REVIEW | Our Hollow, Our Home – Ivory Blacks (29.03.17)

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Fresh off the release of their debut full-length album Hartsick, Southampton melodic metalcore outfit Our Hollow, Our Home embarked on a tour across the UK to promote the new record, with them being joined by Hull group Sworn Amongst.

The sixth show would bring the two to Ivory Blacks in Glasgow, courtesy of Bubble Tea Records.


Turbyne from Dumfries commenced the evening, and they had on offer three lengthy, jam-packed numbers with some complex rhythms that had a classic metal feel to them.

The synths were cool, there was some great drumming and the vocals were tip-top, but the most noteworthy aspect had to be the guitar work, with stylish riffs that were very slick and calculated.

If there was one minor issue we had, it would be that their movement was somewhat restricted, which we found surprising considering their big sound, but it was most likely the result of opening slot slog.

Despite that fact, as they finished with a cover of Dio’s Holy Diver to “cheer us up”, we were left impressed by them; a statement echoed by a few others in attendance.


After a delayed set-up, Edinburgh’s A Plea, A Promise stepped up to the plate next and did nicely. In the midst of smoky floodlights, the guys showcased a little more activity on stage than their predecessors.

With Justin perching himself on the monitor and yelling out to the audience, the quintet were well synchronised with each other and gave us some of the heftiest drops this side of the border.

For us, the stand out tracks were Fame and the highly passionate Grief.  A very solid effort, overall.


Sworn Amongst followed and, engulfed in an excessive amount of smoke, would proceed to blow us away.

For starters, their stand-in singer Jack was a behemoth; possessing one hell of a guttural voice and being in the zone all the way through without ever missing a beat. Adding to that, there were blistering solos aplenty and booming rhythms.

They killed it with the likes of Through The Eyes Of The Decimated and Under A Titan Sky, but the best of the lot had to be The Resistance which, aside from being absurdly catchy, thrilled with a massive chorus and drew us in with strong lyrics.

Top it all off with an immense presence and fierce breakdowns, and you had ourselves a superb showing from, for our money, one of the tightest live bands in the British underground metal scene today.


With that said, Our Hollow, Our Home were a force to be reckoned with in their own right.

Connor was a charismatic frontman who was really immersed in his performance, and his screams mixed well with guitarist Tobias’ harmonies. There were potent riffs, chunky bass lines and formidable drumming on display throughout. The five were also very energetic up there, bouncing around madly to a point where bassist Bobby got overzealous and stumbled over, much to Josh’s amusement.

While on the still side, the crowd appeared to be hooked as the artists tried to get them involved as much as possible, and there was even a few folk singing back. As predicted, they played material from Hartsick, with highlights including Throne To The Wolves, Feast For The Crows and latest single Karmadillo.

Wrapping up with Rest Assured, their second outing in Glasgow proved to be quite a blast.

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW | Halo Tora – La Belle Angele (26.03.17)

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In the past couple of years, Halo Tora from Glasgow have built themselves into one of the most renowned progressive rock acts in Scotland, with their career highlight being their very successful award-winning debut album Omni\One.

As of late, they have been on a little tour across the country, which would finish up on Mother’s Day at La Belle Angele in Edinburgh.


Opening the show was artist Robert Kilmurry, who was an unexpected late addition to the line-up. He had a vigorous voice, good lyrics at his disposal, and in general displayed lots of spirit, with the most notable points of his performance being Bite My Tongue, the vintage Out Of Time and a solemn, yet-to-be-named tune.

We got a preview of some pieces from his forthcoming Falling Down EP, but the highlight for us was Set Me Free, in which he turned the guitar sideways and tapped out chords whilst producing beats with his instrument being implemented as a makeshift cajon.

We don’t know about anyone else there in attendance, but he assuredly made an instant connection with us.


Fife rock and roll quartet Concrete Kingdoms were determined to turn up the dial, and they somewhat did so.

Despite supposedly suffering from the dreaded man flu, frontman Neil got the job done fine enough and certainly had spurts of energy here and there. Their set of tracks offered us a mixture of flashy riffs, solid rhythms and the occasional engaging chorus, with the best of the lot by far being Broken Down.

Admittedly, it was on the flat side at first, but given time they left us adequately satisfied.


Halo Tora were quick to remind us exactly why we were fans of them in the first place.

The harmonies meshed perfectly, and the intricate riffs were just impeccable, with Chris and Ian complimenting each other ridiculously well in that regard. The bass lines were neat, the keys helped to heighten the atmosphere and the drums added an extra element of force.

With all those aspects put together, as demonstrated in the likes of Permanent Revolution, Age Of Terror and an array of fresher material, they generated an massive, immersive sound like other few bands in the local scene can.

 

 

REVIEW | Peur – 13th Note (25.03.17)

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In March 2017, Manchester trio Peur embarked on a successful tour across the UK, following the release of their latest single Who Is Your God, with it culminating at the 13th Note in Glasgow where they have had quite the dedicated following build up in the last few years.


Mantis Toboggan kicked off the proceedings, donning summery shirts and comic book pyjamas…as you do.

Via the likes of AmsterdamSpaceman Spliff and Desert Sun, the groovy funk-rockers indulged with stimulating riffy goodness, mighty fine bass lines and quite the performance from Chrispy, who unleashed his inner lunacy in beautiful fashion.

The four of them were very animated, and caused such a stir that we noticed several by-passers stopping at the door to check them out. But definitely the highlight was when they briefly paused in the middle due to technical problems and Chrispy read an excerpt from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography Total Recall.

They were tonnes of fun and gave us a chuckle for all the right reasons.


Mannequin Mannequin had a tough act to follow, and unfortunately they struggled at first just getting set up. Early on, the levels were inconsistent and there was a constant blaring of feedback.

Despite this, they battled on and eventually settled in, with focal points including Bent Out Of Shape and Inner Shell which had cool bass work on display, Dead In The Water featuring decent harmonies and good drumming, and tunes such as Haiku, The Olive Branch and our personal favourite Chasm, 1917 were driven by catchy melodies and the guitars got to shine.

Not the smoothest of rides for the Ayrshire quartet, but ultimately it turned out to be a very solid set under the circumstances.


For what would be the second time, we had the privilege of witnessing Hershel’s Head, and they knocked it out the park.

Their new material was smashing, and they entertained with old favourites from their Degenerate Art EP; namely Sad LasersDeathclock and Rosenberg.

The dapper-dressed Andrew worked up a hell of a sweat, churning out aggressive riffs and demonstrating a fierce edge in his voice. Meanwhile, he was backed up by the tight duo of Derek, who swiftly banged out chords, and Fraser who was giving it his all and having the time of his life, even if he did bugger up the intro of the closing number.

The three had an impeccable chemistry which was in clear view, and overall they were just brilliant, again proving the potential they have to reach grander heights.


We were knackered, but regardless still buzzing for Peur, who we had not seen since the summer of 2014.

With projected imagery in tow, they sucked us in with a great intro track before leading into Who Is Your God, highlighted by stunning guitar stylings, hard-hitting fills and latching lyrics.

From there, they would go on to play the rest of their upcoming album in its entirety, impressing throughout with aspects such as big choruses, dynamic rhythms and plenty of energy on stage.

Hollow Skies brought a smile to the faces of the long-time loyalists, even if Joe was struggling for breath when it came to the singing. Even a middle-aged drunkard momentarily came in to join in the party, getting up close and personal with promoter Murray.

Capping off with the climatic Explore, it was a highly enjoyable effort from the triad that did more than enough to leave us and the attendees stirring.

 

 

REVIEW | Create To Inspire – The Attic (22.03.17)

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When discussing the best of music acts to emerge from Essex, then you could not possibly neglect Create To Inspire from the equation.

Following their initial debut back in 2012, the guys were quick to make an instant impact, receiving critical acclaim for their two EPs – Halfway Home and Home Is Where My Heart Dies – and they have become renowned for their talents ever since.

Moving into 2017, they announced the news that we have been all dying to hear for ages – a debut full-length album on the horizon titled Sickness. From there, they unveiled a batch of UK shows and, much to our delight, they included a Glasgow one that was hosted at The Garage Attic.


We knew nothing about Black Blood heading in, but we damn sure remembered their name coming out. It was pretty clear the Dundonians were going to give everyone their money’s worth.

The guys demonstrated tonnes of vitality on stage, blasting our ears with resonating fills and hefty breakdowns. Guitarist James twirled many a time, and vocalist Innocente only got better as the set went on.

But most importantly, they had the crowd hooked. The quintet encouraged movement, which is usually a rare sight for your typical opening band, but they got just that as the venue became pretty animated with bouncing, clapping and two-stepping galore.

Now THAT is how you kick off a gig.


While the audience were not as active, all eyes were locked on Autumn’s Fallen. They dished out a selection of banging tracks characterised by booming rhythms and some really tight riffs.

Daniel was in control all the way, displaying a real imposing presence and giving it every ounce that he had; a fact for certain, considering he was showered in sweat by the end.

It was loud, it was large, and we personally enjoyed every minute of it.


For what would be the fourth occasion, we were ready to see Lifelines, albeit with a drastic change of line-up.

As always, they were good, in fact you could argue they were more refined than ever. The five of them delivered a charged performance with plenty of intensity to be had.

There were pulsating beats courtesy of some fine drumming, the dual guitars made for a potent combo and new mic-meister John – formerly behind the kit – shined in his role and had the tenacity to back it up.

Boasting a range of new material before eventually wrapping up with the familiar Medicate Me, it was smashing stuff as expected, and we cannot wait for the new album to drop later this year.


Now that we were all done with what was a tasty showcase of the Scottish metal scene, Create To Inspire were ready to step up.

As they commenced with Agony, the crowd immediately congregated towards the front, in which afterwards they knocked up the bar with Sickness, the title track off the upcoming record. They really got the energy going with palpable old favourite Halfway Home, where a few people made the effort to nab the microphone and sing back the words proudly.

Cope was driven by a sweet bass line and featured a massive drop in the middle. Heaps of passion radiated from frontman Sean, who pushed his vocal chords to their very limits; likewise with Recluse, which was topped off by some dynamic riffs.

Sean made his way onto the floor and the place exploded into a frenzy for Counting Days, with scattered heads bobbing, a pit in motion and spit flying in all directions. Meanwhile, guitarist Jack looked very dignified sitting on his box, playing with a broken strap.

Adjust drew us in one last time, with the lyrics again being lovingly yelled back by the attendees, and with that they exited with a serious sense of appreciation.

A captivating experience, to say the least. Our only complaint is that it was a little too short for our liking and it left us hungry for more, but we suppose that is ultimately the greatest compliment you can give any band.

 

REVIEW | Fenella – 13th Note (19.03.17)

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A few weeks ago, an artist by the name of Fenella caught our attention with her most recent single I Will Not Win, released via Little Tiger Records.

In an instant, we were made fans, and luckily for us she just happened to be headlining a show at the 13th Note, so the date was reserved and once the day came, we made our way there.


Russell Stewart was up first, who we had never had the chance to see before. His harmonies had a heartfelt, sincere quality to them, and he was pretty adept in delivering subtle, mellow chords.

Just some of the highlights included The FactSix Months and Talk To Frank, with a versed rendition of Amy Winehouse’s He Can Only Hold Her thrown in as a bonus. He had the full reverent attention of those in attendance, with them latching on to every word.

Aside from a technical fault that forced him to swap instrument, it all went well and he proved to be a worthwhile discovery for us.


We were similarly going in blind to Heir Of The Cursed, who left us taken aback.

Beldina’s voice was spellbinding, her strumming very crisp and the writing so magnetic, with the added reverb only boosting the tingling atmosphere. She had a serious drawing power that had the hairs on the back of our neck on end. Very few musicians have ever had that effect on us, but that was just the case here.

Essentially cutting the chit-chat, she made the most of her half hour set to give us one of the most beautiful, gratifying performances we have seen in a while. This is an individual that more people need to get themselves acquainted with.


And now for Fenella herself. Mairi was just stunning, with her vocals bolstering a real strength that resonated in the small venue, not to mention she hit those high notes with ease.

Her writing was also very charming too, so she was also talented in that regard. Accompanying her was Jack and Kate, who produced nice melodies with smooth riffs and pleasing piano keys respectively.

The set was not without faults however, as the second to last song was cut short and there was moments of confusion between the trio, but otherwise we thought that they were wonderful. We may just have something special on our hands here with Fenella and co, so best to keep a close eye on her.

REVIEW | Bronston – La Belle Angele (18.03.17)

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For seven years now, we have been traversing local gigs in Glasgow and the surrounding areas, but in all that time we have never made the journey through to Edinburgh, and especially with the scene getting better by the day against all odds, there was no reason not to go.

With that in mind, we finally made the leap and headed to the capital to catch Bronston, one of the city’s most promising young acts, who were launching their debut EP – Salutations – at La Belle Angele.


We had heard many good things said about the openers Acrylic, and they lived up to those sentiments awfully well.

The band forged an ambience that had us very memerised at times, thanks to a fusion of gleaming harmonies, subtly sublime chords and smooth beats; all demonstrated in the likes of CoastAwake and All I Am. Andreas the frontman was also quite animated, as he appeared to be sucked into it all.

A stunning performance, to say the least, from a group of guys that clearly have some potential.


Redolent were another act that we were constantly told were must-see.

Shrouded in silhouette and smoke, they had us intrigued with a cool setup where they interchanged between guitars and synths at regular intervals, and with those tools at hand plus great drumming thrown in for measure, they generated an immersive atmospheric sound that had the audience wholly hooked.

Unfortunately, they were hindered by relentless technical issues that stumbled their momentum, but we will not hold that against them because when the gear was willing to co-operate, they were just fantastic and justified the hype behind them.

So even with the problems they encountered, they coloured us impressed and we can not recommend them enough.


It was now time for Bronston to turn up the dial.

They started swimmingly with Still Winning, where the crowd flocked towards the front, before transitioning into Predictable which had a really dainty intro, before it settled into a mild melody.

Adam Campbell was solid on the mic and very skillful with his riffs, particularly in the engaging Para Ti; further elevated by some neat keys and a strong rhythm section.

They entertained us with a collection of new songs, including Leaving UtopiaIndulgence and especially the pairing of I’m Still A Fool and Lana, both of which were remarkable.

They showcased an abundance of energy with their latest single Glamour, captivated with the catchy Where Can I Hide, and soon wrapped up with the awesome I Feel Safe.

Admittedly, they took a little while to find their stride, but eventually they got into the groove and by the end of the hour long set, they had made a bona fide statement.

This was an outstanding success for the fledgling quartet who have only continued to improve and thrive considerably.

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW | Empire – Nice N Sleazy (16.03.17)

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March 2017 – South Western rock band Empire departed for yet another headline tour, going up and down the UK doing what they do best. Joining them, their newfound friends in Chapter And Verse, who looked to continue making an impact and build on their recent wave of momentum.

The fourth night of said tour went down at Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow, which was appearing to be a show full of promise given the line-up at hand.


Opening act Paradigm Shift were the only ones we were going into completely blind, and boy did we feel guilty for not having discovered them much earlier.

With the likes of KarmaSirens and Digital Age, they delivered commanding, sometimes even explosive vocals, a slick flow in the bass department and some breathtaking drum work.

With these combined elements, they captivated us and the bustling crowd in attendance all the way through. An ideal example of how to make a first impression, as well as provide the strongest of starts to a gig.


We were more familiar with Banshee by this point, but the magic of them is that they still give us a fresh, memorable experience every time, and this night was no different.

Even rugged from a day’s travelling, Erin never failed to hold back making the most of our renowned immense voice, in addition to displaying fierce style and tenacity on stage.

The collective group of Gavin, Liam and Gianluca continue to be one of the most tenacious instrumental trios in all of Scotland, with an evidently unbeatable chemistry.

They dished out EaglesStarts With One and Say My Name, as well as newer material which built up our anticipation for their upcoming EP, all of which produced an immersive sound that deserves to grace bigger arenas.


We had been introduced to London rockers Chapter And Verse recently and became quite the fans, so we were looking forward to them, and quite frankly they blew us away.

Frontman Josh killed it, riding on an influx of pure passion through both his tightly-pitched vocals and feverish movement. The rest of the bandmates held up their end of the bargain very well, creating dynamic rhythms with an overwhelming force.

Focal points included Slave, the engaging Ink and the explosive New Breed. The energy was so palpable, we could physically feel it vibrating from the nearby amps. The set capped off with bassist Johnathan going for a wander and climbing on tables, before returning and falling in a heap.

In short, the gents’ second outing in the city of Glasgow was a sensational one, and we would happily pay to see them up here again.


The headliners Empire kicked off with Patchwork & Bone,highlighted by a fervent chorus, before moving on to the infectious Sparrows.

Sights is where Joe’s marvelous harmonies reached their optimum, whilst he demonstrated loads of charisma and rubbed off on everybody with his charming and funny personality.

The massive Hands & Tongues sent the audience into a frenzy, where afterwards a flash of nipples preceded the insanely catchy Future, Past & Present, involving some crowd participation.

The brand new song featured strong riffs and a cracking bass line. They would then turn the dial back up for All The Rage, before being joined by Josh of Chapter And Verse for a meteoric finale in the form of Black Hearts that left the place out of breath and in a buzz by the time it was over.

An incredible gig that will surely go down as one of the best that 2017 will have to offer, courtesy of four astounding acts who brought their own individual qualities to the table and reminded us just how rich the British music scene truly is on both sides of the border.