ticket to Ride’, the band preceded to rip through nearly an hour of fantastic NWOCR track after track. Personal favourite ‘Heal’ was a particular highlight, as was their cover of the always-awesome ‘Superstition.’ The band have a unique sound, classic rock meets Jimi Hendrix with a healthy dose of that slower middle part from Metallica’s ‘Orion.’ It also helps that they are fantastic live. They bring crazy amounts of energy and stage presence to every gig. Either they have the best chiropractor in the world, or they have the secret to perfecting head banging without suffering neck injuries everyday. They are definitely ones to watch out for.

And there we have it, another fantastic gig from the IKE guys. They never fail to put on a good line-up, and all three of these bands put on one hell of a show – check them out.

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Dohny Jep: ‘we’re heavy pop music with riffs!

Dohny Jep are a self pop-rock band who have recently hit the UK underground scene with force. Having released a whopping 4 EPs throughout this year, the band have been working hard. (We reviewed their latest one, by the way, which you can check out here). From the sounds of things they will continue to work hard next year too! We got the chance to sit down with them after their final EP for a quick interview. Check it out below!

So obviously your latest EP has just come out, how’s that gone down?

Yeah, it’s gone very well. We’re very happy with peoples responses to it! Much like the previous three we’ve put out this year we’ve slowly built a following and they seem to really dig most of the stuff we’ve put out. This one’s a little heavier than the last ones we’ve done. A lot of people have commented on that in a nice way. They’ve seen the progression throughout the year of how we’ve developed. And we did that deliberately, we chose for this one to be heavier than the other three. Sort of ease people into it.

With all four EPs coming out in one year, did you guys write it all beforehand?

We wrote a chunk all at the same time really. It was probably late last year.

It was sort of ongoing over a long period of time.

Yeah, late last year I reckon is when I remember we’d demoed an absolute bunch.

And then we kinda played around with orders and stuff. We were still re-writing stuff. So like the first EP was coming out and while we had the fourth EP technically written we were tweaking it as we were going. The main chunk of it was already done, we were just doing the details as we went along. Working to deadlines and stuff. The last one – we weren’t anywhere close to missing the deadline, but we had definitely done a lot more tweaks to some songs. ‘Floor Like Lava’ is two songs that we stuck together so we were still working all the details out.

I assume you planned it all out release-wise before it all, then?

Sort of. We had a kind of idea. I think we were originally put out a bunch of singles. Then the idea became to do them as EPs instead of standalone singles. Then the whole kinda floral thing that tied into each other and then our album, which is out on January 29th, has all four of those flowers in the same vase and we have all the 16 tracks as one collective release. That sort of idea kinda came in halfway through the year, something like that. But yeah, at the beginning of the year we were thinking let’s just release a shit load of singles and be in people’s faces the entire time so they get sick of us or love us, maybe both! But yeah, the full EP thing was decided just before we kicked it off really.

Also, it wasn’t not our decision but it was someone else’s suggestion to us. We’ve been getting advise from a bunch people and he’s sort of unofficially managing us at this point. Not that we don’t have anything to manage but we’re doing everything ourselves so far so he’s more of an advisory roll. He was like ‘well if you’re going to put out 12 singles at one a month, you could put it out as four EPs throughout the year and make a big deal out of it’. I think it was us who decided to jump it up from 12 to 16 because we had so many songs.

Yeah, we just couldn’t really decide which ones we wanted to put out. We’re a big fan of our own stuff! Which is probably a good thing, to love your material instead of thinking ‘eh, it’s alright’. So you kinda need to be your biggest fan! So we thought fuck it, let’s up 16 out and make it as unrealistic as possible to achieve!

So would you consider the same format of EPs leading up to an album again?

We don’t really know yet. It’s been a very expensive year!

Yeah, the next one definitely won’t be like that!

We’re still in talks about exactly how we’re going to do next year, but I think the main plan for us is just to tour a lot on this years material. Because we weren’t able to tour from the get go we’ve lost out on a lot of things like festivals and whatnot. I think once the album is out in January it’ll just be gig gig gig and just get in peoples faces physically rather than digitally this time.

Have you guys got much of a tour booked?

The only thing we’ve got is our release show in January. We’re looking at the moment to lock down a booking agent and then… . Again the advice we got was to look to tour just before summer. Then, avoid summer because it’s the festival season. Unfortunately, because most of the festivals at the minute are re-bookings from the previous two years it’s unlikely that we’ll get a slot on those. Then, after the festival season, get out and do some more stuff.

But it’s all a bit up in the air at the minute. We’re just driving towards this album show and then we’re going to work out what we’re going to do once we’ve got that under our belt.

Generally, how would you describe your sound?

Every time I’m asked this I never really know what to say! I usually go for alt-rock or pop-rock, but more recently I’ve ben saying it’s ‘heavy pop music with riffs’. It’s guitar driven rock music, obviously, but vocally it’s quite hooky with catchy parts.

It’s sort of like a bit of everything for everyone. Especially with our earlier material. It’s got a lot of lighter elements and then this new EP is heavier so it sort of touches on a bit of everything.

Each EP has its own sound, really. You can still tell it’s us, from the first to the fourth EP, but there is a variation in influences. ‘Fade’ for example, which was on Shallow Is the Water. It’s a sort of similar sound to The 1975, which is obviously pretty light and poppy. But then you’ve got other tracks like ‘Control’ that are like early Don Broco. So it’s yeah, variations of influences throughout really.

Will you stick with the wide range of sound going forward?

I think some of the newer stuff we’ve been working on and getting produced has gone a little bit lighter than the last EP. We’ve kinda gone heavy, then we’re going to go light again for a bit, but we’re still in the writing process for that. We’ve got one song produced for the next thing but with no sight of when that is out we’re just being proactive and writing so we have something.

Get ahead of the game!

Exactly! So I might watch this back in six months and we’ve written a really heavy song and then this doesn’t make sense. But at the minute it’s gone a bit lighter, a little funky in places but ultimately it’s still pop-rock with riffs!

Even though you haven’t gigged too much, what would you say the state of the music industry is like right now?

I think digitally, because that’s the best way we can really talk about stuff, it’s skyrocketed. It’s done great things for music. Things like TikTok for example, which we are still very new to but are trying to understand and be one with the young people who know how to use these fucking apps. I think it’s been a great thing for music. For example Papa Roach, who are a super old-school nu-metal band, have been brought back into the modern people’s sights from going viral on there with a very old single of theirs. There’s probably loads of other artists that have either been discovered or rediscovered from TikTok.

So as far as social platforms and things it’s been amazing. I know there’ll be a lot of people out there saying that ‘that’s rubbish’ and ‘you still need to be able to buy CDs’ and people miss going to miss going to buy physical copies of stuff but the reality is that that time has gone and you have to go along with what is happening or you will get left behind.

So yeah, the music’s been great from a digital standpoint. As far as the live stuff, when we’ve played stuff it’s been busy and it’s been great and everyone’s been enjoying themselves, but we just need to do more of them!

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Small Town Sindrome: ‘each person can find something they like with it and it’s pretty cool!’

Small Town Sindrome are an alternative/punk rock band from the US. Their most recent album, ‘It Only Gets Worse From Here’, was released a month or so ago (you can find our review of it here). Just before its release, we had the chance to sit down with the band and have a quick chat about it, their last year and their plans for the future. Check it out from down below!

Obviously you put out a single from the upcoming album; it seems like it was pretty well received?

Yeah, so far! We’ve got a really good response. We’ve got the album coming out a week on Friday so we’re excited to see the response to the rest of it.

So how was the writing process for that? Over here we had lockdowns and stuff but has it been different over there?

Yeah. Like the studio we recorded in, the Bouncing Souls studio that they did most of their albums in, so you’ve just kinda gotta get around it. The masks and all that. But we survived!

Is there a specific theme or story to the album or is it more through individual tracks?

We kinda… honestly I have a tee-shirt and on the back it says ‘it only gets worse’, and one day Brian was like “I’m gonna write a song about that!” And then we thought it was a good idea for an album and we just kinda rolled with it.

How does the sound of the album compare to your previous work?

I guess people have to listen to it and make their own judgement, but I think for the most part it’s a lot more polished. For me I learned more chords on guitar so… We really wanted to go for more of a polished sort of sound so I think that’s what we did, I think we accomplished that. We spent a little bit more time on the songs, I guess.

That’s where Pete Steinkopf of the Bouncing Souls came in too. He was really pushing for a little bit better quality in everything we did and it really came out. We’re starting to see that too; people are commenting from our first album and saying that maybe we backed off the edginess a bit, not sure what that means but it’s a little bit more polished.

I think we came into it a lot more confident than the last one, too. Me personally, I felt I was a huge step further than I was with the first one. I was much more confident, and I think us as a whole group felt tighter and more confident together. It definitely made a difference, it made it feel more complete.

So, how would you describe your sound?

Controlled chaos.

That’s actually not too far from the truth!

I feel like we take a mix from a lot of our influences, you know, pop punk, classic punk, classic rock, even a little bit of the more alternative metal or heavier stuff. You get kind of a different feel from a lot of that so it’s kinda hard to say what we do sound like.

Just today I’ve had about a dozen radio stations hit me up for whatever and it’s funny because of the diversity of the radio stations. Jut based on that we could play more of a classic rock station or even a hardcore one. With every song on the album, each person can find something they like with it and it’s pretty cool!

Have you guys managed to gig and stuff recently?

Here in the US we had a nice little tour scheduled last summer that got washed out. That was kind of a bummer but we played some local places at least. This year was really kinda focused on the album, to get that done, so we’ve managed to play a show or two here each month and did a mini-tour in September but really the focus was on the album and getting it out there. Next year we really want to hit it hard as far as touring goes.

Have you got anything pencilled in already?

Yeah actually, the UK! The South mainly, probably a couple of mid-tier festivals and then pretty much book everything we can around that. Our plan is to go all over the UK. We’re really kinda waiting to see what this winter brings but are planning on a heavy schedule come the spring!

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