Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Nights - "An Endless Apocalypse

Winter Nights are a 4 piece, melodic death band from NYC who have recently released their debut full length album "An Endless Apocalypse". After the symphonic, string arrangement intro "Uprise and Fall" sets the dark, grim mood for this disk, the album's title track blasts into hyper-gear with frenzied tremolo picking and furious 
blasting on the drums. This track showcases a plethora of riffs and tempo changes accompanied by deep, growling vocals. The groovy break at the midway point, with it's melodic lead guitar lines, show Winter Nights to have more in common with the contemporary Scandinavian sound than with any of their New York peers musically. "In Nuclear Winter" has a more of a viking metal vibe throughout, with it's evil double-timed riffing and the bass-line break with it's spoken verse. This sounds like the lost track Amon Amarth forgot to put on their debut album "Once Sent From The Golden Hall". "A Dark Awakening" is another mead chugging, viking metal anthem. Neck-snapping rythms and pounding drums pulsate throughout this track. I hate to use the overused word EPIC here, but the break that begins at 3:10 is exactly that, a perfect tribute to the gods looking down on us from valhalla. The almost 7 minute "Winter Nights" creeps in with it's mellow intro, but quickly brings the heaviness with it's catchy verse and chorus riffs. There is an old school Swedish metal vibe to this song, think early In Flames meets modern Hypocrisy, very catchy and very brutal while still keeping tons of melody with frontman Jeremy's snarling vocals painting a hellish landscape. "The Doomsday Code" is another neck snapping riff fest, if I had hair, I'd surely be windmilling my locks along to this track. I get a bit more of a thrash and power metal vibe from this track, the tight guitar attack calls to mind early Iced Earth and stands toe to toe with some of Jon Schaefer's best riff work. "The Pledge" is one of the most powerful tracks on this release. Unrelenting guitar lines are delivered with blazing speed and the drums gallop along with a sense of urgency. Complicated tempo changes give way to progressive passages and the band shifts their timing seamlessly from riff to riff. If Chuck Schuldiner ever jammed with Amon Amarth, the audio result would be something eerily close to "The Pleasures Of War". This track is pure, classic death metal combined with a modern day, Swedish attitude and some mid 80's thrash thrown in to boot. The guitar solo in this track is especially face-melting and it's almost impossible not to bang your head to the riff behind it. "Deceptive Dreams" closes the album out and in my opinion this is the track where Winter Nights throw all their cards on the table. There's a bit of everything, clean intro, screaming leads, catchy guitar lines, anthemic riffs, frantic black metal and more tempo changes than you can shake an empty mead horn at. If ever there was a heavy metal soundtrack to a viking clan raiding, pillaging and burning a town down to the ground, this song and as a whole this album would be it. If you like your death metal melodic, then "An Endless Apocalypse" needs to be a part of your music collection. This band may hail from the streets of NYC, but after listening to this album I'm convinced Winter Nights sailed here from Scandinavia in a giant ship to claim New York as their raiding territory! You can find Winter Nights online at and hit them up for a physical copy of "An Endless Apocalypse". You can also find them on Twitter, Youtube, Bandcamp and Reverbnation as well.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Horn Of The Rhino - "Summoning Deliverance"

 Hailing from Bilbao, Spain. Horn Of The Rhino are hardly newcomers to the scene, with it's latest release "Summoning Deliverance" being their 5th full length album. This trio has been honing their sludgy sound and shaking the foundations of the earth with their brand of doom for the better part of the last 7 years, and long time listeners will be quite pleased with their latest slab of down-tuned, filthy swamp metal. One look at the apocalyptic artwork adorning the cover of "Summoning Deliverance" gives the listener the ultimate indication he's in for one hell of a heavy ride before "Exvenhstench", the albums searing opening tracks starts pummeling us with it's fast. High On Fire styled buzzsaw riffs. Horn Of The Rhino waste no time going straight for the jugular with this lead-in track, galloping Motorhead-ish slams give way to sludgy breaks and an epic, thrash fueled bridge. This is surely the faster side of Horn Of The Rhino, a neck breaking, freight train of a song made even heavier with great demoniacal vocals throughout. "Onward Through Domination" slows things down, showcasing Horn Of The Rhino's even darker side with it's plodding riffs slowly lurching forward under frontman Javier Galvez' amazing vocal crooning that can only be compared to classic Chris Cornell and must be heard to be believed. One thing this band has always been able to accomplish is showing you can be heavier than a mountain playing low and slow and a 3 piece is more than capable of shaking the walls with the power of it's riffs. "High Priest" is a mid paced, foot stomping anthem chock full of great stoner metal guitar pieces and manic vocals that toe the line between death, and the unholiest of black metal. "Their Tombs" is an over 8 minute epic, with lots of tempo shifting, verses and bridges build up slow and climax into fast thrashy parts, seemlessly moving from the sledgehammer to the chainsaw. "Deliverance Prayer" gives us more of Javier's bluesy, smoky singing over some of the dirtiest riffs this side of the swamps of Louisiana. If Soundgarden jammed with Eyehategod, I would assume the resulting jam session would sound something like this...but this would still be even heavier. The verse riffs in "Grim Foreigeners" sound like a fully loaded gatling gun emptying round after round into whatever gets in it's way. It's catchy chorus riffs let you up for air just long enough to relentlessy pound you again and bring us to an ending full of almost hardcore breakdowns and evolve into a melodic, atmospheric ending. "Builder Of Carrion Effigies" gives us more up tempo structures, with it's hyper punk feel, combined with more High On Fire attitude. With this track being the 2nd of the 2 longest tracks here clocking in at just passed 8 minutes, Horn Of The Rhino serve us up a disk that is a little less long in the tooth and certain tracks such as "Builder Of Carrion Effigies" show the guys play faster than they have on any release prior. That being said, album closer "An Excess Of Faith" sends us out with hot, tar covered, Sabbath worshipping riffage. Eerie vocals, dissonant chords, thundering drums and droning bass leave us feeling as if we have just experienced the audio version of the hell depicted on the cover of "Summoning Deliverance". There is an awesome bonus cut offered on this disk, but I wont give it away, so you will have to buy the CD and enjoy the surprise. Horn Of The Rhino have served up yet another mammoth of an album, and just when you though it couldnt get any heavier, they prove us all wrong. This is a pure riff-fest, an album that would bring a smile to doom and sludge forefathers like Tony Iommi and Kirk Windstein. You can find HOTR on facebook and at hit them up online and grab yourself a copy of "Summoning Deliverance".

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Slash feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators - "World On Fire"

 "World On Fire" comes in hot off the heels of the band's 2012 debut "Apocalyptic Love" and is a whopping 17 whole tracks of awesome rock n roll. Fans of the debut will be pleasantly surprised to hear a more charged up, driven band with "World On Fire". The bulk of the tracks here are more uptempo, harder hitting and overall more reminiscent of early Guns N' Roses as well. With tracks like "Automatic Overdrive" and especially the blazing title track, Slash and co. pound our eardrums with relentless riffing, screaming solos, soaring vocals and a slamming rythmn section. The band sounds as if they are getting extremely comfortable with themselves and there is a definite cohesive chemistry between these musicians. There are so many big hooks and grimy, sleaze rock riffs in tracks like "Dirty Girl" and "30 Years To Life". The guys obviously had a huge creative streak going this time around, dishing up a huge album filled to the brim of the disk with 17 songs, "Too Far Gone" being one of the album's stand out cuts with it's super catchy chorus and heavy main riff. "World On Fire" isnt all heavy-handed rock though. Mellower tracks like "Battleground" let the listener up for air a bit and round out the album with lots of beautiful melody, clean guitar pieces, and the amazing vocal range of Myles Kennedy. I could definitely see "Bent To Fly" being a gigantic single, that is, if the radio still played great rock music and MTV still showed music videos. It's epic chorus and almost Lynyrd Skynyrd like vibe on the verses with Slash's smooth acoustic guitar strumming make it a song to keep going back to. This album reminds me alot of Slash's Snakepit's 1995 debut "It's 5 O'clock Somewhere", it's got the loose, fun, feeling of a great rock album and much like the Snakepit debut, "World On Fire" from Slash's current band treats us to to an absolutely crushing instrumental track. "Safari Inn" is a heavy, funky, bluesy guitar driven opus. Slash lets it all hang loose on this one and there's everything in it that the old school GN'R fan has always loved Slash for with it's heavy riffs and frenetic soloing. All these years later Slash still has his signature, unmistakeable guitar tone, flawlessly transitioning from weighty, dirty riffs, to sleek, clean licks, to vicious, screaming leads that pierce through the music like a hot knife. "The Unholy" is a very insteresting cut. It is slow, brooding, moody and extremely dark. This track is a little more grungy than the traditional styled rockers on the rest of the disk and Myles Kennedy helps add to that mood by invoking shades of Chris Cornell vocally during the song's ominous verses. "Withered Delilah" really showcases the talent of The Conspirators. Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz are a solid bass and drum combo and they musically strut their stuff as the backbone of this song. "Shadow Life" is chock full of mean groove and nasty guitar licks that sound as if Slash culled them from the filthy gutters of California. The stomping, tribal beat and swaying riffs ooze forth from the speakers with street bred swagger, obviously our favorite top-hatted axe slinger hasnt forgotten his rock roots. If you love classic GN'R, Snakepit, Velvet Revolver and anything else Slash has done, you are going to absolutely worship "World On Fire" as there is a little bit of each of those bands styles here, but with Myles and the Conspirators helping to add their own fresh twist on it. Since 1996 Slash has made it abundantly clear he will never return to GN'R, and honestly if he keeps releasing material of this caliber, real fans of Slash and rock music in general will be too busy crankin this stuff up to care if he ever gets back with Axl again or not. Go get this album, you know you miss great rock and roll as much as I do, Guns N' Roses are the band who molded me in my youth and made me the music lover I am today, this album is a breath of fresh air, it's musical evidence of an old school hero climbing to the top of the mountain yet again, with a new bunch of amazing musicians. Grab a copy of "World On Fire" and crank that sucker loud, you wont be disappointed.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sacred Ash - "Beneath Blackened Skies"

 Sacred Ash are a 5 piece thrashing power metal band from Westchester,NY and the 4 song EP "Beneath Blackened Skies" is their current offering. Those of you reading this who remember when there used to be awesome metal shows at Popeyes Pub, thrown by Lou Kemia Labs, FYC Records and Tainted Entertainment should recognize guitarist Christian Rush, bassist Anthony Rendina and drummer Anthony Casario from the young upstart band Thrashed. Shortly after disbanding Thrashed, these 3 added a new vocalist and second guitarist and formed a whole new beast now known as Sacred Ash. "Pure Evil" kicks this 4 song ride off into high gear with tons of old school heavy metal flair. With speedy riffs that recall "Kill 'EM All" Metallica and catchy hooks reminiscent of Iron Maiden, Sacred Ash show that while they may be relatively new to the scene, they have their roots firmly planted in classic heavy metal soil. This song rages onward, showcasing slick bass lines, uptempo double bass drumming and face melting guitar leads, everything that a headbanger from the old guard wants in their music. "Destiny Calls" starts up with choppy, tight riffs that recall 80's era Megadeth and builds into huge powerful verses and choruses that give the listener a 'horns in the air vibe' akin to Helloween and early power metal acts of the like. The break that starts at 3:08 plods and trudges along with an Anthrax-y stomp and is layered perfectly with melodic guitar fills before going off into a pure shred-fest. "Defiant To The End" is a mid tempo neck snapper that gallops about in the vein of 3 Inches Of Blood. This tune is chock full of dark riffs and nasty hammer-on's that would make Marty Friedman proud. Dan DeVita leads the charge on this track with his vocal styling, he treads the line between thash and power metal, raspy and throaty when he needs to be, and soulful without breaking into a high falsetto register when the music behind him gets more epic, overall I'd say he has more in common with John Wooten of Widow than with Rob Halford or similar screechers. "The Serpents Rise" closes out this disk with more memorable verses and choruses that pull the listener in and get your head nodding along to it's Iced Earth-ish riffs. The solo break once again showcases Mr. Rush's talent with it's running acrobatics and harmonies culminating into a Herman Li-esque whammy bar dive before turning around once more to take us out with that unforgettable chorus. All 4 tracks on "Beneath Blackened Skies" are 100% kick ass and this band is 100% pure metal to it's core. There's no incomprehensible gurgling vocals, flat brimmed baseball caps, huge ear gauges or uninspired breakdown after breakdown nonsense here. This is heavy metal for the beer swilling air guitarist whose walls are adorned with Metallica posters and whose denim vest is covered in NWOBHM patches. Thrashers from the old guard and new metalheads just discovering the Big 4 take note, Sacred Ash are here to bring true metal to Westchester and beyond, and if "Beneath Blackened Skies" is any indication, then the future looks bright for this band indeed. You can find Sacred Ash on facebook at and you can follow them on twitter at as well. The band also has a youtube channel where you can see a pro shot video for "The Serpents Rise" as well as a demo recording for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers theme which the band have a petition you can sign in hopes for the song to be used in the forthcoming MMPR movie, so sign it and help them out! You can hear cuts from this EP and much more great underground metal Monday mornings from 10am to 1pm EST at

Monday, July 21, 2014

Castrofate - "Castrofate"

 Castrofate kick off their self titled and 5th overall album with their namesake song "Castrofate". Distorted, galloping riffs, accompanied by soaring lead guitar set the tone for this classic Metallica styled thrash fest. Those familiar with the band know Castrofate hold Metallica in high regard and the Bay Area metallers are a huge influence on Castrofate's sound, although Castrofate are very adept at taking their influence and putting their own original spin on it as evident on their past albums and in this newest release as well. There's everything the old school thrash metal fan wants here, catchy verses, anthemic choruses, ferocious riffing and lots of "Venom"-ous speed. "New Religion" rages along with tons of frantic guitar picking more akin to early Exodus and infectious verses that have an almost surf rock meets thrash vibe, not unlike something you'd hear in Municipal Waste's repertoire of riffery. Frontman Dan Castro and drummer Dima work extremely well together, fusing together pulsating rythms with chugging, militant stomps and keeping the listener on our toes with lots of frequent changes in tempo and vibe on "Chemical Scythe", a song which should go over well with those of us who liked the direction Metallica went with their latest offering "Death Magnetic". Lots of bouncy, modern groove with an underlying helping of the classic west coast thrash sound mixed in. "Shattered Soul" is Castrofate's version of the classic thrash ballad. Melancholy lyrics, sung over smooth, clean chords with a heavy chorus that pounds through the speakers and punches the listener in the gut with emotion. Add in the epic lead guitar section and Castrofate serve up the goods beyond worthy enough to keep the torch burning that Testament handed down when they wrote their classic "The Legacy". There's a great pro shot video for this tune up on youtube, so go check that out here "United" lifts the mood with it's motivational lyrics and epic music. "Stay strong and have each others back" is the message here as Dan harshly barks his words over a thunderous, swaying verse and chorus that sounds like it was written for a viking I hear a little Amon Amarth influence creeping around? "Banished To Earth" opens with a creepy riff and a bit more of a technical or even progressive vibe. This tune definitely has some Alex Skolnick influence in it and Dima does a great job behind the kit adding lots of great fills and helping to build onto the overall paranoid ambience of the song musically. Dan steps away from the mic and lets his axe do the talking for "Silent Obscurity". This one has a great straight up rock and roll vibe with it's main "verse" riff recalling early Danzig. This track sounds like 4 guys jamming in the garage on great riffs and having fun doing so, slowing things down in the middle for a couple beautiful chords then taking us off with a classic Maiden-esque gallop. "Shark Sustenence" closes the album out in frenzied fashion, this one is a classic lesson in speed metal ala Metallica's "Damage Inc." or the Exodus classic "Strike Of The Beast". Castrofate hit yet another homerun for thrashing heavy metal with their new self titled album, these guys prove their all about keeping it heavy and waving the flag for the old school sound. This is metal for the old guard who like their metal straight up with no filler, and for the new kids just falling in love with the classic Bay Area sound. Headbangers, horn throwers and circle pitters will thrash out this album over and over again in between spins of their favorite Anthrax and Slayer albums and you can order your own copy by visiting and grabbing one for only $5. You can also get t-shirts and copies of their earlier releases while they last. Please give the band a "Like" and keep up with their current goings on and upcoming live gigs at You can hear cuts from this album and other awesome underground bands every Monday morning from 10am to 1pm EST at

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thermit - "Encephalopathy"

Thermit are a 5 piece, power thrash unit from Poland and Encephalopathy is their current 6 song offering. Musically, Thermit pack the punch and intensity of classic 80's thrash metal, with lots of double bass drumming, fast guitar picking and tons of circle pit friendly riffs. "Zombie Lover" opens this disk up with the ferocity of classic Exodus and the songwriting savvy of Metallica during the Cliff Burton era. While Thermit's love for thrash is blatantly obvious, the band also mixes in elements of classic metal in the vein of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Mercyful Fate with their frequent use of dueling guitar harmonies and smooth melodies that the band seemlessly weaves in between their crunchy, Megadeth like riffs. Other than their blazing, melodious guitar work, the huge thing that makes Thermit stick out from the thrash pack is the vocal stylings of Trzeszcz. On the track "Second" in particular we hear a vocalist with amazing range. Rather than the typical thrash metal barking and screaming style, we are treated to the stylings of a frontman more akin to Rob Halford, King Diamond or Cam Pipes from 3 Inches Of Blood, further pushing the power metal envelope and bringing a nice mix to Thermit's own unique brand of metal. "Now You See" is an intense track, that begins with beautiful acoustic guitars and grows into a throbbing stomp with lots of tight, fast guitar riffing reminiscent of early Iced Earth and "Master Of Puppets" era Metallica with a touch of Slayer thrown in for good measure. "Other Man" sounds as if it was written way back in 1986, full of amazing lead guitarwork and harmonies that will bang the heads of Iron Maiden fans and vicious verses that will snap the necks of anyone within ear shot. "Holy Bomb" rounds out the first 5 original cuts on Encephalopathy with lots of high pitched, hair raising vocals, groovy, trudging riffs and at the 2:50 mark showcases a drum and bass section tight enough to be compared to Rex Brown and Vinny Paul of Pantera fame. Track 6 gives us "Thermitallica", a 10 minute mix and mash up, or "Mosh up" of Thermit melting together some of our favorite Metallica moments in medley form. From "Battery" to "All Nightmare Long", "Damage Inc." to "Holier Than Thou", "The Shortest Straw" to "Disposable Heroes" and more, Thermit does an incredible job with their own take on a Metallica medley, and with a hilarious ending! Thermit assault the senses in an old school way, rapid fire riffing, warp speed drumming, thick grooves and a vocal onslaught of glorious power metal caliber. Encephalopathy is metal for the beer drinking, leather and denim clad warriors of the world. If you love to headbang, if you know what REAL moshing is, if you play air guitar along to the six string axe slingers you worship, if your vest is covered in band patches and beer stains, then Thermit is the band you NEED to hear and Encephalopathy is a disk you NEED to add to your collection immediately!!! You can find the band online at and you can grab CD's and shirts from them at

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Blaze Bayley interview

Blaze Bayley is celebrating 30 years in metal music. From fronting Wolfsbane, to being the voice of heavy metal pioneers Iron Maiden to releasing multiple albums with his own namesake band Blaze has been around the world and back multiple times. "Soundtracks of my Life" is his newest release which culls together 28 tracks that span his solo releases since leaving Iron Maiden and also giving us 2 brand new tracks which he worked on with Rick Plester. 30 tracks on 2 disks to celebrate 30 years Blaze Bayley has given the metal community a shot in the arm with his hard work, dedication and above all, quality heavy metal music for us to enjoy. I chatted with Blaze via skype about the new album, his Maiden days, his influences and alot more. Please read on and enjoy the interview!

Jaymz : How easy/hard was it to pick the tracks on "Soundtracks of my Life"?
Blaze : Some of it was difficult. My main guide was thinking "I really want to play these songs live, so which of these songs that I've done in my career are my favorite to play live?". That was my first choice, then I wanted two new songs. Because I knew that my existing fans would get it anyway, and I wanted there to be something new for them to listen to. I worked on two new songs with Rick Plester from Austin, Texas and then I used a couple of songs that were bonus tracks that not everyone had been able to get ahold of and that more or less brought it up to the 30 songs. And I wanted it to be 30 songs to kind of coincide and celebrate the 30th anniversary.

Jaymz : You mentioned the 2 new tracks "Hatred" and "Eating Children". What are the lyrical inspirations behind these 2 songs?
Blaze : With "Hatred" I had the idea a while ago and I managed to work it out with Rick Plester, the actual rythm of the song is based on a vocal phrase which is "cock sucking motherfucker", it runs all the way through the song, it's very low in the mix, you cant hear it until you listen closely but it is there. The rythm in the song reflects that "cock sucking motherfucker" phrase and it's just a repetition of that. And then the lyric on the verses and the choruses is a true story about someone who was in a support band that I was touring with, and he was such a complete asshole and it ended up coming to blows. Thats why it says "leave me alone" cause thats what I said to the guy, and he just kept getting in my face and that's why you've got the chorus line "leave me alone". "Eating Children" that really came from Rick Plester, he wanted to do some kind of really, far out idea, he's completely crazy that guy, but you know he is a musical genius. We started with some crazy guitar ideas, and I was digging through my lyrics and I had this thing called "Eating Children" which basically is the story of the solar system. The solar system coming from a cloud of gas, and in the center of the solar system the planets being the children of the sun because they are the gas that was left over after the birthing of the sun. And then in 5 billion years or something like this, the sun will turn into a red giant and start expanding and eventually it will consume all the planets in the solar system before it goes supernova. I really liked this idea of eating children, then when I googled it just to make sure, there were so many instances of people eating their own children! It was unbelievable! So even though it's a science thing, because I find alot of inspiration in cosmology and all the things that have happened with the Kepler telescope, discovering new planets, it's so exciting, but then I found all these horrible references to people eating their own children. But that was after I wrote the song, and I had fun writing it and there's a clip for it up on youtube.

Jaymz : Science and scifi and robots and technology seems to be a recurring theme in alot of your songs, thats very cool.
Blaze : Well for me it's the reality of what we're living through. You know, from my era I've come from a world that some young people can't even imagine, a world without internet. When I was starting my first band there was no internet, there were no mobile phones, there were no personal computers, this was the dark ages of information technology. It's changed so much in my lifetime, it's gone from having to rent a studio that costs $1,000 a day, to getting the same result in your own home with equipment that costs only $1,000. It's a completely different world and I find that quite inspirational, but for me I'm still a spiritual person and I think that we are all connected and that there is ESP, and there is something more than what we can see and I just think that we dont have the tools to measure it yet. But what they say and what scientists believe about quantum theory and things like this, really it makes anything possible. At the bottom of it, science says everything is possible, because this quantum theory is so outlandish and yet, they use it and that's it, you've got a mobile phone network. So I find that inspirational and also the nature of intelligence, and consciousness, and what makes you who you are and will we be in a situation in a few years time where an artificial person has the same rights as a human person? I like these ideas of how we're going to deal with this because what is the nature of consciousness? Is it some magical thing? or is it something that can be instilled into a set of algorithms and stored on some kind of new hard drive that hasnt been invented yet? I find thats a theme I always go back to, always questioning the nature of who you are and how do you define yourself as a person in the world around you?

Jaymz : Now with these two new tracks, are these going to be the musicians that play on your next album?
Blaze : No these are 2 totally different things that I decided to do with Rick Plester, he was in Dark Symphony before and we started a side project called The Foundry. We did a tour once and we just got on since then, he's an incredible talent on guitar and a great songwriter as well. I just went on an extended break to Austin, Texas and stayed at his house and we just kept jamming around on things until we came up with what we thought would be something of good quality and thats how we did it. I'm using a different band for each tour, I like to give new musicians a chance, so I work with different bands in different countries.

Jaymz : Thats awesome! Paul Dianno does the same thing pretty much where he picks a backing band and he brings them on tour with him
Blaze : Yeah, thats it, I've been on tour with Paul and I've used some of the same musicians that he uses and in some places it's different guys. Yeah, we've been on tour with Paul and we sing our old Maiden songs and we have alot of fun when we do that, it's a bit like a holiday for me.

Jaymz : Thats very cool that you guys do that for upcoming musicians and give them a shot, I'm a musician myself and to be able to say you've played with Blaze Bayley and Paul Dianno is a huge deal and a big notch in your resume and it's just awesome that you guys do that.
Blaze : Well a few guys have done quite well, one of my old drummers went on to Paradise Lost, another drummer I had went to Helloween along with a guitarist I had at one point, and another guitarist I had has gone on to Doro and recorded albums with her and become her main guitarist. I always wish people well, I say "Come along, do your best, get noticed, put yourself out to alot of people who wouldn't have seen you before, it's a very credible gig, and it's up to you to make the most of it." and quite a few people have gotten somewhere from it.

Jaymz : Other than this compilation, which of your solo releases are you most satisfied with musically?
Blaze : Oh that's so difficult because I've put my heart and soul into every one. So musically I think I just cant choose between them, each one has a difference about it. I'm so proud of my "Blood And Belief" album because it was a step in a slightly different direction for me and the lyrics became alot more personal on that, so I love that one and I'm hugely proud of "Silicon Messiah" being my first album after Maiden and "Tenth Dimension" being so full of great music and it's a big concept album. "The Man Who Would Not Die" was an album recorded under extreme circumstances, it was impossible to do, but we did it anyway, it was impossible to finish, but we finished it anyway, we couldnt afford to put it out, but it came out anyway so that one has alot of great memories for me as well. I always "live" the album before we record it, so it's very difficult for me to choose.

Jaymz : "The man who would not die" seems to be a great reflective piece and is about label troubles you had, please elaborate on the lyrical inspiration for this song?
Blaze : Well, I was signed on to SPV/Steamhammer and I was still naive enough to think you could make it in the mainstream doing this kind of music. Basically we had a contract and it was verified by lawyers and very expensive to get done, and they just didnt stick to it. All I wanted to do really was just get in a van and stay on tour. I didnt care where I went, I just wanted to stay on the road and play my music for people and have a bit of promotion and they just wouldn't help me with that. When it came time to pay for the 2nd part of the contract and the advance for the next album so I could make the next album, they blackmailed me. Really for them and so many other people it would have been convenient if I had just given up and disappeared and there you have "The Man Who Would Not Die", I couldn't give up and I wouldn't disappear so that's why I wouldn't go anywhere until I finished that album and put the point across that "Yeah, I can do this" I'm proud of it. On that same record "Blackmailer" is a true story they did steal the rest of the world from me because the original contracts that we had together, it only covered Europe, and all the other territories in the world, I could go and negotiate a license for. Then they said "No, we want the license for the whole world now, but we're not going to pay you any extra, we're only going to pay you what's in the contract for Europe". So they blackmailed me and said "We aren't paying you until you agree" which is blackmail isn't it? So there's alot of bitterness on that album, but also alot of stubbornness "Right, if you think you can beat me, good luck with that because I may be bent, I may be down, but I'm not broken".

Jaymz : That really sucks to hear that label is like that because they've had so many good acts on there
Blaze : Yeah, but sadly it's very political isn't it? If there's someone there that likes you, or the balance sheet looks right, then that's it, but they wont see further than "Oh, well this guy if he goes on tour he might get alot of fans" and so on but, that's history now so I do everything myself, I just put my own label together, it's called Blaze Bayley Recording, and got I some distribution and my wife is my manager and the fans visit my webshop or come to my concerts and buy my CD's and I play concerts all over the world, more so than I have ever since I was in Iron Maiden. I'm very lucky and very privileged to do what I love and what I feel I'm good at as my full time job. To be able to make my living and pay my rent by singing original material, and have the support of so many fans around the world is a real privilege and I just thank my lucky stars every day that I'm able to do this and I thank my fans around the world for the support that they give me that enables me to continue.

Jaymz : "Rainbow Fades to black" is a great Dio tribute, please elaborate on his influence on you as a musician and as a person
Blaze : It's a tribute to Dio, but not in such a direct way. He's been such a big influence on my style and my composing. He was at my hometown in Birmingham, at the Birmingham Odeon on the Holy Diver tour and when I heard him sing "Children Of The Sea" that was a life changing moment. That was when I thought "I've never heard anything like this before, I want to do THAT! This is incredible" and I just fell in love with his voice. At that moment I hadn't had a record by him or anything, over time I bought everything Ronnie James Dio did on vinyl. I was making my first album with Wolfsbane at Sound City in Van Nuys in Los Angeles and we were in rehearsals across from the studio and Ronnie was producing a demo for a band in the studio and he had gotten Vinny Appice there on drums and I met him there in the studio and we had quite a long chat and I was asking about his days in Elf, I was such a fanboy, it was incredible. Over the years I had met him a few times and he was always a complete gentleman, a wonderful guy and I've never met anybody who has ever said a bad thing about him. He's someone that really shaped my singing style in the early days and when he passed I wanted to do some kind of tribute. The way I decided to do my own personal tribute was to let myself use all of those influences that's why it's a rainbow, Ronnie always had rainbows in his lyrics and I wanted to let myself feel like I was letting all of his influence on me show through and that's why it worked out that way and I'm really happy with the way it worked out.

Jaymz : "The day I fell to earth" is described as the day you left Maiden, how hard/easy was it for you to decide to move forward and keep playing metal?
Blaze : Well, it just wasnt a decision really, the biggest shock was that I wasn't in a band, I was always in a band and always tried to be the singer in a band. I felt that the only thing I could do was to get a band together and make some music and get back out there. All the incredible things I learned from Steve Harris and the rest of the guys in Maiden about writing and performing, I though "I've really got to use that and get my ideas out" because I was already getting my ideas ready to share and work on the 3rd Iron Maiden album which I thought I'd be involved in and turned out to be "Brave New World". That was it, I just had to keep going, it wasn't really a decision, I never thought about stopping. I wonder now if I did the right thing, if I should have taken some time to really think about it and let the emotions cool and everything but I said "No, I've got to get a band together and get my album out before Iron Maiden and if there's any Maiden fans that were interested in what I did with the band maybe I'll have some success" and well, that just never worked out. I had my album ready, done and finished so it could come out in February that year and for some reason it kept getting delayed, and it was put out the same week as Iron Maiden so effectively I was completely overshadowed by the "Brave New World" album and the next time they changed the release date on me and the same exact thing happened again. Basically my band and all the hard work I did and all the great music we worked on just didn't get over to the people I was trying to get it over to. The weird thing is that now, 15 years later now people come to my gigs and say "You are the first singer I saw with Iron Maiden and your album is the first Iron Maiden album I got" and I say "And this is the first time you've seen me?! And I've done all these albums and toured with every one of them?!" so, I dont know what's happening but for some reason now it seems that I'm getting the fruits of my labor from all of that work and really being strong on the songwriting and doing the absolute best I could, now people are really starting to appreciate it and it's a really, really nice feeling.

Jaymz : Have you listened to, and do you continue to listen to any of the Iron Maiden stuff since you left the band?
Blaze : Yeah when Steve has sent me a new album sometimes. I like Brave New World, there's only 1 or 2 songs I didn't get on with, I dont really listen to the stuff now though it's just too emotional for me really. I listen to it sometimes if someone says "Ooh, I hate it! I hate the new album!" then I'm more inclined to listen because I know it really just can't be that bad and they must be missing something about it because when I worked with Steve Harris the quality of the songwriting was just absolutely great. But I dont make it a point to listen to it though.

Jaymz : Do you have any Iron Maiden moments or funny stories you'd like to share?
Blaze : We were on tour in France, and it was the last day of the "X Factor" tour, and Eddie had been ill, I think he had some kind of ear infection and he was a bit wobbly on the stage. We start "Iron Maiden" and I'm down in front jumping around and all the fans start laughing and I'm thinking "What's happening? Is my fly open?". I looked around and Eddie had taken 3 steps and had just fallen flat on his face and he was being dragged off the stage which took the whole crew because that was a HUGE Eddie on that "X Factor" tour, he was big man with his loincloth and everything. There was alot of funny things that happened but that moment really, really sticks out with Eddie flat on his face hahahaha!

Jaymz : Songs like "Blood and belief", "Watching the night sky" and the metaphors in "Samurai" are very inspirational, as someone who has openly admitted in other interviews to dealing with depression do you write these lyrics to help you out of your darker times or are they written once the cloud of depression has moved on?
Blaze : Well, it varies, but I always write what I feel so I've always got my notepad and I'm always writing what I feel, certain phrases and things like that. I think about my life and the way I relate to things and I talk about it. I didn't know I suffered from depression until after Iron Maiden. I went to the doctor, actually someone MADE me go to the doctor, it wasn't my choice, and he asked me "Do you feel this or that?" and when I answered yes he told me that I suffer from depression. In one way that was a really good moment because at least I knew why I felt that way, at least I could tag those feelings with something, at least there was something I could look at or research or do something about. Before I knew I had depression I was just really moody and I was miserable, I had alot of great things happen to me that I never enjoyed. It seemed like such a tragedy to me and I could never explain why I felt that way or why I never enjoyed these things and once I found out that I suffered from depression then I could look for something, then I could do something about it. But that didnt mean it was the end of it, I've been through HUGE up's and down's since then, but it helps to have a handle on it. I've never hidden it either, I've never tried to come off as something more than a human who has these feelings, everyone will go through it at one point in their life and some people will just be more prone to that chemical imbalance in their brain. You've got to watch out for the triggers, watch out for what sends you over the edge, watch out for what's at the beginning of that slope, that you dont go too far down. Touch wood that I haven't had a real bad episode in about 2 years now.

Jaymz : You have toured recently with Paul Dianno, how was that experience?
Blaze : Ah, it's just hilarious! In some ways we are absolutely alike, and other ways we are totally different. It's amazing going on tour with Paul, there's hardly any hassle or aggravation, very low stress, I'm just singing my old songs. What's great for me is, when I was actually recording those songs I wasn't the singer that I am now. It's nice to go back now with the maturity and emotions that I have now and the voice control that I have now and sing those songs now and give them a fresh feel. I really enjoy doing that, it's like meeting old friends when I go on tour with Paul, I really enjoy singing those old songs. Paul is alot of fun to hang around with he's always joking around, it's always a good time and the funny thing is whenever anything goes really bad on the tour we stick together, we're like evil brothers sticking together if some is trying to mess us about haha! It's great because so many people who wouldn't normally see me will get to see me as part of the Paul and Blaze tour, it's really helped me and it's gotten me over to alot of fans who would have liked me had they known about me, so I'm getting known now by those people and it's really cool.

Jaymz : Do you have any plans to tour in america?
Blaze : You know, it's so tough for me to get over there. I have alot of fans in the United States, but it's so big and they are dotted around all over the place. You guys need to make your country a bit smaller, a sensible size like the U.K., England is a proper sized country, your country is just too big haha! I do try and get there every year and sometimes I fail so if I dont get there this year I will try and make it there next year. But for the first time I'm going up to Canada and touring Canada for the first time since I left Iron Maiden so I would hope that I can come and play a few cities in the U.S. if not on part one of the tour, than on part two. I love playing there, I love the culture there, it's just expensive to get there and really the truth is I'm a cult artist, I'm a very small independent artist, I'm not part of the mainstream of music, I'm something outside of that so everything I do has to pay for itself, there's no bank behind me, there's no rich parents or big record company, the only thing that makes it possible for me to tour and do those things are the fans who support me. It's quite tough to get there, but I do keep trying. My last time there was full of up's and down's, some places were quite full and some just did no promotion at all and people didn't know I was coming there, so hopefully I can get back and do a better job next time.

Jaymz : Who is your biggest musical influence?
Blaze : Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillan, Bon Scott and the early Van Halen recordings of David Lee Roth, they've all been influences on me vocally. Musically while working on my own compositions, my biggest influence has to be Steve Harris, I don't want to sound like Iron Maiden, but the way that Steve Harris takes and idea from just something very quiet and a few notes on a page and turns it into a song like "The Clansman" is incredible. Musically, that's been a huge influence on how I write.

Jaymz : Non musical influences? Movies/books?
Blaze : Well, I like alot of science fiction movies, I like Phillip K. Dick who wrote "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sleep?" which turned into the movie Bladerunner. I like his style and his questioning of "is this actually happening to you NOW?". A big movie in my life has been Gattaca because it came along about the time I was working on "Silicon Messiah" and I found that the motif for the movie is that there's no gene for the human spirit, in other words, sheer force of will can get you further than talent. I think that's true and it's a big inspiration to me. I like alot of movies, normal flicks that everyone else like, I like alot of intense art films as well, I'm always trying to catch new films because I'm afraid of missing a good idea. I like independent films because the producers aren't afraid to take risks and they are always very interesting. Whenever I'm on itunes I'm always looking at the indie films as much as the blockbusters.

Jaymz : Are there any newer bands you like to listen to?
Blaze : I just did a promotional tour with a Belgian band called Mental Circus who are very good. Another band called Hell City that are very good as well. There's a couple of bands from the local area that I really like alot. I don't keep up with many new bands because I work so much that I just don't have time. The last thing I do when I come home is go out and see a band because I'm in a band and I see bands most nights. It's always interesting when I discover bands, I like playing festivals because I always get to see people I've heard of, but never seen. You'll find me at the back of the tent with the unsigned bands or the new bands when I'm on a festival if I'm not on stage.

Jaymz : What is your favorite gig you have played so far in your career?
Blaze : That's difficult, all the really great ones are really beautiful for different reasons. It's usually the unexpected ones that are the best. There's this gig in Brazil called Stonehenge Pub, I went there acoustic in January last year and they invited me back with my full metal band and it was so full, like 800 people and you think "Do they know it's me that's performing?" because it just seems like too many people and the reaction is enormous and so loud! It was great and on this tour so far that has been just a stand out show. Fans climbing on top of each other and there's no barrier so they all just mixed in to the front, it was so cool. I'm very, very lucky that I get to play alot of shows, and I get to play alot of full shows and I just have the best fans in the world.

Jaymz : What is the current status of Wolfsbane?
Blaze : Well we're still together, we had a new album called "Wolfsbane saves the world" and really we just haven't had the time to get together to write anything else. So I'm hoping that next year we'll be able to do an anniversary album, which would be great. But you can get the last album at it's a great album, I'm really proud of it and after 17 years break it just felt like Bang! the year after the last album you know? I'd love to be able to get back to it, but all of us are so busy with different projects, it's just really hard to find the time to get together and write an album.

Jaymz : Any advice for young up and coming musicians?
Blaze : Well I've got 2 pieces of advice. 1- Give up, don't bother, spend your time doing something more productive because it's a vicious industry and being good doesn't make any difference whatsoever to the level of success that you can expect. Just because you are the best drummer, bass player or singer in the world doesn't mean you are going to be successful. 2-If you are too stubborn to listen to that advice, you've probably got some of what it takes to get somewhere and that's it. In the beginning so many people told me to stop, so many people told me not to bother, so many people told me "Oh, you're not a very good singer" well I'm not the best singer but I never gave up. My best advice is to really get your head around contracts and math and try to be able to work out a spread-sheet and just practical book keeping and taking care of the numbers. It's music business and without the business there is no music and you are stuck in your bedroom. So from making your first demo's and your first CD's you've got to cost everything out carefully, it's all numbers at the end of the day. If you are one of the very rare bands that can sign a big deal you should really try and understand those numbers because they are going to mean something to you in the future.

Jaymz : What are your top 5 favorite albums of all time?
Blaze : I'd say Reign In Blood by Slayer, High Voltage by AC/DC, umm...nothing by Justin Bieber hahaha! Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son by Maiden, Holy Diver by Dio and Mob Rules by Black Sabbath, today that's what I say anyway, you know it changes just like the weather doesn't it? Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime is great, it sounds as fresh today as when it came out. Before I had a family, instead of buying a new bathroom I bought a brand new stereo just so I could hear Operation Mindcrime the best that I could, that's a fantastic album. I like alot of the old AC/DC, the pre Rick Rubin AC/DC I much prefer. I also like Airbourne who sound alot like AC/DC, someone said to me "Well it just sounds like AC/DC" and I said "well yeah, that's why I like it!" hahaha! That's not a bad thing, if they're not copying, it's their own stuff, it's exciting you know, if you need something to keep you going until the next AC/DC record you can buy an Airbourne album! I always put on an Airbourne album when I have to do alot of laundry or washing up. If I'm at home and need some motivation I put on Airbourne and that's my motivation to do the washing up! Cheers!

You can visit Blaze Bayley on Facebook at
And you can visit his official website at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tulsadoom - "Barbarian Steel"

 Hailing from the Vienna wastelands, Tulsadoom are a brutal 5 piece band who drink lots of beer and worship all things Conan the barbarian. "Barbarian Steel" is the title of their current full length album, 11 tracks of fast, heavy melodic thrashing death, with a heaping helping of old school and traditional power metal as well. One glance at the album cover and you know you are in for an epic journey of barbarian themed heavy metal. Album opener "The Glory Of Thulsa Doom" sets the tone for the rest of the tracks that follow, with it's melodious riffing, thunderous bass, pounding drums, fire-throated vocals and scorching lead guitars. The gang vocals in the chorus "For the glory of thulsa doom!" evokes images of marching into battle, weapons held high, and taking no prisoners! The band does an excellent job of re-telling our favorite barbarian's classic tales of bravery and battle, set to an excellent heavy metal soundtrack as evident in such cuts as "Attack the god of the four winds", "The hammer of thorgrim", "Tulsaride" and "Enter the snake cult". 3 songs into the album Tulsadoom plays a bit with a more black metal sound on "Fuck the god of the four winds", mixing some traditional metal influences with the likes of Celtic Frost and a hint of Dissection, this track also calls out to the Goatwhore fans with it's blazing riffs melting seemlessly into catchy, thrash/punk driven bridges. "Doomrider madness" has a very classic rock n' roll vibe, with its main riffs that remind this reviewer of classic Motorhead and a thrashy style that recalls early Megadeth especially with it's piercing guitar solo's. "Barbarian Beer attack" is a standout cut here. It has a great feel-good vibe and old school metal style that will have the listener banging their heads and raising a cold one in the air along to the lyrics "C'mon get drunk, life is short!". This will be a theme song for metalheads who love their beer cold, their metal classic and their parties to last all night long. Clocking in at just over 7 minutes long, "The hammer of thorgrim" is a viking metal styled tune, with a heavy stomping verse that will have Amon Amarth fans hitting the repeat buttons on their CD players and cranking the volume to the max, re-living this brutal slab of metal over and over again. "Barbarian bitchfuck" is a mid-paced anthem, full of grinding guitar pieces and beastly, clanking Steve Harris-like bass lines and solid double bass drumming rounded out by gravelly, hellish vocals provided by King Totolva. "Tulsaride" is another anthemic track, filled to the brim with catchy old school riffing and gang vocals that bring to mind the scene of a mead hall full of leather clad metal warriors swilling beer, banging their heads and roaring in approval of the mighty Tulsadoom's epic songwriting. This is yet another track that stands out on the disk and warrants many repeated listens at high volume. "Enter the snake cult" brings this raging slab of barbarian metal to a close, showcasing more of the bands affinity for melodic, guitar driven black metal vibes and classic thrash breakdowns. "Barbarian Steel" is in fact the answer to the proverbial "riddle of steel", it is a well rounded album full of everything a metalhead could want or need in a band. This Austrian outfit combines the best of all the extreme styles of every subgenre all while holding their swords high and flying the flag for epic barbarian heavy metal. If you've had enough of cookie cutter, deathcore, scenester bands, if you want your metal brutal and melodic and full of blazing guitar wizardry, then BY CROM look no further than Tulsadoom and add your very own copy of "Barbarian Steel" to your music collection! You can find the band online at and you can find videos for "Barbarian beer attack" and "Barbarian bitchfuck" on youtube. You can grab your very own CD copy of this album along with great t-shirts and patches at and you can hear cuts from this band and many other underground artists every Thursday evening from 7pm to 10pm EST at

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Iron Kingdom - Gates Of Eternity

 Hailing from Surrey, B.C. these Canadians serve up their own brand of traditional power metal on their newest full length release "Gates Of Eternity". This 9 track platter harkens back to the glory days of such trailblazing bands as Angelwitch, Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest and of course, Iron Maiden. The twin guitar attack of Chris Osterman and Kenny Kroecher mixes gritty riffing with tons of melody and more duelling harmonies and guitar solo's than Maiden fans can wave a union jack at! Album opener "At The Gates" sets the pace for an epic guitar driven ride of pure power metal bliss with it's twisting and turning changes, from it's anthemic chorus to it's clean, melodious bridge. "Chains Of Solitude" clocking in at over 7 minutes long, showcases an abundance of catchy riffs and top quality song crafting. These guitarists know how to play their instruments well and have the knowledge to piece together multiple riffs while keeping the listener completely engaged and not being overly flashy when it comes time to lay down a solo. "Demon Of Deception" slows the pace up just a bit with it's sludgy intro and chorus riffs. Iron Kingdom definitely let's their early
Mercyful Fate influence fly on this track, I could easily hear this song played in the same company as "Curse Of The Pharoahs" and "A Dangerous Meeting" not only for the songwriting but also for the unbelievable vocal highs that frontman Chris Osterman is able to obtain (and while he is playing guitar mind you!). Chris definitely has a unique voice all his own, while you can hear bits of Halford and King Diamond in his screams, he seems to have found his own vocal identity which isnt often heard from a singer on what is
only his sophomore release. Let's not overlook the fabulous rythmn section here also. The deep, clanking bass lines of Leighton Holmes and the tight, stomping drumming provided by Amanda Osterman are what give the muscle and backbone to songs like "Guardian Angel" and "Crowned In Iron". If forced to pick a favorite track from this album, I'd have to go with "At Home In The Dark". This track goes straight for the kill, jumping the gun at full speed with an excellent galloping riff and twin guitar pyrotechnics that get my
head banging and my fist pumping in the air even as I write this review. The absolutely epic 15 minute journey called "Egypt-The End Is Near" rounds this full length out. There's something in this track for everyone, thundering drums, blazing vocals, ground shaking bass and riffs-a-plenty with lots of tempo and timing changes. If you crossed Maiden's "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" with "Genghis Khan" you'd get something very close to what Iron Kingdom serve up with this track. Once again, the band seemlessly melts
together a mountain of musical pieces, making them all fit together and keeping the listener on it's toes and excited for what changes will come next, there's even a beautiful acoustic piece towards the end that comes out of nowhere! This is fun heavy metal. Iron Kingdom makes you want to crank the speakers up, chug a few cold brews and play air guitar along with every song until your hands cramp up. I can only imagine how excellent this band must be in a live setting, whipping the crowd into a frenzy with the amazing songs showcased on "Gates Of Eternity". Fans of old school power metal and NWOBHM absolutely need to add Iron Kingdom's "Gates Of Eternity" to your collection. You can purchase physical CD copies of the album (and limited cassette versions as well) by visiting and clicking on the "merch" tab, you can also purchase their debut album and t-shirts as well! Dont forget to visit the band at and click the "like" button too! You can hear cuts from this disk by tuning in to every Thursday evening from 7pm to 10pm EST and checking out Up From The Underground.