Last Saturday saw a heavy line up at Nottingham’s infamous little venue, The Angel Microbrewery. On the bill were Cave Killer, Black Mass, Altered, CottonMouth, Those Once Loyal, Bad Llama (a personal favourite band name of the night) and Micreant. By the band names alone, you can see what type of music the crowd were up for.
The venue itself is not what I expected – for a microbrewery there was a lot of people in the main bar, sectioned off side rooms, outside area and upstairs in the live music room. The outdoor area, although small, is brought to life with colourful graffiti – giving it a more modern vibe compared to the rest of the building. Similarly, the venue upstairs – “The Chapel” – gives credit to it’s name with some original features in the building’s structure but it has been revamped for today’s scene. It was a surprising little gem in Nottingham’s city centre, complimented by the friendly bar staff, and would be worth a visit if you fancied a taste of the local music scene.
Altered were only scheduled to perform a day before the event, filling in for a band on the list last minute. To say they had 24 hours to prepare and it was only their second gig back since the pandemic, they did an incredible job of performing as a tight band. Off stage, Altered are a friendly group of guys who seem like they genuinely get on. It would have been nice to see some more of their personality and band interaction whilst on stage, but that was probably limited due to their performance slot – with just half an hour to impress a crowd, it can be difficult to make everything fit. Their set featured mostly heavy vocals with the occasional clean line but unfortunately this was a little difficult to hear with the sound level mix of instruments – a reoccurring theme for the entire night. Overall, they had a great performance with a lot of appreciation from the crowd and, if you’re into a heavy scene then they’re definitely a band to see live.
We spoke to Altered about their set and what they’ve been up to recently.
How was the band during the pandemic?
“In general it was very nightmareish – I imagine for all of us because you can’t exactly get stuck in doing what you enjoy like getting out gigging, making a name for yourself. But it didn’t hinder any of the writing processes. There was still a lot happening in the background. Just because you weren’t able to get onto a stage doesn’t mean you couldn’t do anything at all.”
“The main thing that came out of it was that we had two members leave and two members join straight after and they’re very involved, a very good fit. And it gave them the opportunity to learn all of the material as well really. So the first time we met them was actually doing our first music video. We had seen them on video call but the first time we met as getting this video booked in, meeting each other and then driving off into some field to do a video.”
“So it was kind of a gift and a curse, lockdown.”
“It did make things better in the long run but at first it was a bit like ‘where’s this going?’ Some doors close, others open.
How did you end up on the line-up?
“Last night we got a message from our manager and they asked us to play it and we thought why not because we were coming to see Miscreant anyway.”
Are you guys on tour now?
“We’ve had talks of a short thing happening next year but nothing crazy. It’s just a weekend but we’re touring with a band that we’ve shown a little bit of interest in them and they’ve shown a little bit of interest in us. So we’ll see how that goes. A band called Seventh Sea! I’d say we’re quite similar. It’s a good line up. We are similar but they’ve got their own thing and we’ve got our own thing. We’ve also got a show in Huddersfield on the 26th September and that should be good.
So with your new line up and gigs coming up, does that mean we can expect new music soon?
“Oh absolutely yeah. We don’t have an exact date yet but it should be this year and it should definitely be some time soon. You can expect a lot of energy and a lot of emotion. I try to connect with my audience vocally. Try and reciprocate their feelings with my own. Fairly original but familiar as well. We all have our own inputs into what we write and there’s nobody in this band saying ‘you shouldn’t do this and you shouldn’t do this.’ It’s like ‘here’s what we’ve got, bring something to the table.’ I feed my own emotional experience into the lyrics but I also try and write them in such a vague manner that anybody could interpret it, put it to their own circumstances and it would still make sense. That’s the type of vibe I go for. Everybody brings something to the table. That’s why I think we’re quite unique. A lot of the time maybe it’s own or two people but we really try to include everyone in the writing process.”
Next on the line up were CottonMouth. Initially, they opened with a Black Sabbath style riff with a doom rock kind of vibe. This changed throughout their set and sometimes fell more into the metal genre – I genuinely wouldn’t be able to pin point their sound. They featured more clean vocals than any other band on the set but again this was slightly ruined by the mix of instruments. The vocalist had a nice gritty sound to their tone without ruining their range. All members of the band were excellent and performed tightly. With just five singles out, I would be interested in hearing an album with a few slower tracks – I can picture them performing an awesome a rock/metal ballad.
Miscreant were the headlining band for the Angel’s day of arguably death-core artists. We spoke to the band before their set to find out more about what they’ve been up to and what we can expect.
Are you on tour at the moment?
“We’re playing here and there. Waiting for everything to get back after Covid I think. So it’s been pretty up and down. There’s people booking things and then getting cancelled so we’re just getting rid of a bit of stage rust right now and getting back into the swing of things finally.”
How did you find it during the pandemic?
“We didn’t really practice but we were working on new stuff. I was find being in the house during the pandemic to be honest. A bit of me time for a year and a half, I loved it.”
“We got practicing on our own stuff.”
“We became better individual musicians so when we got back in the rehearsal room and for first practice it was there straight away.”
Does this mean we can expect new music?
“During the pandemic we were in the studio so we’ve got a couple of singles that will be coming out at the start of next year.”
“We also did a music video for one of the singles and some promos recently as well.”
“We’ve been busy. We’ve also got another project. We’ve been working on a lot of new music.”
How did you find the writing process during the pandemic compared to normality?
“I think we were alright individually anyway and then we collaborate with our producer. Our singer does the majority of the lyrics, vocal melodies and stuff. So there’s a lot of back and forth between him and our producer which is normally done sort of online anyway. It’s normally virtual so it’s been pretty much just the same.”
You’ve had a new bass player! How have you found joining the band?
“It’s been good so far. I’ve known the guys for years anyway since the first EP, seven years now, so it felt quite natural. It used to mainly be a guitarist and then it just happened that these guys needed a bass player so I filled in. After one gig I was asked to join. It’s been fun.”
Do you have anything coming up?
“We have a Nottingham show in December with InVisions at Ye Old Salutation. We get on with InVisions, we’re on the same record label.
What do you do and don’t like about the music industry right now?
“I’d say it’s over diluted now I think. Fifteen years ago when I first started, there was a mystery behind local bands and you could get into local newspapers and stuff. And now it’s everywhere over social media, it’s kind of diluted it. Streaming sort of killed the amount of money you can make off it. I think it’s down the toilet to be honest. The music industry needs a serious injection of something but I don’t know what.”
“Although, at the same time, it is bouncing back at the minute because of Covid. Loads more people are going out to restaurants so I think that might be translated to the music industry. People are more up for going out now because they haven’t been for ages. So maybe that could bring it back a little bit.”
“Not going to shows was probably one of the hardest things [during the pandemic.] It’s where everyone gets together and has a good time. Obviously, 18 months without that is rough. And then with all the uncertainty when a gig is planned it’s like ‘will it go ahead or will it get cancelled?’ You just don’t know. So I think that’s the rough part with Covid and the music industry but it is bouncing back and it’s just refreshing.”
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