Tag Archives: NWOCR

New Music Mondays: Electric Callboy, Behemoth and More!

Another huge week of New Music Mondays, with everything from metalcore to… well… The Proclaimers. Now that I have your attention, let’s dive into it!

Electric Callboy: Tekkno

The band that have taken 2022 by storm with the growing anticipation of this album thanks to their singles. We loved all of them and just had to review the album fully. You can check it out, alongside our review for it, here.

Behemoth: Opvs Contra Natvram

I’ve tried for years now to get into Behemoth, and it’s just not happened. I have heard tit may happen if I see them live. I feel like it must do, because this album did nothing for me. Those who read these regularly know that I don’t really get black metal, and it turns out big, well produced black metal still isn’t my thing. Sorry to any Behemoth fans out there, I know you’re quite the devoted lot. I really tried, listening to the entire album in one sitting. It just seemed like noise; I couldn’t pick out a highlight track. 3/10… please don’t cancel me…

Clutch: Sunrise on Slaughter Beach

Now, this is more my sort of speed. The stoner rock band have been consistently great for years now, and this is no exception. From the opener, ‘Red Alert’, the tone and quality of the album is set and it doesn’t waiver at all. I don’t understand how this band aren’t bigger than they are, given how fantastic tracks like ‘Slaughter Beach’ and ‘Nosferatu Madre’ are. Hopefully tracks like the ones I just named will finally help push them to greater heights.

If you are into blues or stoner rock at all I can guarantee you’ll love this, and it’s maybe one of the best albums the band themselves have done so far. Each track is amazing, it’s had to pick specific highlights. 8.5/10

Marco Mendoza: New Direction

Yep, we’ve been busy this week and given you TWO full reviews of albums before Monday. Aren’t we good? Check out our review of the awesome new Marco Mendoza album here.

The Devil Wears Prada: Colour Decay

In a world where bands that have been around for a while (especially in the metalcore scene) either go lighter and more pop or heavier after complaints from fans, The Devil Wears Prada laughed, flipped them of and said ‘we’ll do both’. I remember checking out the ZII EP last year and while none of this is quite as heavy as ‘Nightfall’, it’s still a heavy album. ‘Watchtower’ and ‘Exhibition’ for the most part might as well be deathcore tracks. But then at the same time we have plenty of clean vocals and tracks like ‘Salt’ and ‘Broken’. It’s an amazingly diverse album, and both sides of the coin are very good.

From the riffs to the INSANE breakdowns and both types of vocals, it’s all amazing. This is the best I’ve heard the band sound in years and is up there with some of my favourite work by them. This album will be on a lot in the Griffiths household over the next few weeks and months, as it really does have something for nearly every emotion. Another 9/10. A solid week so far!

The Mars Volta: Self-Titled

A complete change of pace now as we get to the US prog rock band’s seventh album. I have a confession to make; I don’t think I’ve heard a track by the band before. I know the name but have at least never gone out of my way to check them out. So I guess where better to start than with the band’s first album in a decade, since their breakup and recent reformation.

They’re weird… but I kinda dig it. It took me a couple of tracks to get into the groove with them, but by the time ‘Graveyard Love’ finished I was all in. The remind me of a darker Scissor Sisters, giving me a big nostalgia kick as I loved that band as a kid. While some of it isn’t typically the sort of thing we’d cover or that I’d like too much, there is enough awesome upbeat stuff to keep me entertained. Tracks like ‘No Case Gain’ and ‘Equus 3’ are strangely awesome. It’s not all for me, but I certainly wouldn’t be opposed or turn it off if the album was on again at some point. 6.5/10

The Proclaimers: Dentures Out

Yes, they haven’t just done ‘500 Miles’ and that song from Shrek. They do in fact now have 12 studio albums, and I have to say, this new one is fantastic. The opening and title track is one of my is one of the best soft rock songs I’ve heard in years. ‘Feast Your Eyes’ is a fantastic, epic ballad with a good point and seniment behind it. And ‘Praise’ is almost a surfer rock track with that riff. There is plenty of great stuff to sink your teeth into here if you like it softer and, while there could have been another faster track or two, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be listening to it again! A surprisingly great album from a band I’m sure most haven’t listened to in years. 7.5/10

No Devotion: No Oblivion

This was not at all what I was expecting. Given the name and album artwork, I was thinking I was in for heavy, not alt/indie. While I’m sure it’s great to the band’s fans, I wasn’t too into it. There was some fun, catchy synth and some interesting vocals, but I felt this was a bit of a slog to get through. I feel like/hope it’ll grow on me as they are all very clearly talented musicians and songwriters and I feel like I should get it, but I currently do not. 4/10 at a push, I’m sorry.

Starcrawler: She Said

This bands image doesn’t quite fit with their sound. From their artwork and pictures, I went into this expecting glam. This was not glam. I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, built I’d have preferred glam or NWOCR over the punk/old school rock I got. It is interesting to hear an American indie tinge to the British punk rock sound, but I found it didn’t do much to hold my attention. Having said that, ‘Stranded”s chorus did seem vaguely familiar, and it was a definite highlight of the album. Not a bad album by any stretch and I feel like it might grow on me with another couple of listens., it just didn’t catch my attention immediately. 6/10

Sinnery: Black Bile

This is right up my street. Heavy-ass death/thrash metal, filled with big fast riffs that will break your neck after the full 50-minute album. Having never heard of them before, ‘The Burning’ was as fantastic introduction to them as any. Between the huge riffs, hardcore screams, gang vocals and filthy lows, it’s a highlight for sure. However, the album goes HARD for its entire run, giving the world some of the best the genre has to offer in 2022. ‘Sever’ and ‘Bleak’ are also highlights of a very strong album. I honestly feel like they are the second coming of Slayer, they are that good and heavy. I can see them getting the same cult following, and I am definitely going to be in there in it! 8.5/10

Somehow Jo: Scales and Details

Tool’s crazier child are back with their third studio album. Heck, just the two fantastic opening tracks, ‘Fata Morgana’ and ‘Freind’, channel so many different styles and genres it’s insane. From prog to folk to death metal to whatever the hell people classify SOAD as, there is something for everyone. Both are insanely impressive track and easily make the playlist, and there’s another seven tracks still!

I have to say though, every track had me hooked from start to finish. This was a damn good album full of some of the best playing I have heard in a LONG time. I have not a single negative thing I can say about the album, and I am desperate to see the band live now. Check this out if you are into any sort of music at all, you won’t be disappointed! 8.5/10

Dead City Ruins: Shockwave

This is what I was expecting Starcrawler. Just good old-fashioned hard/sleaze rock. I’ve been a fan of the band for a few years now after checking them ahead of a HRH (They unfortunately didn’t end up playing) and after the album being postponed a little, I’m excited to finally hear it.

It’s really good. Unfortunately, you’re wanting me to write more than that, aren’t you? Fine… It’s honestly as good as anything the rest of the NWOCR scene is putting out at the minute, and that’s saying something as the scene is currently at its peak. Opening track ‘Preacher’ feels like a fan-favourite live right off the bat and the album honestly doesn’t slip on quality afterwards. ‘Vision’ is another huge highlight. ‘Madness’ and ‘Speed Machine’ are both also awesome. ‘Rain’ gives me Alice in Chains vibes in the best way, and also makes the playlist with a bunch of other stuff on this album.

I honestly cannot say enough good things about this album. It’s the best they’ve put out so far and may be one of my favourite albums of the year. CHECK THIS OUT! 9.5/10

New Direction: Marco Mendoza’s Crowning Album?

Thin Lizzy/Black Star Riders/Dead Daisies alumni Marco Mendoza has been a busy man throughout his career, as you can tell. But aside for the number of incredible bands and artists he’s worked with, he’s also had a fantastic solo career. New Direction is to be his fourth solo album, released on the 16th of this month. We managed to get our hands on it a little early to see what we think. I can’t wait for this one!

The original album title and lead single, ‘Take it to the Limit’, is up first. An air raid siren sets up a great sleezy riff, harkening back to the 80s immediately with its sound. The riff opens out a little in the verse, the instrumentation taking a more blusey approach. Marco’s voice sounds better than ever, too, a real testament to his commitment to music. The chorus is of course catchy and massive, the backing vocals and big instrumentation filling it all out perfectly. We get another great blues riff for the bridge, the vocals behind reminding me so much of ‘Love in an Elevator’. And of course, we get a fantastic, technical guitar solo. It wouldn’t be hard rock without one! What a track to open with. I loved it and it’s already been on our playlist for a while now.

Check out our latest interview with Marco Mendoza here.

‘Just Can’t Get Over You’ opens on another blues-inspired riff, giving off LA Guns vibes. It drops down a bit for the verse, being muted and bouncy and a lot of fun with the vocals over the top. The track builds perfectly through an uplifting pre into another huge, catchy chorus. It’s a little more basically layered than the previous track but the vocals are so great it still sticks in your head. We get another fantastic guitar solo too, one that fits the vibe of the song to a T. The final chorus, complete with more lead guitar behind to make it even more epic, ends things on a bang.

‘Light it Up’ opens on steady drums and bass, Marco’s vocals coming in over the top and sounding fantastic. It again builds up as the guitars come in quietly before it all explodes for the choruses. It’s giving off Def Leppard vibes to me, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. The guitars are maybe even catchier than the vocals this time around, too. The guitar solo is off the charts in this track, easily being the highlight one of the album. Also, it dropping back down to just drum and bass for another verse after and building up massively for the final chorus was great. Another playlisted track!

Next, it’s time for a slower one. A slower, cleaner riff plays behind Marco Mendoza ‘s softer vocals. I can hear a lot of The Police, but again it sounds like it inspired it over a cheap copy that some bands do these days. The chorus is absolutely phenomenal, too. It’s one of the biggest stadium-filling choruses I’ve heard this year, and it truly does deserve to be played in front of that many people. Everything about this track is fantastic and I implore you to stop reading this right now and go check it out. You won’t be disappointed!

The next single, ‘Shoot For the Stars’, picks back up the pace a little. The simple riff and vocal combo always works great and here is no exception. It’s still not as quick as the previous tracks but it’s a good soft rock track, nearly a ballad in its own right. It is filled with catchy vocal parts and harmonies, as well as some great lead guitar work. It’s one hell of a choice for a single, everything about it is great!

‘All that I’m Living For’ has a fantastic riff running through it. It’s heavy but definitely an ear-worm too. The low vocals sound great over the top. We even get a key change hidden in the middle which sounded awesome. It leads to yet another huge, great chorus. I can hear in this track where Marco’s influence on Dead Daisies went, this is very much like the last album of theirs he was on. It’s another good track, with Marco channelling his inner Stephen Tyler in the bridge again being a particular highlight.

‘Free Ride’ was a fun 80s throwback track. From the spoken word at the start to the hard rock/sleezy riff, this screamed MTV. Having said, I also thought it could be ripped straight out of Reckless Love’s discography. Both are similar sounds though, and all sound great. In all fairness, so do the following couple of tracks, ‘Can’t Explain It’ and ‘Scream and Shout’. Both are more hard rock than sleaze, but are great, fun tracks too.

Then we reach the final track and the albums title song. Opening on the infectiously catchy chorus vocals and some huge chords, it’s definitely memorable. The track itself stays pretty steady-paced, again coming across as a bit of a hard rock ballad. Given the poignant subject matter of the song, it lends itself well to the sound. Looking for a new direction after the last couple of years definitely resonates with a lot of people, including myself. The chorus is MASSIVE and another stadium-filling highlight of the album. It’s an epic, fantastic way to close an amazing album.

Overall: As I said just, this is amazing. It’s the best solo album Marco Mendoza has done, in this humble writers opinion. There isn’t a bad track on the album and each one has a unique sound, energy and feel. I enjoyed listening to it from start to finish and it kept me interested, something few newer albums seem to do these days. I can’t wait to hear it live and I’mma be listening to this a lot over the next few weeks!

The Score: 8.5/10

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Massive Wagons: ‘Your time will come, don’t give up!’

We had the chance to sit down with the awesome Baz from Massive Wagons while at Call of the Wild the other month for a quick chat about the band and their future plans! Check it out from below!

What’s it like finally being able to play Call of the Wild?

Yeah, it’s great! Big admiration for the organisers having to reschedule it two or three times because of Covid. Bands dropping out and suddenly you’re doing it a different weekend and a band can’t play on the same day or whatever but we’re here at last! We’ve played for Raz (the organiser) a few times over the years. Him asking us to do this is really cool, we’ve been looking forward to it.

And what brought on your pyro and bigger stageshow elements?

The thing is you play with so many great bands on this scene and your live show is kinda your bread and butter these days. We sorta hit a ceiling and you’ve just gotta think of ways to stand out. We’ve always reinvested money back into the band.

We started it at Steelhouse. We did a headline slot there on the Friday a few years ago and did a bit there. Every time we do a headline festival slot we always try to bring a show, you know? You’re a headliner for a reason, you’ve gotta bring it.

It’s coming along tonight, we brought our firework, a box of matches.

Are you working on new music?

Yeah, it’s recorded, it’ll be out this year (check out some of it below!). We recorded it a couple of months ago.

Check out our last COTW interview here.

And then straight into touring?

Yeah! Well we’ve got quite a few festivals, we’re in Europe quite a lot this year. Same as normal really, it never really stops. We’ve got loads planned! As much as possible.

How is it different preparing for a gig supporting at an arena compared to your own show or a festival headline slot?

It’s a little bit different. Obviously we’re supporting so we’re not bringing our own big show. Headline shows are a lot different, it’s a lot longer for a start. I think we’re doing about half an hour [supporting Thunder]. it’s in an arena so we’ll need proper monitoring and stuff like that. It’s different preparation. The sound’s always different in an arena but it’s nice, I’m really looking forward to it!

We did a little run of dates with Lynyrd Skynyrd a few years ago in arena which was very cool!

Do you have any advice you could give smaller bands starting out?

A big one for us… we’ve been going since about 2010 I think. We never got any support to us for a long time and we were always a bit bitter and jaded about it. But I’d say to other bands don’t be in a rush, it’ll happen when it happens. It was better for us for it to happen later in our career because we got ourselves pretty good. You’re going on stage and you’re actually going to win fans over. You know what you’re doing.

Don’t feel bitter about other bands getting support slots and you’re not, your time will come. Don’t give up!

New Music Mondays: Five Finger Death Punch, Panic! At the Disco and Much More!

A STACKED week of new music from the rock and metal world this week. Join us in checking it out!

Five Finger Death Punch: AfterLife

Okay, let’s get the controversial one out of the way first. I know that if I give this band and album any praise at all y’all will disagree, and that’s fine, I’ve made peace with it. But underneath the Monster guzzling, Drywall and partner punching Kyle energy, there are some damn talented musicians. Heck, ANDY FUCKING JAMES guitars for them these days, the talent is there. And their first couple of albums were honestly fantastic. I haven’t heard the new singles or much after Wrong Side of Heaven as they began to bore me, but hopefully this album brings them back to their roots more!

Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. It’s nowhere near as bad as people will make it out to be, it’s still okay. It’s just incredibly generic radio metal. The riffs are still phat and fun and the production is still up there with some of the best. And of course James shreds some of the best highlights of the album. The issue, much like with most of their music, is Ivan’s lyrics. The angsty, angry, juvenile writing is really something a man in his 40s should have grown out of by now. He has a great voice still and is clearly good at writing catchy, huge vocal melodies and choruses, they’re just dampened considerably by the lyrical content. If they were a bit deeper or had more to them or had changed at all in the last decade+, I feel like this would be great.

‘Times Like These’ was an okay ballad and the title track is okay. But for every good track on the album, there’s a ‘Roll Dem Bones’ or the utterly terrible ‘Judgement Day’. Honestly, the good was few and far between and this was a really tough listen. I was bored way before halfway through. It’s such a shame because their thrash-Slipknot sound and attitude of Way of the Fist was fantastic and they have yet to get close to its quality. It’s a pretty slow album all-round, actually. The biggest praise I can give it, I guess, is that it’s somehow easy-listening metal. But still, it’s the worst album I’ve heard from them, of the five I’ve heard. 3/10

Panic! At The Disco: Viva Las Vengeance

Brendan Urie and friends (it stopped being Panic! years ago) are back with the follow-up to their massive 2018 album Pray For the Wicked. I have to admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of this band at their rock peak, I always preferred Fallout Boy, but I like a few tracks here and there. Heck, even ‘High Hopes’ isn’t bad as far as earworms go, just incredibly overplayed. With how poppy the singles have been so far, I feel like they’re going to be the same.

While a terrible album opener, the title track is a fun, Vegas-inspired pop-rock song. That’s pretty much the entire story of the album, if I’m being honest. And I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing. It’s not bad music at all, just a tad boring. It’s okay chilled out pop ‘rock’, but it’s a far cry from ‘I Write Sins not Tragedies’. It is pretty much musical music, which is exactly where Urie wants to be. Honestly if this was a musical I’d probably enjoy it a lot more than I do. Brendan is still one of the best vocalists alive today, but outside some pretty basic instrumentation behind his voice, that’s all there is to this album.

‘God Killed Rock And Roll’ is maybe the highlight of the album, but that’s because it’s so obviously and unapologetically Queen that it’s almost laughable. It’s a good album and I wouldn’t turn it off if it came on again, but it’s not really my sort of thing. 5/10

Demi Lovato: HOLY FVCK

It took Demi adding one of the most acclaimed rock guitarists currently in Nita Strauss in order to go back to pop punk. However, that was a relatively new addition so maybe this had been in the works for a while. Either way, a minute into the album and it’s already better than anything else she’s ever done. That riff for FREAK is tasty and for once the awful Yungblud doesn’t even overstay his welcome on a guest slot.

I’m so glad artists of this ilk, the latest being Avril Lavigne, are returning to this rock-inspired sound, and that a new generation is stepping up to join them. Hopefully it starts to lead towards more rock in the mainstream again. Plus, hopefully P!nk comes back to join the style soon too!

This album is fucking incredible, by the way. This is the album she should have put out after her return from rehab last year. Its full of emotion and a look into her thoughts and feelings about her past few years. And musically it’s catchy, radio friendly and, most importantly, ROCK. The genre that (kinda) introduced the world to her, and she returns with a vengeance. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the album art seems pretty similar to The Pretty Reckless’s last album, it’s clear that album’s inspired this one quite a bit. There’s nothing to really complain about anything, aside maybe the bloated track listing, but the album is that well paced that it doesn’t really even matter. I can’t believe I’m putting this but 8.5/10, it really is that good!

I Prevail: TRUE POWER

Another band I feel like I should have given more time to before now. It’s metalcore and has everything I should like in a band. I have one of their tracks on my Spotify (Gasoline, I think) and do enjoy it. So, I’m excited to sink my teeth into this album.

Truthfully, this album is a bit of a mixed bag. I liked when they got heavier on tracks like ‘Body Bag’, ‘Fake’ and ‘Judgement Day’. However their lighter stuff didn’t do much for me and their pop-punk, clean choruses almost felt a little… generic? I feel like that’s not the right word but I can’t think of a better one. I feel like I’ve heard them before. And some of the rap didn’t do it for me either, while some parts of it really did. Overall there was enough to keep me coming back, and plenty of it has made our playlist. 7/10

Soilwork: Overgivenheten

This was all over the place in the best way. So much so that I had to listen to it multiple times through over the weekend in order to just compose my thoughts. Sometimes melodeath, sometimes prog, sometimes power metal, sometimes straight up Scorpions-style hard rock, this had a bit of everything.

Having said that, everything they do sounds great. The heavier, epic opener into the lighter, clean-centric following track did a great job of showing what the band are about right from the offset. From there the quality stays, as does the variety. ‘Electric Again’ is one of my favourite tracks on the album, as is ‘Is It in Your Darkness’. No two songs are alike, especially when next to each other on the album, a fantastic display of songwriting prowess and honestly made for an insanely fun listen. Every track is good, not just the highlights, and this is an album I’ll be listening to a lot going forward! 8/10

The Chats: Get Fucked

Unapologetically punk as FUCK. Basically The Sex Pistols but with actual talent. I don’t even know what else I can say about it, it’s that straightforward an album. It’s punk, if you like the genre, you’ll like this. I’d struggle to even pick some highlight tracks as, due to the style, they all sound pretty similar. However, the album is so concise at 27-minutes that it never overstays its welcome. Good stuff! 7/10

Silversun Pickups: Physical Thrills

This was not what I was expecting, but I have no idea why. I’ve seen the name floating around for a good few years and always associated them with the likes of Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead. And guess what, this was exactly like those two bands. I guess I was simply expecting a little more, however foolishly. I’m not really a fan of either of the aforementioned bands, and I can’t get into this much either.

It’s dark, moody prog rock with just enough of a commercial edge that it could be considered radio-friendly. I wasn’t a fan of some of the artier tracks, but then songs like ‘Sacred Together’ and ‘Hereafter’ were so good it made me almost forget how much I wasn’t fussed by the rest of the album.

Conan: Evidence of Immortality

Heavy prog doom metal from the UK, this feels like the most ‘true metal’ thing I’ve ever listened to. When the opening track is 10+ minutes long, you know you’re in for one hell of a ride.

Unfortunately, that ride is pretty slow and takes a while to get to any fun sightseeing locations. I’m a fan of doom, but the same riffs repeated for two minutes or more don’t do much for me. The vocals help breakup the repetitiveness of the tracks a little, and the scream is very good. But it wasn’t enough to hold my attention for too long.

I remember seeing them a few years ago at a small venue my old band played at and remember enjoying them live, so maybe that’s what I need. Seeing music live helps it translate a lot better, being surrounded by likeminded people and having it all much louder and seeing them play it etc. Until I can make it down to one of their gigs, however, I feel like I can only give this a 4.5/10. Sorry guys.

Thundermother: Black and Gold

A controversial band next, at least in the UK underground rock scene. The NWOCR band return with their fifth album, looking to shake some of that negative energy off them, and honestly it’s very good.

Opening track ‘The Light in the Sky’ sets a great stadium-filling sound and precedent that continues throughout. The title track is mid-tempoed, catchy awesomeness and the riff for ‘Raise Your Hands’ is sleazy greatness. The soft, almost jazz rock ballad ‘Hot Mess’ is another massive highlight of the album too, as is the Thunderstruck-esque ‘I Don’t Know You’.

It’s all massive, catchy, radio-friendly hard rock, and it’s great. Some bands you can just tell from their sound and songwriting that they’re going to be massive, and these are definitely one of them. I could easily hear this opening for amassive stadium tour like GnR or the Crue/Leppard one, it’d go down a storm. I can’t praise this enough. 9/10

Hammer King: Kingdemonium

We checked this out already and loved it. Check out the full review and score here.

Lillian Axe: From Womb to Tomb

The first new album to be released by the band in over a decade, it’s not as black metal as the album title suggests it is. If anything a lot of it channels more soft/prog rock sounds than the ‘hard rock’ they are. While the opening track sounds ELO-like, the second goes in a completely different direction and goes full Dream Theater. I actually quite like the prog sound they go for for the most part, but it is so very DT I might as well just be listening to Octavarium. There’s some fun riffs none the less and the vocals are powerful and fit the music well. Good stuff, but nothing that I haven’t heard plenty before. 6/10

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Jack J Hutchinson: ‘I need to be reminded by my manager that I should be playing songs off the current album!’

Check out our interview with our good friend and awesome blues guitarist/songwriter Jack J Hutchinson! We spoke about his upcoming EP/DVD boxset, his upcoming tour and his new line-up!

Obviously we were going to see each other at Rockin’ the Bowl this year before the cancelation. Having said that, what do you think of the music scene at the minute?

I mean there’s a lot of bands that were on at Rockin’ the Bowl that I’ve seen at a lot of festivals in the last year or so so there are some great acts. A lot of guys that I’ve been on the same bill as that I really rate. Some great players. The biggest thing for me is songwriting really, bands that have good tunes, and there’s tonnes of great stuff. I like quite a variety of different music too, from blues to heavy rock and even acoustic folk stuff as well. We’re sort of overloaded with music at the minute which is cool!

You have the EP/boxset coming out next month, how did that come about?

Well, I released an album earlier on this year called ‘The Hammer Falls’ and during that process I was offered the opportunity to work with Kevin Shirley who’s produced some incredible artists: Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Joe Bonamasa, just loads of people. So I was kinda in the latter stages of mixing the last record when Kevin offered to do one or two songs. I had this idea of doing a remix of some of the tracks we were working on last year. So what you hear on this EP is alternate takes of some of the songs.

I think it’s quite interesting to compare them to the other versions on the album. And then there’s a brand new song on the EP as well. So that’s pretty cool!

A DVD isn’t something you see much in the underground scene these days, do you think bands are having to do more ‘out there’ merch to make more of a living?

Yeah I guess. I’ve always wanted to try and come up with new ideas in terms of the product that I put out there. When I put my album ‘Who Feeds the Wolf’ out I did it on a splattered red and black vinyl which seemed quite a unique thing at the time but everybody’s doing it now. I’m not insinuating that they’re doing it because I did it but…

I could have done this release as another multicoloured vinyl release. There are two reasons why I didn’t. One was because I wanted to try something different and I wanted to do something that was a two disc set, like the Rolling Stones ‘From the Vault’ boxset. Also I brought this Winery Dogs DVD a couple of years back that was pretty cool. Like a companion disc for the record. So that’s where the idea of it came for.

Check out our review of The Hammer Falls here.

Another reason I didn’t want to do it on vinyl is because of the experience of the manufacturing of it over the last two years. It’s taking so long to do it. I was lucky with The Hammer Falls as I got a heads up about what was coming. I put my order in before the album was even fully recorded. I paid for the slot like 10 months prior. There was only like three songs that we still had to record but there was a risk in it. It could have gone completely, horribly wrong.

But for this release I wanted to get something out for the latter half of this year. Then the Kevin Shirley thing came about and I thought it was exciting and something just a bit different!

Is it touring for the foreseeable or are you writing again already?

I’m actually supposed to be going to Spain next month. It’ll be the first time I’ve really been over to Europe since the pandemic kicked off. So at the moment I’m just trying to work out all the visa stuff and all that. When I started playing guitar when I was like 14 I didn’t envision that it’d all just be admin at one stage in my career. It’s all I’ve really done this week.

So next month we’re headed out on tour. I’ve got a new band heading out with me later on in the year which is cool. This Brilliant bassist called Charlie Rachel Kay who’s joining. She’s the bassist for Ashley Sherlock. Then the drummer is Phil Wilson who’s played with tonnes of people: Elles Bailey, Sean Webster, Lawence Jones. It’s going to be exciting to take a new band out. I’ve had the same band now for almost four years. We work really well together and had some amazing experiences but they’re kinda moving on to do different projects.

Yeah, it’s exciting to be playing some new songs. And I have been writing a lot of material recently so we’ll have to see if any of it makes it into the setlist. I hope it will! It’ll be a real shift from the last tour where we were kinda doing stuff that we’d been playing for two or three years. Now’s the time to refresh it a bit!

Do you think it’ll have a bit of a different feel on stage with new members?

I don’t know, man. I’ve never been one to over-rehearse ahead of tours. I think you’ve got to allow things to organically develop. You’ve got to trust your players. The person who really needs to do their homework tends to be me, I’m a bit of a scatterbrain with all of this stuff. I move on from project to project quite quickly so I need to be reminded by my manager that I should be playing songs off the current album.

We’re looking at getting some rehearsals in at the end of this month, which is exciting in of itself. With bands you’ve got to foster a vibe with the people who are part of the band. Music is one element of it, but if people are miserable in the band they’re not going to play very well. I want every band I take out with me to enjoy it. This is rock’n’roll man, they should be going out and having a blast on tour, not moping and moaning about it.

The few support bands announced for it so far look sick. How would you say the environment of the NWOCR scene is?

Yeah, I mean I speak quite closely with Wes (my manager) on who to take out. I always see support slots, although I don’t really like using the word support, as an opportunity for the bands that come out with me to meet my audience and gain fans. But also I want bands to come out that are going to make it a pleasurable experience for me. I make sure I listen to the acts and I want a badass collection of bands on the tour. It means that before I go on stage I can go out and have fun and watch the bands myself.

We have a band that are doing a few of the dates, Firekind, they were the support act for my tour last year. They’re great, just really fun to have around. They make you laugh and that’s what you want. And obviously White Raven Down are a fucking incredible band too.

Marco Mendoza: ‘The new direction is the right direction!’

We spoke to bass legend Marco Mendoza ahead of his new album, New Direction’, about said album, his upcoming tour and any advice he has for new bands. Check it out down below!

Talk to me about the new album?

It’s coming out September 16th. I’ve gotta say I’m really excited about it! We started recording this in September ’19, so three years ago. After 2021 just for a minute it felt like ‘is this thing ever going to come out’, you know? At the beginning of this year we were working the logistics with the label and even then we didn’t know what was going to happen.

So, when they released the first single ‘Take it to the Limit’, the response was great. More than expected. Then ‘Shoot for the Stars’ also got a lot of thumbs up and stuff. Then ‘New Direction’ came out, the title cut of the album, and everybody seems to dig it. So I’m really happy man. From ground zero to the release of the album, I have some dates to announce, including the UK.

So hopefully we’re headed in a new direction, we’re trying to find our way back home after our industry got hit hard. So there’s specs of a light at the end of the tunnel, a lot of hope and optimism. It’s not going to happen by itself, you need to learn to roll the dice and believe in it. I’m excited to say the least. I was forced to listen to the songs back and I’m really proud of it. It’s a good album!

And would you say it’s a new direction in terms of the sound?

Well, it’s a trip. In our industry we start labelling everything, ‘this is hard rock, this is classic rock, this is metal, this is black metal and this and that’. And at the bottom of it all is pop music. Back in the day, the people I grew up listening to had songs on the radio, so they were pop songs. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Ted Nugent… they were playing music on the radio. So to me, that was what pop represented. Then as we got into the 70s and 80s we started labelling things and I get it, it’s fine.

I would say if we had to label it we’re leaning more on the songwriting, the pop side of music if you will, which is fine.

The new direction is that we found a direction again! Like I said, we lost our way somewhere and for a moment it was pretty grim. The world came to a screeching halt and we weren’t sure when it was going to start, there was a few false starts too. September/October last year I ended up rolling the dice and I got invited to do some stuff and with all the restrictions and lower capacity, we had a successful tour. That’s what gave me a little more gas in the tank. The new direction is the right direction.

Check out our last chat with the man himself here.

Is there a different approach taken to writing with your solo stuff as opposed to with the likes of the Dead Daisies?

Yeah, well the Dead Daises was put together to be a collective, meaning every member of the band would get around the table with acoustics and collectively throw ideas into the melting pot. We’d come out with 20-25 ideas that were almost finished and then our producer would also be there and we’d all agree which to pick.

With my solo project it is different, it’s a little quicker. I’m not saying it’s better or easier, just harder. I’ve written with cats that are songwriters and for me to be part of that I just stay out of the way. There’s a lot of different dynamics depending on the situation. You learn to compensate and navigate and adjust.

With us being a solo project, Sorrin being my producer/guitar player/songwriting partner, him and I make decisions so it’s quicker. It’s very sincere, very honest. We don’t over-analyse stuff, we just know when something’s working, we document it. It’s a faster process. And then we get the players in and they play the songs.

The process is different; it’s quicker and… not more productive but it’s a faster process. I like to work fast when it comes to music. There’s two schools, one is play, learn the songs, record it, boom, done. Then the other method is a lot of playing and adjusting and relearning. It’s like baking a cake, you’ve gotta make sure it’s right before you take it out of the oven.

What goes into the decision of choosing a single?

Well I think with the previous album, Viva, the first song that was written was ‘Viva La Rock’. We got together and within an hour, hour and a half the song was done. We sent the demo to a label and they loved it. They said this is the title for the album, this is the first single.

It kinda repeated itself again this time around, the first song was ‘Take it to the Limit’. Again it was written within hours of us getting together and sent to the label and they said it’s great and it’s the single and title of the album. The decision was made but then 2020 and 2021 came and I did a couple of runs under the Take it to the Limit heading so we decided to change it around and look at how relevant these other songs are to what is going on. New Direction had a great response so we chose that instead of Take it to the Limit, which was overused.

I believe the album has more than three singles to be honest, but logistics and decision making and all that, it’s got to go through due process. New Direction being the title cut made sense.

It’s back and forth ideas and suggestions. For me, to be honest, I have a great team of people working with me. I put my two cents in, I take a few steps back, then I either agree with the process or I put my two cents back in, then I take a few steps back again. It’s all about trust and knowing that people are pros and are making the right decisions. I think the single choices were good.

Is it just touring for the rest of the year now?

Yep! Next week I do a festival in Romania and then we start in Germany begnning of September. And then we’re booked all of September, October and all the way to November 25th I believe. It’s a trip. We started with 20 dates, now it’s this and this and we two more and then three more. When you announce you’re going out people are aware of it so you start getting ‘well you’re here, can you come here?’. That’s the process. But I’m really looking forward to coming to the UK!

Do you have any advice for bands just starting out?

The not to dos are very simple for me because I did it the wrong way. Pay attention. Do it for the right reason. Do it because you love the music and because you’re passionate about it. And set goals, long and short term, to stay focused. Be willing to put the time in, through blood sweat and tears, because there will be blood sweat and tears! Sometimes the music for me is its own reward. After all the logistics and travel and financial worries, getting up on stage and get away from that and let the music take me places, that’s my reward. It keeps me coming back.

Also, be okay with letting it go when it becomes frustrating. I think there’s something to be said for learning stuff while you’re having fun. You’ll accomplish a lot. And believe in yourself, no matter the people around you. Gravitate towards people who support you. You can’t expect anyone else to support you if you can’t support yourself.

The not to dos for me very simple: don’t drink, don’t do drugs, don’t do anything mind-altering that can impede your ability to be there and be as productive as you can be. I went through it and I went through hell. I came out of it, thank god, but I often think what would have happened if I’d have stayed on the right side of the street.

And the reality is there’s hundreds if not thousands of projects and artists and bands that want to be in your place so if you start goofing off people are going to say ‘next’.

And work work work, practice practice practice, and book as many shows as you can. I know it’s sometimes hard as the finances aren’t there, but in terms of human nature when we want something, we make it happen.

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Massive, Ghosts of Men and Dig Lazarus at Ye Olde Sal!

Pardon my French, but what a great putain gig! Three hugely impressive sets from some of the best hard rock bands in the underground rock scene right now. Massive, Ghosts of Men and Dig Lazarus. A big thanks to our good friends at Dig Lazarus sneaking us into the sold out Ye Olde Salutation Inn in Nottingham for the gig! We were able to experience it first hand, and just had to let you know how great it was!

Opening the night were the ever awesome Dig Lazarus. For a band that I had not really heard of before Call of the Wild Festival back in May, I have become a huge fan since then. The band were on top form here as well. Their sludgy, heavy blues sound translates perfectly live, especially in a smaller, indoor setting. However, my favourite thing about them is still the backing/duelling vocals. It adds so much to the catchiness of tracks like ‘Never Change’ and ‘Tell Me Why’ and begs audience interaction. These guys are going to be huge sooner rather than later if they keep putting out great music like this and putting on shows to match!

Next up were a new band to me but ones that definitely won me over fast, Ghosts of Men! When just two people took to the stage, I was wearily curious. However, they filled out the sound and the stage masterfully. The frontman oozed charisma and had a voice sounding like a combination of Zakk Wylde and Neil Fallon. Meanwhile between his fantastic guitar playing and the drummer’s awesomeness, they both played a great set of QOTSA-sounding grunge/desert rock.

The band don’t take themselves too seriously, joking around and having fun on stage. It is refreshing to see these days and means when they do get serious with track ‘Wolfpack’, it hits even harder. The band have a new fan in me from their amazing set. I’ll definitely be listening to them a lot moving forward!

Check out our last live review here.

Finally, we reached the headliner and the band that the vast majority of the crowd were there for, Massive. Frontman Brad Marr spoke about how long it had been since their last show in the city and how much the tour had been postponed. You could see and feel his passion throughout the gig, clearly missing being up on stage playing his music. Unfortunately due to injuries and visa issues the band had a few last minute lineup changes for the tour. But, all four of them played their hearts out for the rabid, packed house.

Tracks like ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Dancefloor’ sound just as good now as they did 10 years ago, and went down a storm, just like the most recent tracks. And Brad is one of the best frontmen in the business right now, having the crowd in the palm of his hand through the whole set. I’ve been a fan of the band since Full Throttle and have seen them a few times but never this good. They were on top form and I cannot wait to see where they go from here!

And there we have it. One of the best gigs we’ve been to this year thanks to three incredible bands, an amazing venue and a packed house full of hungry rock fans. Be sure to support each of the bands as much as you can and definitely go and see them if they are playing locally to you. I can’t wait to see them again already!

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The Bastard Sons: ‘We’ve basically finished writing and recording all of the music for an album!’

The next Call of the Wild interview had us talking with the rhythm section of Phil Campbell and the bastard Sons , Tyla and Dane! Check out as we talk about the bands future release and touring plans and if they had any advice they could give to smaller bands!

So firstly, what’s it like touring with Phil?

Well he sleeps a lot. You’ve just got to wake him up when he needs to be woken up. Lots of toilet breaks. Not a lot else, it’s not that exciting really!

You know he’s our dad, right?! Just in case.

He enjoys a pasty from a service station. Or a tin of macaroni cheese as I found out last night. Which he doesn’t cook!

And you guys have just finished a Motorhead tour, right?

Yeah, it was cool! We’ve been talking about it for a while. We kinda knew it would go down well, there’s definitely a thirst for that music even though we’ve always played around half and half. It was a different vibe. Physically more challenging for me, being a drummer, too! But yeah, it’s been amazing. Every gig has been incredible.

It’s been a couple of years since the last album, are you writing again?

We are. We’ve basically finished writing and recording all of the music for an album. Joel (vocals) has done maybe half of it and then we had to start touring. Damn touring is interrupting our touring process! But hopefully after today we can get into it a little but this is the start of our festival season now.

It’s the busiest summer we’ve ever had. Three years worth of festivals crammed into one. So we’ll have to try and squeeze in some vocal sessions during the summer. We don’t want to rush it so it will probably be out early next year. Because of Covid the demand for vinyl production is nine months delayed.

What’s it like, comparatively, preparing for your own gigs to a big festival or supporting the likes of Guns’n’Roses?

Well, you have a shorter set when you support! The Guns’n’Roses show we’re on at like 5pm for 30 minutes, so we can drink more alcohol afterwards. Festivals logistically are more difficult. Sometimes you’ve gotta fly from one play to another at stupid’o’clock in the morning because it’s the only option, and then you’re really tired for the rest of the day then. You’ve gotta make it happen somehow.

Have you got any advice for bands that are just starting out?

Yes! Lots of advice!

We’ve all come from small bands. Prior to this we’ve all done the toilet circuit; supporting, touring, playing to nobody, we’ve done all that. And we learnt a lot from being able to do that. The way I see it is even if you’re playing a gig in front of no one, it’s still a free band practice. It’s more practice getting used to playing in a live environment.

Obvious tips for if you land like a local support slot for a band like us or someone else. Be prepared to use your entire backline. Bring all of your gear, or as much as you can. Load in when someone says you can and start setting up your drumkit straight away, off the stage of course. Try not to make noise, the headline band are probably sound-checking.

And a really important thing: your most important task is to play your set, don’t overrun your time, like if you’re told to finish at eight, aim to finish at one minute to eight, and then your own priority is to get your stuff off the stage as quickly as possible. People might want photos or whatever, do that later. Get your stuff off the stage and then the headline band and their crew will think you’re great. They’d be more inclined to get you back again.

Spilling drinks on stage? no. If you do, wipe it up. Don’t expect other people to do it for you. You’d like to think that’s obvious but apparently not. Even going on a couple of minutes early just to allow time if you have a technical issue or break a string or something. Just so you don’t have to cut any songs and can still finish on time!

Things like that are just little things we’ve learnt over time. It’s really important to conduct yourself well in a gig situation. Even if it’s just the promoter that gets good feedback, they’re going to ask you back. It obviously helps if you can bring a few people who are wearing your shirts and stuff as it’s like ‘oh okay, they’ve sold a few tickets’.

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Anchor Lane: ‘New music is coming!’

Another interview from Call of the Wild Festival, this time with the amazing Anchor Lane. Check it out as we talk about the bands new sound and where they want to go with it in the future!

How was the gig?

It was good fun! We enjoyed it. It was nice to play outdoors again. We did a couple outdoors last year, we did the Rock & Blues Custom Show in Derby and we did a secret festival which was a bit ominous at the time!

So, what happened to your bassist?

Up in Glasgow! Back home!

So we had a bassist and we’re still great pals. We were right in the midst of writing a new album and going on tour and so we gave him to option of if he was in or not. It’s totally fine but then was the time to say.

So now we run with the SPD and backing tracks, which are great. The sound engineer loved it, he said it’s so nice to have a band that’s not got that muddy bass on stage. It’s definitely been an adjustment!

Your name seems to be everywhere at the minute, is it nice to start getting that buzz?

Yeah it’s good! I think the thing is is that we’ve had a really good last six months or so going out with Wayward Sons and with Ricky Warwick and both were quite long tours. Like 10 dates each. So quite a lot of dates to actually go out and start getting a bit of a fanbase across the UK. We’ve had chance to do it in small bursts but now to get those opportunities for a band that are still starting out to get on with a proven touring band, it gets us in the conversation of bands that tour so it’s easier to get the next one!

You’re on a pretty gruelling schedule with your tour at the minute, right?

Yeah! It’s been a really really busy few months. There’s obviously a bunch of stuff that we can’t talk about. And fitting all the touring in between that has been a real slog. But this is what we want to do. I think that’s when you find if it is for you or not. It’s gruelling but it’s awesome. This is what we love doing, in a van travelling around and playing music, it’s great!

Check out our last interview, with Reckless Love, here.

Do you have any advice you could give for a band just starting out?

Learn to drive. Get your drivers licence as soon as possible. The amount of bands where none of them can drive and it’s like ‘what the fuck, how do you get your stuff there?!’ Some of them just get taxis which is insane, they’re not going to be making any money. It’s bad enough hiring vans! It’s one less obstacle, in which there are a lot in this industry.

Obviously you guys are (have at the time of writing), playing Download, what’s that like?

It’s terrific! Personally it’s a big dream of mine, it’s an iconic thing. I feel like technology has aged so quickly I remember I would get a copy of Kerrang! which had the announcement. Maybe I was just behind the times but yeah, then to have your own bands name on there is kinda crazy!

Obviously you’ve got Biffy Clyro and Iron Maiden and Kiss and all these other bands and their logos and then it’s like right at the bottom it’s Anchor Lane, fucking yeah!!

And you guys just did a live(ish) album, how did that come about?

We’ve got a friend who does amazing sound production, he actually did the bands first EP way back when. We wanted to do some live stuff so we thought why not put something together that keeps the ball rolling and shows that also Casino and is still relatively fresh we sound a wee bit different. We’ve got a different drummer, we’re playing some different tunes, we have different haircuts which makes it sound different so we just thought lets put something out. It’s one of my favourite things that we’ve done actually, it’s aesthetically pleasing, it’s very well lit of all things.

It caught a moment in time as well because it was the four of us and it was the last recorded thing we did with Mathew. I think he’d left about three weeks prior to its release. It was quite nice that we released it as the last sort of thing he contributed to.

And it’s also just hearing the album in a different way. It was fun to do, as well. Just to go in the room and play the songs.

And are you guys writing again?

New music is coming. That’s about it! That’s kinda the thing for us is we’ve got this new sound we’ve been developing and we’ve got a live show thought out and we’re very excited for it. We want to move forward with that so it’s coming soon. Hopefully we’ll have more to talk about at the end of this tour!

They’ve been going down really well, gone down a storm. Lots of people are enjoying them. It’s not like you need people’s approval, we wouldn’t put something out if we didn’t believe in it, but it’s always nice to see other people enjoying it too!

Reckless Love: ‘We’ve all had more time to dig deeper into our influences to actually create something new!’

Part four of our Call of the Wild 2022 interviews sees us talking to the headliners Reckless Love! Check out as we talk about their latest album, their plans for touring and their sabbatical!

What’s it like to finally be playing the festival?

Yeah, I mean it’s the first festival of the season and our first show in the UK for I don’t know how many years. At least four years. It’s the first time we’ve flown abroad since 2020. So super special!

You’ve just put out a new album, it seems to have gone down pretty well?

Yeah, the feedback has been amazing. Following the streaming numbers it’s been the best streaming by far from any of our albums.

It’s been 6 years since the the last album. We toured for two, two and a half years after the last album, InVader, which came out in 2016. After that we decided to have a sabbatical for a year, year and a half, because we had been touring for like eight years in a row. So we took the time to step back and get some fresh inspiration.

Then of course we booked a huge tour for 2020 that was supposed to be the ten year anniversary of the first album. We all know how it ended up. So it ended up being six years away from the studio. We never wanted the break to be that long but sometimes it goes like this. It can be really frustrating, and it was at times, but we’re really happy that we made it back.

Has the tour been pushed back then?

Yeah, we just skipped the whole anniversary thing and it’s now called the Turborider tour. We’ve got the new album out, why not celebrate it!

We’re back over here in late August and we’re starting the European tour from here. We’re going for like 5 weeks and we plan on just playing and touring all year.

Check out our last interview with Archy and the Astronauts here.

What would you say the music scene is like at the minute?

We’ve actually only done five shows in Finland before this one. It’s quite literally a fresh start for us.

When it comes to the music scene, the creative break that everyone was forced to take was actually really good for the business. The actual business side of things is in a sad state, so many sound engineers and backliners and technicians have gone out of business. So many bands have quit. But then again we’ve all had more time to dig deeper into our influences to actually create something new. Get inspired in new ways.

We’ve seen in these few shows that people are so enthusiastic coming out to these shows. They’re craving for it. At first it feels like people are a bit afraid, looking around like ‘there are so many people in this room, can we actually be here?’. Then after three songs they’re like this is fucking good!

Is there anything we can expect for tonights show and for the tour?

Of course we’re going to do some old ‘classics’. We’re never going to forget the parts which got us here. But yeah, we’ve got some new stuff on the live set and some new drum sounds and some cool stuff that we purchased for the new album. And so the old songs sound fresh as well. It’s like a hybrid of the synthwave style. A turbocharged Reckless Love gig!

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