Review – Galahad – Seas of Change – by Kevin Thompson

A columnist from an upmarket daily mentioned recently, that this time of year isn’t good for new music. How do these people get employed?

Two weeks into the new year and the quality of releases out and arriving are breathtaking, in scope and variation. Anticipation is at fever pitch at the expectation of numerous releases from new artists and old hands and I for one am looking forward to what the year brings.

Galahad’s ‘Seas Of Change’ is one of my most eagerly awaited. Having been a fan of Stu and the band from the earliest days I have always admired that, whilst they have their trademark sound, they have never been afraid to experiment and push the boundaries. Having followed a heavier path of late (last year’s release, ‘Quiet Storms’, being an exception) ‘Seas Of Change sees the band mixing their various musical guises to give us a veritable melting pot of all that was, is and now will be Galahad.

Though I was sad to hear of long term guitarist Roy Keyworth departing the fold, the return of the wonderfully talented Lee Abraham riding on the crest of his excellent solo album ‘Colours’ and formidably wielding the guitars here, adds a refreshing impetus to the band demographic.

Talking of sound, keyboardist Dean Baker should give himself a huge slap on the back for writing all the music and compositional arrangements on ‘Seas Of Change’. He has done a impressive job in creating an ‘epic feel’ of an album, a feast for the aural senses. A sweeping panorama of sound that crashes like a tidal wave through your sound system, drenching you in it’s thrall. That’s before we get to mention just how good he actually is as a keyboardist and conjurer of effects.

As for Mr Stu Nicholson’s vocals, they have to my ears never sounded or fitted the material better. Let us also not forget the valued contributions from the formidable engine room, Spencer Luckman on drums & percussion, combined with the return of Tim Ashton on bass guitar. The album also features long term Galahad honorarian, the lovely Sarah Bolter, sprinkling the album with fragrant flute, clarinet and soprano sax.

It takes someone of a certain quality to harness all this energy and polish it into a glistening diamond. No problem there as ‘Seas Of Change’ was mixed and mastered, most ably, at Thin Ice Studios in Surrey by the magician that is Karl Groom, producing a sound as clear and fresh as a crystal lake, all nicely wrapped in a wonderful album cover by the ever talented Paul Tippett.

“So what of the album itself?” I hear you cry,  “the subject, content and the tracks?”

There is dear reader, only one ‘Cecil B. DeMille’ size track that comprises the whole album.

According to Stu it was intended to be all of seven minutes but grew into the force formidable to which it now stands. Galahad have never shied from difficult, thorny subjects and if you are looking for English, pastoral poetry, with hearts and flowers, look elsewhere.

Stabbing at the heart of the government, this merry band of men (and lady) take politics and politicians skilfully and tactfully to task over Brexit, the public debates surrounding and following it, as the politicians have circled like sharks with the British public as bait, causing much confusion.

With a wry nod and a wink Galahad deliberate through the music as it rises and falls, majestic one moment, reflective the next. The quality of the material, musicianship and sound is faultless. This album cannot be dipped in and out of, but must be consumed as a whole which if you do, you should find most satisfying, whether your palate be to a fine glass of merlot or a huge feast.

If you have sampled the band before and found them not to your taste I will not force feed you, but merely ask you try this album or you could miss out on one of the tastiest releases of 2018. Me? I’m off back for seconds…

Released 22nd January 2018

Order ‘Seas of Change’ direct from the band here…

 

 

 

Review – Arcaeon – Balance – by Emma Roebuck

A band so new they have not reached their first birthday release their first EP and stamp a clear identity on the music they create. Based in Reading, self defined Prog Metalcore band Arcaeon give us 4 songs and try to show the variation and style they are writing and performing.

The album opens with Endeavour and a deceptive ethereal guitar riff and what I assume is guitar synthesised melodic line that begins to intensify and then drops into a power chord and heavy bass line as William Alex Young begins his vocals. Like a shock trooper in a musical war he hits hard and strong with deep and rasping tones for the first verses and to reinforce the Prog credentials the Metalcore shifts, the manic becoming calm and the storm fades. A voice not entirely dissimilar from James Hetfield comes from the speakers but, like the eye of a hurricane, that passes and the storm returns.

Fade has a similar mix of vocal styles and rhythm variances with harmonies and screaming and pounding bass lines. It is intricate and technical along with a high level of skill involved, the discipline and control involved is impressive. The contrasting use of clean vocal harmonies and the intense growling gives an interesting and additional element to the music. The guitar lines shift from frenetic then calm soloing eases the mind lulling it into a false sense of security.

Mind’s Eye opens up and immediately I am reminded of Maschine’s last album and Kyros, tight and melodic before they shift into the powered vocals for the verse and an out of nowhere a guitar solo that comes straight out of the classic rock playbook. There are moments when the intensity relaxes and shows that these guys are capable and talented musicians and can deliver more than just one style.

Dysaxis opens with a dial up modem connecting and drops into a similar pattern of mixed rhythmic and bass driven sound with the guitar and effects dancing round it! Eifion and Joe are in tune with each other totally.

Arcaeon are one of the increasingly large number of band that are coming from influences such as Muse, Animals As Leaders, Opeth and TesseracT rather than the route of bands from 40 years or more ago. They are young, keen and ambitious and appear at first glance to have no real connection to Progressive Rock in the traditional way. It was inevitable that the “golden age bands” would lose their grip as an influence as time distanced them from young musicians. BUT they draw from bands that had those bands as influences, so the experiences are second hand and so less precious to them. The metalcore aspect will not be for everyone but it does have merit and skill and is progressive. They are learning their art and will grow and that will be an interesting journey to follow. I can see this being a great and powerful live experience as well.

This is not music for the faint-hearted neither do I think that the fans of the pastoral and symphonic silo of the Prog genre will enjoy this EP. Fans of Opeth, Dream Theater, Ne Obliviscaris and Animals As Leaders will find something to love here. This is one area of the Progressive Rock movement that is getting young and talented bands coming through more and more. They have a young audience too, I think if any band will break through the wall into mass acceptance it will be Arcaeon or of their ilk.

Released 26th January 2018

Order ‘Balance’ from bandcamp

 

VLMV ANNOUNCE UK/EU HEADLINE TOUR – NEW ALBUM ‘STRANDED NOT LOST’ DUE FEBRUARY 2018 ON FIERCE PANDA

South London duo VLMV will release their debut album ‘Stranded, Not Lost’ on February 16th, the follow up to their 2016 mini-album which garnered the self-proclaimed “ambient-ish, post-something” outfit praise from the likes of Lauren Laverne, The Independent, Killing Moon, London in Stereo and more.

These previous releases have earned the band tours with post-rock stalwarts Nordic Giants and New Zealand trio Jakob as well as performances at festivals across Europe where their live show, a blend of the delicate, emotional vocals of Keaton Henson, the compositional beauty of Olafur Arnalds and a touch of the crashing and climactic soundscapes of Sigur Ros & Explosions In The Sky have wowed and hushed audiences all over the continent.

The band, up until recently, known as ALMA (until several cases of mistaken identity with the BBC Sound of 2018 nominee necessitated a branding rethink) have announced their new album ‘Stranded, Not Lost’ is to be released on Fierce Panda on the 16th February 2018. A collection of 10 new compositions from the band that perfectly recaptures the fragile, fragrant essence of their esteemed debut ‘ALMA’ album which hoovered up comparisons to fellow explorers Sigur Ros, Patrick Watson and Explosions in The Sky.

‘Stranded, Not Lost’ is a gorgeous and moving record replete with the kind of brooding, ambient soundscapes, soaring vocals and crashing intensity that have earned the band a small legion of dedicated fans and a fearsome live reputation.

The band, which was formed in 2015 by songwriter Pete Lambrou have been described as sounding like “the background music to an ambient explosion in space”, which is perhaps unsurprising when one considers that as mainstay of Codes in The Clouds and Monsters Build Mean Robots Lambrou’s gently cosmic post-rock provenance is impeccable.

Joined by fellow Code In The Cloudser Ciaran Morahan, VLMV deploy a loop station, multiple delay pedals, a piano and strings to create a slow-moving, high-flying soundscape of luscious gravitas.

When asked about the new album, VLMV’s Pete Lambrou said: Stranded, Not Lost is the first album I’ve written as a whole album, and not just songs that are pieced together to form a sort of best of after a certain period. I built a retreat studio in the basement of my house and buried myself there for a while. I wanted to keep this spatial feel that our previous album had, but create something more intimate. Thematically it’s a very inward album, which I haven’t really done for a long time. I think you can really hear the isolation in there. It’s personal, lonely and regretful.”

The band have also announced a set of UK & EU Tour dates in support of the album:

  • 19/02 – LWL Museum – Munster
  • 20/01 – Le caf & Diskaire – Lille
  • 21/02 – Galerie vom Zufall und vom Glück – Hanover
  • 22/02 – Plama -Gdansk
  • 23/02 – It’s a Bar – Berlin
  • 24/02 – Mózg Club – Warsaw
  • 25/02 – Noch Besser Leben – Leipzig
  • 26/02 – NoD – Prague
  • 27/02 – Andel Music Bar – Plzeñ
  • 28/02 – Le Farmer – Lyon
  • 01/03 – Pole Sud – Saint-Vincent-de-Tryosse
  • 02/03 – BeGood – Barcelona
  • 03/03 – Convent Garden – San Sebastien
  • 04/03 – Mami Txula – Bayonne
  • 16/03 – Archspace – London (Album Launch Show)
  • 22/03 – Glad Cafe – Glasgow
  • 23/03 – The Fox & Newt – Leeds
  • 24/03 – Dubrek Studios – Derby
  • 25/03 – Prince Albert – Brighton

PARADISE LOST TO RELEASE ‘HOST – REMASTERED’ IN MARCH – AVAILABLE ON VINYL FOR THE FIRST TIME

On March 16th, Britain’s cult metallers Paradise Lost will release a remastered version of their legendary seventh studio album, ‘Host’ and a first-ever pressing of the songs on vinyl. Originally released in 1999, ‘Host’ earned Paradise Lost their reputation as West Yorkshire’s musical chameleon, as it saw the band moving further away from their previous death metal roots to a melancholic and catchier electropop sound.

Singer Nick Holmes comments: “With the ‘Host’ album we wanted to take the ‘One Second’ concept further and make a very dark album with even more subtlety. It was a bold leap from all our previous albums, a leap too far some would say, but for me, the new remastered version really shows it’s still one of the band’s strongest albums in terms of song writing, atmosphere and sheer misery.”  

The album will be available as digipack and in three different vinyl colours (black, clear and mint) for the first time ever. Pre-order started yesterday, you can get your copy here:

http://nblast.de/ParadiseLostHostNB

Pre-order digitally and receive ‘So Much Is Lost’ instantly, here: https://smarturl.it/HostRemastered

The band’s latest doom metal monster ‘Medusa’ is now in stores and has been featured in a number of end of year lists for 2017 in the likes of Metal Hammer, Decibel and Rock Hard Italy.

http://nblast.de/ParadiseLostMedusaNB

You can catch the band live on their upcoming UK tour or on the following festivals:
15.02.  UK       Colchester – Arts Centre
16.02.  UK       Portsmouth – Wedgewood Rooms
17.02.  UK       Bristol – Thekla
18.02.  UK       Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
20.02.  UK       Belfast – Limelight 2
21.02.  IRL       Dublin – Tivoli
 22.02.  UK       Glasgow – Classic Grand
23.02.  UK       Manchester – Gorilla
01.04.  D         Munich – Dark Easter Metal Meeting
04.04.  BG       Sofia – 12 Years of Tangra Mega Rock
04. – 07.07.     D         Ballenstedt – Rockharz Open Air
11. – 14.07.     E          Vivero – Resurrection Fest
 20./21.07.       FIN      Laukaa – John Smith Rock Festival
08. – 11.08.     CZ        Jaromer – Brutal Assault
10./11.08.       NL        Leeuwarden – Into the Grave
15.08.  D         Dinkelsbühl – Summer Breeze
PARADISE LOST are:
Nick Holmes | vocals
Greg Mackintosh | lead guitars
Aaron Aedy | rhythm guitars
Steve Edmondson | bass
Waltteri Väyrynen | drums

Review – The Strawbs – The Ferryman’s Curse – by James R. Turner

If, like me in the early 90’s, all you knew about the Strawbs was the Hudson-Ford penned hit Part of the Union, upon discovering the album ‘Hero & Heroine’ in my parents record collector, it was hard to believe it was the same band, my love for the Strawbs grew as their albums were finally remastered and reissued (with some gems like ‘Deadlines’ being picked up at a Record Fair around 1994 on the original vinyl) and their transition from folk to rock (being placed in the prog bracket) a far more dramatic metamorphosis than that of Fairport Convention (who ironically went the other way, from psychedelic proto prog to the folk rock pioneers we know and love) with David Cousins unique vocals and lyrics, and Dave Lambert on electric guitar, and band members like Rick Wakeman, John Hawken, Blue Weaver, Chas Cronk and Tony Fernandez passing through the ranks in the 1970’s, they were a who’s who of top quality players. Through their reunions throughout the 80’s, their acoustic Strawbs and return of the full Electric band, and resurgence with albums like ‘Deja Fou’‘The Broken Hearted Bride’, as well as classic live albums and archive releases, the bands legacy is assured. If you ever catch them live both the full electric, and acoustic trio are musicians at the top of their game, putting together some fantastic shows.

Now 8 years after their last studio album ‘Dancing to the Devils Beat’, the Strawbs return with what is probably their finest record since their golden period of the 1970’s. Produced by the legendary Chris Tsangarides (who sadly died in January) and with the core line up of David Cousins, Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk (three of the five members who recorded the classic albums ‘Hero and Heroine’ and ‘Ghosts’) and long term drummer Tony Fernandez are joined by  ‘new boy’ multi-instrumentalist Dave Bainbridge (currently touring in Lifesigns with former Strawbs keyboard player John Young – it’s such a small world isn’t it?), and whose work with Iona nicely dovetails with the original folk rock orientated sound of the Strawbs, and he fits perfectly in here, contributing considerably to the sound (on both guitar and keyboards) and songwriting with a writing credit on 5 of the 10 tracks on here.

Opening with the hauntingly wonderful symphonic In the Beginning, which segues nicely into The Nails from the Hands of Christ, where David Cousins is a lyrically sharp as ever and a subtle nod to older songs like the Man Who Called Himself Jesus.

In fact the band references themselves even more on the epic title track, a sequel to the equally magnificent The Vision of the Lady of the Lake from 1970’s ‘Dragonfly’ album.

It is of course one of the finest songs the Strawbs have done for many a year, echoing the original and rounding off the story superbly.

However that doesn’t mean that the band are merely relying on old glories and lazily retreading the past, that is absolutely not the case, as the classic Strawbs sound is there, along with the unmistakable vocals of David Cousins, but this is a contemporary Strawbs album. Musically the band are as tight as they have ever been, and Dave Bainbridge sounds like he’s been in the band forever, his keyboard work opening up the beautiful When the Spirit Moves has to be heard to be believed, whilst Dave Lambert’s caustically brilliantly bluesy The Ten Commandments shows he’s lost none of his edge either.

In fact the guitar work throughout this album is stunning, from the beautiful solos on The Familiarity of Old Lovers (with it’s lyrical twist being a contemporary classic piece of Cousins wordsmithery) to the closing We Have The Power, this is a band on top form.

With superb instrumentals like The Reckoning that leads into The Ferryman’s Curse, there is so much to love about this record. From the vocal contrasts between Cousins, whose voice is nicely maturing, Cronk and Lambert, a Strawbs trademark if ever there was one, to the sharpness of Cousins lyrics, showing the wit, the bite and the observation of human nature is still there, right through to the fact that this is a band who, despite being around in one form or another for over 50 years, are not going down the easy route of playing the nostalgia circuit.

The material on this album will more than fit into a set that showcases the best of the Strawbs, and proves that they still have plenty to say, plenty to play and on this album show bands that are much younger than them, how it is done.

Released 3rd November 2017

Order from Cherry Red:

The Ferryman’s CurseThe Strawbs

Review – Lunatic Soul – Fractured – by Kevin Thompson

Life, like glass, is a fragile thing. Blows to both cause them to crack and fracture, delicately hanging the shards together as fissures creep across the surface, threatening to shatter at any moment.

Sharp edges and words cut deep red like blood and run with the dark crimson of passion. The reflections distort and twist our outlook on life.

Glittering and glistening in the light like fond memories slipping between the cracks into darkness, as we try to grasp what we had but see it slipping away and out of reach, things will never be the same.

We pick up the pieces to try and fit them back how they were, but there will always be a difference. How we deal with the changes makes us who we are, the person we evolve to be in the aftermath.

Travis Smith’s album design for ‘Fractured’ captures the essence of this album perfectly, a good start.

Pain can weigh heavy as we seek ways to lighten the load, allowing us to move forward. Not to dwell on Mariusz Duda’s own dramas that have befallen him of late, but the theme of this album under the Lunatic Soul guise, by his own admission is about coming back to life after personal tragedy. It’s inspired by what happened in his life in 2016 and by everything that’s happening around us and what’s making us turn away from one another and divide into groups, for better or for worse.

This catharsis involves him spreading his talents further from the paths run by his previous albums and taking a leaf out of the musical parchments of such luminaries as 80’s electronic masters Depeche Mode and others.

Mixing synth and programmed beats with loops of Duda’s voice, and adding his distinctive complex bass grooves, he creates what is probably his most commercially accessible and varied solo output to date.

From the throbbing beats and looped voice samples, almost aboriginal in tone, with synths and piano building in layers on the first track, Blood on the Tightrope marks a route through the jagged edges of doubt and indecisiveness, a fine balance without falling and edging forward to end on a determined note.

Baring his soul so honestly on this album, the music sometimes reflects a little uncomfortably. As in second track Anymore where sounds and notes flit in and out over the rhythms, jerking as if to remove some of the painful crystals buried in the exposed heart. There are also traces of Peter Gabriel buried in there somewhere.

Crumbling Teeth And The Owl Eyes may be the closest in sound to his Riverside roots on this album and is the first of two tracks on which the Sinfonietta Consonus Orchestra weave their magic nurturing the mood of the song. Mariusz’s struggles with his pain and the way he yearns for the age of childlike innocence to relieve him of this heartache, are hauntingly beautiful.

A darker feel as Red Light Escape scratches at anguish on track four. He explores the way people try to come to terms with tragedy. How some search for an emotional crutch to cling to rather than face their fears and slip back into dependency on things they find comforting, even if it is not necessarily a good thing and prevents them from dealing with the problem, so they can move on.

Title track Fractured has a sparser feel, with Mariusz’s signature bass pulsing as synth and other sounds inject like dark drugs into the grooves of unnerving beat pattern, that leaves you on edge and unsettled.

A hopeful ballad, A Thousand Shards Of Heaven is delicately ushered in with acoustic guitar and the emotional vocals from Mariusz then joined by the wonderful  Sinfonietta Consonus Orchestra once more. It offers glimmers of hope amongst the sadness, as the silky saxophone of Marcin Odyniec floats into the mix and gentle ripples, torn into submission by Wawrzyniec Dramowicz’s syncopatic percussion, a feeling of calm bringing it to a close.

Synth bubbles on Battlefield awash with digital waves and electronica, in this slow burner that builds with rolling, rhythmic percussion. A cautionary warning of the dangers of holding things inside and letting them destroy you and a reflection of the inner fight he has faced and stood strong echoed in the assertive ending.

Moving On with it’s Depeche Mode influences worn on it’s musical sleeve, could easily have been a single. Melodic and catchy, Mariusz bares himself one last time for the listener, to let us know he is not going to let what has hurt him stop him moving forward, climaxing with a few positive notes from the saxophone.

It’s an awkward review, as this is so personal to Mariusz. As you look deeper into it you can feel a little voyeuristic and that you may be prying. But the attitude and bravery he shows in releasing this material is a testament to the man and those around him. He has put a positive spin on everything that has happened and fully embraces the adage ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.

Clearly his best solo output to date, ‘Fractured’ is in some ways a huge departure from previous works, a progression and isn’t that what this album is all about. A tremendous album that I believe everyone should have a copy of, certainly one of the best releases of 2017. Fans may have been concerned for his welfare after what befell him, but Mariusz has reassured us all that he is stepping into the light and the future looks bright.

Released 6th October 2017

Order ‘Fractured’ in all formats from the Kscope store:

Lunatic Soul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review – Bjørn Riis – Coming Home – by Progradar

Haunting and Melancholic are two words that can definitely be used to describe the songs that Norwegian musician Bjørn Riis has delivered on his last two solo releases, ‘Lullabies In A Car Crash’ and ‘Forever Comes To An End’. There is a fragile beauty and poignancy to Bjørn’s songwriting that gives it a captivating, hypnotic attraction.

Airbag co-founder, songwriter and lead guitarist, Bjørn will release his new mini album titled ‘Coming Home’ next month on Karisma Records. His unique guitar playing has a centre role, with soaring leads and beautiful textures.

“I’ve always felt that the guitar is an extension of me and a more comfortable and natural way of expressing myself musically” – Bjørn explains.

“I’m really happy and proud of the vocals this time and the duet with me and (Norwegian singer) Sichelle on Drowning is very emotional” – Bjørn continues.

Lyrically, ‘Coming Home’ deals with the fear and insecurity of being forgotten by the people around you. You imagine all these dramatic scenes and wonder if you’ll ever be missed if something really was to happen.

‘Coming Home’ also features a newly recorded semi-acoustic version of the title track of Bjørn’s 2014 solo debut, ‘Lullabies in a Car Crash’ (Karisma Records). “Lullabies just fit right into the mood and theme of this album. It’s almost become a new song. It’s very honest and moving” – Bjørn explains. The track features Airbag and Bjørn Riis Band touring guitarist Ole Michael Bjørndal on lead guitar.

‘Coming Home’ is almost like a story where the scene is set by the brooding and darkly hued opening instrumental track Daybreak. A real slow burner, it takes a while to get moving with just a building sound that reminds you of a bleak and windswept vista before the deliberate, musing guitar fills the soundscape with a contemplative feel.

A sparse acoustic guitar washes over at the start of title track Coming Home, Bjørn’s slightly faltering vocal is full of emotion as this elegant track continues to gently lull you with its charms. A more laid back feel than the previous album emanates from every note and word as the music seems to meander towards an unseen destination. There’s a slight pause before Bjørn delivers a superb, note perfect guitar solo filled with passion and longing, one that soars high and free as a bird. As the song comes to a close I feel some kind of nostalgic yearning that I just can’t explain.

The wistful, contemplative tone continues with the fantastic Drowning, a song filled with feelings of loss and recrimination but one that still has a sense of wonder about it. The calm and serenity of the guitar and Bjørn’s vocal that open the track can’t shake an underlying aura of foreboding. Sichelle’s vocals add a fragile grace to the harmonies and the music gains added intensity, the guitar giving urgency and desperation to proceedings until it breaks like waves on immovable rocks. Sichelle takes us towards the end with a voice full of regret, the guitar adding a somber accompaniment as we come to a close.

Tonight’s The Night is a haunting (there you go, I told you!) instrumental that has you on the edge of your seat from the first note with its insistent piano and tense , ill at ease mood. There is no let up from beginning to end and I found myself visibly relaxing as the song came to an end.

The acoustic version of ‘Lullabies in a Car Crash’ unsurprisingly has a lighter tone to the other songs, a sepia-tinged piece of music underpinned by a wonderful acoustic guitar. The vocals are gossamer light giving the whole song a 70’s carefree spirit before a subtly powerful guitar solo gets under your skin and takes you to a place of utmost calm and reflection, without a care in the world. A remarkably honest reworking of the original track, it really is like a completely new song.

‘Coming Home’ feels like a very personal collection of songs, full of emotion, haunting and charismatic yet sparser and darker than Bjørn’s previous solo releases. Like all the best music, it needs to be listened to with little or no distractions to enjoy it in all its highly impressive glory. Bjørn Riis is one of those musicians who just gets better and better with each release, highly recommended.

Released 23rd February 2018

Pre-orders open soon at  Bjørn’s website below:

Recordings

 

 

New Sacred Ape album out soon, hear the 8 minute title track from Electric Mountain, pre-orders Friday

Prolific musician John Bassett has announced that pre-orders for the latest album from his 80’s Synthwave / Synthpop side project Sacred Ape will open this Friday, 19/1/18.

Following on from last year’s self-titled debut, ‘Electric Mountain’ promises to deliver more of those retro 80’s sounds that the first album delivered in spades.

John said, “I think, its kind of like a progressive 80’s electronic horror soundtrack, sort of? but that just might be me? I feel this is the closest I’ve got to the sound and style I was hoping to achieve when I first started this project.”

Listen to the title track here:

Originally from Hastings, John now resides in Sligo, Ireland. John Bassett is better known for his work in Metal & Rock with Arcade Messiah & KingBathmat.

Pre-orders will be available on Friday from Sacred Ape’s bandcamp site here

 

AVIV GEFFEN PERFORMING THE SONGS OF BLACKFIELD – NEW DATES ANNOUNCED

Aviv Geffen, the Israeli singer/songwriter as one half of the rock duo Blackfield with prolific British musician Steven Wilson, is taking their critically acclaimed studio album ‘V’ on a new 9-date European tour in January 2018. Following the successful Spring 2017 tour, which saw a surprise appearance from Steven Wilson on the UK dates, European shows with Biffy Clyro and shows with Jake Bugg, Aviv Geffen has answered the many fan requests for more live performances.

Blackfield’s beloved music was recently celebrated with reissues of their classic first two albums on vinyl and CD, with the second also being remastered by Steven Wilson.

19.01.18 – DE – Cologne, Luxor

21.01.18 – UK – London, Oslo

22.01.18 – FR – Paris, Le Pop Up Du Label

23.01.18 – NL – Helmond, Cacaofabriek

24.01.18 – DE – Hamburg, Knust

26.01.18 – IT – Milan, La Salumeria Della Musica

27.01.18 – CH – Luzern – Jazzkantine

29.01.18 – DE – Munich, Strom 

30.01.18 – DE – Berlin, Franz Club

Ticket details www.facebook.com/blackfieldhq

Their latest album ‘Blackfield V’, was written and recorded over 18 months in both Israel and England, and contains 13 linked songs that form a flowing 45 minute ocean themed song cycle.  The duo expertly handle the vocals, guitars, and keyboards, with Tomer Z from the Blackfield band on drums, Eran Mitelman on keys, and string arrangements performed by the London Session Orchestra. ‘Blackfield V’ is a powerful journey through catchy melodies, lush arrangements, and stunning production, with legendary producer / engineer Alan Parsons working on three of the album’s key tracks.

The pair make for a formidable musical force; Geffen has worked with legendary producers Tony Visconti and Trevor Horn, has played live with U2 and Placebo, and is currently a judge on the Israeli TV show The Voice. Wilson, after a long tenure as the leader of the hugely influential band Porcupine Tree, has since embarked on a highly successful solo career, achieving 3 UK top 40 albums (the most recent also making the top 3 in Germany, and The Netherlands), and 4 Grammy nominations.

For the release of their latest album ‘V’, Blackfield revealed two music videos, created by long time collaborator Lasse Hoile (www.lassehoile.com), for the Wilson-penned “From 44 to 48” and for “Lonely Soul”.

All artist photography by Hajo Müller.

Paul Draper (Mansun) announces ‘Spooky Action’ special edition with live album/ Mansun re-issues

Paul Draper has announced details of a special edition of his debut album ‘Spooky Action’. The two CD set features the original album alongside a disc capturing Paul’s triumphant headline show at London’s Scala (recorded on 21st September 2017). The gig was part of a sell-out solo tour, Paul’s first live shows since Mansun stopped touring in 2002. The gig featured tracks from ‘Spooky Action’ (featured in the Prog, Louder than War and Guardian writers end of year charts – “the perfect confection for the later days of the 2010s” Record Collector 5*,), his solo EPs and Mansun’sAttack of the Grey Lantern’ and ‘Little Kix’. The entire gig has been mixed by Paul’s long time collaborator P Dub.

Live at Scala features:

1.     The Silence is Deafening

2.     Don’t You Wait, It Might Never Come

3.     No Ideas

4.     Feeling My Heart Run Slow

5.     Things People Want

6.     Disgusting

7.     Friends Make The Worst Enemies

8.     Grey House

9.     Who’s Wearing The Trousers

10.  I Can Only Disappoint U

11.  Wide Open Space

12.  Don’t Poke The Bear

Spooky Action & Live at Scala will be available as a 2CD set on Kscope on 16th February 2018. A single disc of the live album will be available from independent shops and a very limited signed 2 x 12” vinyl edition will be sold exclusively on Paul’s forthcoming UK tour dates. At those shows, Paul and his band will play a set of solo material before performing Mansun’s classic debut Attack of the Grey Lantern in full for the first time ever on the 21st anniversary of its release. The dates are:

Mon 19th Feb      Brighton The Haunt (sold out)

Tues 20th Feb      Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms

Weds 21st Feb    Bristol Bierkellar

Fri 23rd Feb           Dublin The Workman’s Club

Sat 24th Feb         Belfast Limelight 2

Mon 26th Feb      Edinburgh The Caves

Tues 27th Feb      Glasgow The Art School

Thurs 1st Mar      Manchester O2 Ritz

Fri 2nd Mar            Sheffield Leadmill

Sat 3rd Mar           Newcastle  Riverside

Mon 5th Mar        Nottingham Rescue Rooms

Tues 6th Mar        Norwich The Waterfront

Weds 7th Mar     Oxford O2 Academy

Thurs 8th Mar      London Brixton Electric

Paul Draper was the frontman of Mansun – one of the most iconic bands of the late ’90s. Over the course of three albums (a fourth issued posthumously), they achieved something unique – after fostering a fervent cult following, they managed to maintain critical and commercial success with a series of intensely radio friendly yet increasingly experimental records. Off the back of their biggest radio record, Mansun imploded in 2003 and Paul all but disappeared from view. 

Fast forward to 2017 when Paul released his long-awaited debut solo album, Spooky Action, on Kscope in the summerThe album was the result of a decade of thinking, tinkering, writing, recording and focusing.

Lyrically, biting and brutally honest – an autobiography set to captivating, addictive melody across eleven songs that peak then peak again, then peak again. Taking its cue from 2016’s two EP releases and recorded in collaboration with Catherine AD (The Anchoress) and long time Mansun collaborator PDub, The record’s eleven tracks veer from warped voodoo psych (Don’t Poke the Bear) to glistening synthetic soul (Things People Want); from warped, razor wire rock’n’roll (Grey House) to glorious widescreen analogue pop music (Jealousy Is A Powerful Emotion). Collectively, they represent Paul’s strongest, most consistent set of songs to date – half a lifetime’s work condensed into just over an hour of perfectly formed music.

2017 also saw Kscope acquire the rights to Mansun’s back catalogue. The ground-breaking label will roll out a reissue campaign over eighteen months that will cover the band’s entire history and enhance their reputation as one of the most iconic and innovative bands of the 90s.

Mansun’s four albums – ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’ (1997), ‘Six’ (1998), ‘Little Kix’ (2000) and the compilation ‘Kleptomania’ (2004) – were originally issued by Parlophone. The Kscope reissues will bring these classic records into the modern age by delving into a treasure trove of previously unreleased audio and visual material while fully remastering the original recordings for 5.1 and deluxe 180gm vinyl. This campaign will begin with ‘Attack Of The Grey Lantern’, to celebrate the 21st Anniversary of the album’s release.