Archive for Black Emerald

Black Emerald to Release an Album

Posted in Uncategorized, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Concerts with tags , , , , , on May 12, 2017 by 80smetalman

Going back to 2013, when I posted about my trip to the Bloodstock Festival in that year, I wrote about a band I saw in the New Blood Tent by the name of Black Emerald. In that post, I stated that I was so impressed by this band, that my next post was going to be why I thought they should be signed and that I did. Well, it seems that someone out there must have taken notice of me, (delusions of grandeur on my part) because I have been informed that Black Emerald will be releasing their first album in the summer!

Black Emerald at Bloodstock 2013

I don’t know further details about their debut album but I’m sure Sarah, who brought me the news and has been following me since I first put forward my arguments as to why they should be signed will keep me posted. However, if you would like a sample, I have a Youtube video from the band here:

Watch, listen and enjoy and together we can all eagerly await the release of Black Emerald’s debut album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloodstock 2016: Friday- Well Most of It

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2016 by 80smetalman

Old age had caught up with me just after midnight on the Thursday so I decided to call it a night. Trying to get to sleep, I was disturbed by several loud crashes that went on through the night. When I awoke the next morning, Teal, my stepson, tells me about the latest sports craze sweeping Bloodstock, bin jousting. From what he tells me, you get two large dumpster bins, one or more persons to stand on it and then a group of people to push the bin into that of their opponent’s. Whoever falls loses. I would have definitely done something like that in my youth but these days, nah!

My first morning at Bloodstock, I wolf down my breakfast and head for the arena. With no apparent appearance of anyone on the Ronnie James Dio Stage, I head over to the New Blood Stage. Maybe, I’ll find another band like Black Emerald. At 10:30, a three piece band called Witch Tripper from Mansfield, England ascends the stage and immediately blows me away. They were a great power metal band. The guitarist, who is also the lead singer, can definitely shred and he is supported by a very capable rhythm section. They were that good that they held my attention to the point that I never even noticed the first band of the day on the main stage had begun playing. If there were any record scouts watching these guys play and didn’t make them an offer, then shame on you. Witch Tripper was a great start to the Friday morning.

Witch Tripper made the perfect start to the day.

Witch Tripper made the perfect start to the day.

When Witch Tripper finished, I immediately beat feet to the Ronnie James Dio Stage to catch the second half of Hark. I’m glad I did. Hark’s brand of metal followed very nicely from what I had just seen. They were powerful, fierce and hungry and their performance on the stage showed it. While Witch Tripper might have kicked things off for the day, Hark definitely got the show started on the main stage.

Hark

Hark

It was on Teal’s recommendation that I check out the second band on the main stage on Friday, Gloryhammer. My first impression when I heard them was, “They sound a lot like Hammerfall.” Melodic keyboards, fantasy lyrics and at times, a good power sound, yes, all the elements I know of from Hammerfall. Furthermore, all the mannerisms of the band while they were on stage gave the impression that they were from one of the Scandinavian nations. Even the actions of lead singer, Thomas Winkler, had me thinking they were from said reginon. Well, the last bit was all wrong. The members of the band are from Scotland and Switzerland! In fact, Winkler claims he is the heir to the throne of Fife. Still, their music and stage show was very good. I especially liked when they brought a young lady dressed as a medieval serving wench to refresh them. So, while there was still a definite Hammerfall influence here, they were unique enough to rock the stage.

Gloryhammer fulfilling fantasies

Gloryhammer fulfilling fantasies

More Gloryhammer

More Gloryhammer

Heir of Fife addressing his subjects

Heir of Fife addressing his subjects

Tried to get the serving lady, too many hands got in the way.

Tried to get the serving lady, too many hands got in the way.

With a break in the action on the main stage, I heard loud sounds from the Sophie Lancaster Stage. Going to investigate, I discovered the band Brutai blasting away. Silly cliches but Brutai were brutal. They were loud and proud. So loud in fact that work phoned my mobile during their time on stage and I had to walk a good ways from the tent in order to hear the call. They proved to be an enjoyable bridge between Gloryhammer and the next band to ascend the Ronnie James Dio Stage.

Brutai pounding the Sophie Lancaster Stage

Brutai pounding the Sophie Lancaster Stage

Gloryhammer played melodically to people’s fantasies. The next band on the main stage, Evil Scarecrow, simply scared the crap out of people. Their Halloween make up combined with their aggressive thrash metal was not for the feint-hearted. Evil Scarecrow pulverized the stage and anyone who got near enough to hear them. It must be my sub-conscience masochistic tendencies but I kind of enjoyed what I heard. Still, not one to play when your grandmother is visiting.

I wasn't the only one unafraid of Evil Scarecrow

I wasn’t the only one unafraid of Evil Scarecrow

For some reason, Evil Scarecrow left me feeling a bit hungry. I mean there was no drinking of animal blood on stage or anything like that but my stomach was calling. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to feed my face, down a couple of cans in preparation for the long time I was going to be at the front of the main stage. It was always my plan to see three of the last four bands on the Friday and since the other band was the one on before the headliner, I thought I would see them just so I wouldn’t lose my place for the main event.

The first of those bands was Corrosion of Conformity. I listened to one album of theirs back in the 1980s, but that was all. My memory of them was always them being a thrash metal band but this night, I was educated. While they were definitely metal, I couldn’t help hearing some of their Southern roots in their music. Well, they were announced as being from North Carolina, so I can certainly see where that comes from. Nevertheless, they were metal on this day, through and through. Really loved it when they played “Vote With a Bullet.” They were a great start to the marathon.

Corrosion of Conformity establishing their dominance

Corrosion of Conformity establishing their dominance

Woody Weatherman cranking out a solo

Woody Weatherman cranking out a solo

Corrosion of Conformity wowing the crowd.

Corrosion of Conformity wowing the crowd.

Actually, the wait between bands wasn’t as excruciating as I was fearing. So, it didn’t seem all that long before, Venom emerged. Not to be outdone, Venom hit the stage like a formula one car and only accelerated more as they went on. Playing a good mix, it was only four songs before they played the first of their classics, “Welcome to Hell.” From there, they only created more mayhem on the stage and I have to admit, compared to when I saw them in 1986, Cronus has definitely matured as a musician, singer and showman. Plus, new guitarist, La Rage, was definitely a welcome addition to the band. The only thing I could nit pick was the fact they didn’t play “Women, Leather and Hell” but only a minor disappointment from what was a rather good set, especially when they ended with “Black Metal,” fantastic! At one point, Cronus stated that Venom hadn’t played Britain in ten years but I think that on this day, they earned their place back in the hearts and minds of British metalheads.

Venom comes back

Venom comes back

Cronus proves he still has pipes

Cronus proves he still has pipes

La Rage showing what he can do with a guitar

La Rage showing what he can do with a guitar

I thought that this might have been my first time seeing Behemoth but I now realise that I may have seen them in 2010. I can’t be sure. If I had, back then, they definitely didn’t enter the stage as theatrically as they did on this day. With guitar and bass waiting under a wooden frame while eerie music played, Nergal made his dramatic entry onto the stage and then all pandemonium broke loose. Behemoth’s brand of black metal and death metal provided an interesting gap in what had gone before and what was to come. While I only realised it since coming home from the festival, Behemoth played their latest album, “The Satanist” in it’s entirety. Knowing this and seeing them on stage, has made me want to listen to the album. I have to say, their stage show was quite good except at the end when they released the black confetti, all I could think was that Sabbaton did that last year.

Orion, Seth and Inferno silently wait for things to commence

Orion, Seth and Inferno silently wait for things to commence

Nergal hits the stage

Nergal hits the stage

Behemoth go for it

Behemoth go for it

Cool light show

Cool light show

Black Confetti

Black Confetti

One band was to follow Behemoth on this night. However, you will have to wait til next post to read about them. After all, I did say that I would do a separate post for them alone and trust me, they deserve it.

Next post: Twisted Sister at Bloodstock

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Dura Silex Should Be Signed

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2014 by 80smetalman

Not long ago, I obtained possession of a demo CD from a band named Dura Silex. Before, I go on any further, I’d like to just say that I was hoping for a group photo from the band but since I haven’t received one, I thought I would post about them anyway. The reason is that after my first listen to their demo CD, I was so blown away that I promised myself that I would do a post listing my reasons why they should have a record deal in the same way I felt that Black Emerald should have had one when I saw them at Bloodstock last year.

Black Emerald

Black Emerald

First a little background: Dura Silex, which is Latin for hard rock, come from Southern New Jersey and at the moment comprise just two members, guitarist Mark Pickeral and lead singer Marie Christina. If her name sounds vaguely familiar, that is because she attended Rock and Roll Fantasy camp and got to perform along side the likes of Howard Leese (Heart), Kip Winger (Winger) and Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Whitesnake). The demo was recorded at Mark Pickeral’s home studio and he programs the bass and drums for it.

Now if you were counting on Dura Silex and Black Emerald together on a joint tour, it probably wouldn’t work. While Black Emerald are more your straight forward metal band and they’re very good at it, Dura Silex has a sound that favours a hard blues rock sort of vibe. First, since I have already mentioned her, let’s start with the vocals of Marie Christina. Her opera background comes through with the very first track and it is beautiful to hear. It is so good and unique that it’s hard to compare her to any other vocalist, though that’s not a bad thing. The closest I would say is Liv Christine of Leave’s Eyes. Christina’s operatic voice really shines through the most on the second track, “Ego Maniac.” However, the opera training does not compromise her power to go total rock and roll. The result is one part that makes Dura Silex, great vocals.

Liv Christine and Leaves Eyes

Liv Christine and Leaves Eyes

Now onto guitarist Mark Pickeral. I have to confess here, I may appear a little biased here because Mark is my brother in law but related or not, he definitely knows how to bend a six string. I have heard previous offerings from him in the past but on this demo he really goes to town. It is his playing that has led me to conclude that Dura Silex play a hard blues rock sound. His efforts remind me of Pat Travers or Rory Gallagher but at the same time, his playing style is unique. The end result is the combined playing style of Mark and the vocals of Marie make a great team. You only have to listen to the demo to be converted.

Rory Gallagher

  Rory Gallagher

Pat Travers

Pat Travers

 Track Listing:

1. Louder Than Lies

2. Ego Maniac

3. Thief of Hearts

4. For the Love

5. Roaming

6. Walk Through Fire

7. Through to You

8. Last Laugh

9. Waiting

10. Dream Walker

11. Down on My Luck

While it has been said that these aren’t the best tracks Dura Silex have laid down, (they’re saving their best for a more professional demo) the ones here would make up an album that would make any artist proud. “Louder Than Lies” is a great opener and “Down on My Luck” is a fantastic closer. In between, there are nine songs that really rock. The ones which really stick out for me are “Thief of Hearts,” “Through to You,” “Last Laugh” and “Waiting.” If these tracks should appear on line and I will let you know if it does, then have a listen to them. You should be in agreement with me that any record label who passes on them is just plain stupid.

Next post: American Pop, Soundtrack

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Why Black Emerald Should Be Signed

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 18, 2013 by 80smetalman
Black Emerald

Black Emerald

Last week at the Bloodstock Festival, the very first band I was treated to on the day totally blew me away. Standing in the New Blood tent, where unsigned acts get to show their stuff, the Reading based Black Emerald opened the day and for me, provided a fantastic beginning to what would go on to be a monumental day. When they left the stage, I was totally of the opinion that if there were any record company scouts observing this band, they would be insane not to sign them to a record contract.  One week later, after listening to their demo CD and currently listening to material they posted on the Reverbnation web site, I am still of that opinion. Therefore, the object of this post is to make you the reader of the same mind frame.

Let’s start with the vocals. most of which are carried out by bassist Simon Hall. If you’re expecting some operatic,  melodic vocals in the vein of Coverdale, Gillan, Tempest of Dio, then you will be deeply disappointed. Instead, if I were to make such comparisons, I would go more in line with Hetfield or Mustane and there lies the pleasant problem. Hall’s vocals are unique enough to call his own so it is difficult to compare him with anybody and that’s a good thing. In addition, guitarists Edd Higgs and Dave Toland also contribute in the lead vocal department giving Black Emerald more versatility. When I observed this phenomenon, it immediately took me back to 70’s bands like KISS, Styx and The Eagles where most, if not all, in the band were just as capable of taking the mike.

Another feature I identified with this band is that they have a lead guitarist who can shred. Unfortunately, I don’t know which one was the one who did most of the shredding last Sunday. The other problem at Bloodstock and a little on the demo was that his efforts lacked volume, which I blame on sound production. Fortunately, I have heard three tracks on Reverbnation and this isn’t a problem, I can hear the lead guitar just fine. Finally, I also mentioned the tight rhythm section and drummer Connor Shortt leads this very well, along with the bass and rhythm guitar.

untitled

Simon Hall- bass, vocals

Edd Higgs- guitar, vocals

Dave Toland- guitar, vocals

Connor Shortt- drums

Demo Songs

1. B.O.D.

2. Drown In the River

3. Figure On a Barbed Wire Cross

One last aspect of this band is their material. They sing about all things heavy metal, sex, drugs and Satan. Five days on after listening to their CD, I still find myself singing the lines from B.O.D.: “Smoking weed, smoking crack.” That’s the other thing, if they were to break America, the religious right would undoubtedly put them on their hit list. So, I hope that I have put forward a strong enough argument to why Black Emerald should be given a record contract. But if you don’t want to take me word, check them out on www.reverbnation.com and type Black Emerald in the search. You won’t be disappointed.

Next post: The Jam- Sound Effects

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Bloodstock! The Sunday

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2013 by 80smetalman

Many of you have been waiting with baited breath for my account of the Bloodstock concert this past Sunday, well here it is. To start with, the drive there was quite uneventful in a good way and I was glad that most people in Britain decided to spend their Sunday morning in bed allowing me to make such good time. I mean, the two CD’s played for the journey (The Best of Seputura and Megadeth’s “Youthanasia”) weren’t finished by the time I pulled into the car park. It did foretell what a great day it was going to be.

First, I feel I must apologise for the poor quality of the photos, they were taken with my cell phone camera. Anyway, as I got there very early, I thought I would start handing out cards for “Rock And Roll Children.” Handing one to a man of my age, he returned the favour by giving me a CD and saying that I should check this band out on the New Blood Stage and that’s were things began in earnest.

Black Emerald

Black Emerald

 

The CD was for a band called Black Emerald from Reading. What a great opener to the day as this hungry, unsigned band kicked the ass of those who ventured into the tent to see them. I won’t go into great details about them here but these guys have everything needed to be big. Good vocals, a tight rhythm section and a guitarist who can shred as well as songs about heavy metal’s favourite topics, sex, drugs and Satan. I can’t think of a better way to open the show. I was so impressed with Black Emerald that the next post will be why if any label happened to be there while they were on stage and didn’t immediately sign them, well they’re insane.

Gamma Bomb

Gamma Bomb

 

From Black Emerald to the Emerald Isle as we made it in time to see the first band to ascend the Ronnie James Dio stage, Irish metallers Gamma Bomb. What a great way to start things on the main stage at Bloodstock! Their speed metal had me ferociously banging my head away from start to finish and I loved the lead singer’s comment that they had started drinking at 9 AM and would continue for the rest of the day. I guess that’s bound to happen when you mix the Irish and heavy metal. Trust me, I have met many Irishmen and the great majority of them love their drink. Still, I will be looking for their albums in the future.

States of Panic

States of Panic

 

One improvement that Bloodstock 2013 had over 2010 was that in 2010, whenever I an act finished on the one stage, I felt frustrated that when I went to one of the other stages, nothing was happening there either. This year that wasn’t a problem. We decided to take a break after Gamma Bomb and to my surprise, there was music coming out of the Sophie Lancaster tent. My stepson and I went inside and were both delighted by the music played by the band that was currently on the stage, States of Panic. I know you can’t see from this photo but their image might suggest that these guys are simply clones of The Black Veil Brides. However, they had a sound all their own and that sound was fine and I was glad that I was able to catch them on stage.

Music wasn't the only metal on Sunday

Music wasn’t the only metal on Sunday

 

The next hour and a half or so was spent going in between the three stages. I did catch part of both bands that played the main stage, Whitechapel and Sacred Mother Tongue who both kept the day rocking as well as a band from each of the other two stages. While, they were all enjoyable, I didn’t see enough of any of them to give an account here. When we decided to go for lunch, we happened to go past this display of knights in armour. The sword play was a vicious as any mosh pit as they really went at it.

Fozzy

Fozzy

 

I knew nothing of this band before they went on stage but there was something familiar about the lead singer. Then he got the crowd to chant “Y2J” and it all fell into place. I knew that WWE Superstar Chris Jerico was singing with a band, but I didn’t know it was this one. Had I known this before hand, I would have assumed that Fozzy were a joke band and not bothered with them. For once, I am grateful for my ignorance. Fozzy are not a joke band. True, I only rate Jerico’s vocals as passable but this is made up for by the fact that he has a great band behind him and that he has something that many singers of superior vocal ability lack, stage presence. Y2J owned the stage during the entire time he was on it and he was able to use his physical abilities as a wrestler to his advantage when he climbed up the stage rigging and sang from on top of that.

Y2J singing from the rafters

Y2J singing from the rafters

 

Fozzy made a believer out of me, I was impressed to the point that I will have to check out their recorded material.

Amorphis

Amorphis

 

Amorphis provided a much needed respite between what had been and what was to come. Their more melodic metal sound allowed me to catch my breath for a second while yet continuing to enjoy some fantastic sounds. Once again, they proved my theory that keyboards can work with metal if done properly. Seeing the keyboard player for Amorphis brought back memories of Claude Schnell and Jens Johanssen. This in no way takes anything from the rest of the band, especially the way the guitarists shredded.

Exodus

Exodus

 

One thing I pride myself on when I wrote Rock And Roll Children was my accuracy. When Exodus take the stage in the story, the characters are amazed that mortal men can play so fast. Seeing Exodus again after all these years, I am glad that they continue to prove me right. They were fast, furious and just mental and that effect went out to the entire crowd. They weren’t on stage five seconds when a huge mosh pit opened up at the front. I’m afraid to say that when he saw the pit, my step son lost his nerve and didn’t want to go in but I can’t really blame him. Instead, we stood to one side and enjoyed all the fast paced music delivered by those on the stage. The energy was indescribable as Exodus stamped their name on memory of Bloodstock forever. They only stopped briefly so the lead singer could organise one massive wall of death.

The Wall of Death

The Wall of Death

 

When that was over with surprising no casualties, Exodus went on to finish their slaughter of the ear drums to the point that it could be argued that they won the day.

Devil Driver

Devil Driver

 

While Devil Driver may not have matched the violence of Exodus, they continued to carry on the fast metal. Having never heard anything from them before, I can say that I did like them. Especially when the lead singer invited everyone out to California, the only place where weed is legal.

Anthrax

Anthrax

 

This was my fourth time seeing Anthrax live, the last time was Donnington in 1987. Let me say that they haven’t lost any of that intensity they had back then. They took me with old favourites like “I Am the Law,” “Indians,” and the song they opened with, “Caught In a Mosh” to that magical time nearly 30 years ago when I was a pure Anthraxian and it made me renew my vows to follow them always. They also proceeded to convert my fifteen year old step son, although that didn’t take much. I was so impressed with the performance of Anthrax that I can even forgive them for not playing one single song from the “Spreading the Disease” album. I used to think that there were few better songs to open a concert than A.I.R.” but now I’m not so sure. Not many bands can boast to having two great show opening songs. As for the band themselves, they all proved they still have it.

Slayer

Slayer

 

The problem with the headline act is that they have all the lights and this makes it difficult to get a good photo. After several attempts, this was the best I could get. Slayer fulfilled their duties as a headline act. Taking the energy provided by all the bands on the day to an even higher level. The played a good mix of their material throughout the ages and had the crowd at their mercy. I had never seen them live before this day and I must say that all the good things I heard are all true. This was just one speed paced set going from one song to the next in wildfire succession. It proved to be the perfect end to a magnificent day of heavy metal.

Unfortunately, my stepson had the case of the spirit being strong but the flesh was weak. After an hour and ten minutes of Slayer, he was too tired to continue so I had to leave missing the final half hour. Still, “South of Heaven” was probably the best song to walk back to the car to. In the end, we both enjoyed an historical day of heavy metal, one that will match or supersede any of my previous and will dwell in the mind of my young stepson for a long time. Even getting home, at one in the morning following detours due to the motorway being closed and having to get up at 6:30 the next morning to drive to the in laws didn’t lessen the day. In the end, nothing could as it was a great piece of metal history.

Next post: Why Black Emerald should be signed to a record deal

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in Lonon