PREVIEW: Hammerfest IX

As we head into March the warm festival fields of summer seem like a lifetime away, but don’t worry because there’s something better, something much better! Hot water, comfy beds, Papa Johns, and plenty of quality Heavy Metal as well. It’s like other festivals but here you can watch four episodes of Come Dine With Me before Grand Magus in the afternoon. We’ve been coming to Hammerfest for many years now and it’s always one of the highlights on the calendar. The bookers at HRH surprise...
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INTERVIEW: Heathen Deity

October last year saw the return of True English Black Metal outfit Heathen Deity to the stage at The Blackwood Gathering in Fell Foot Wood, Lake District. It seemed like much more was happening than a brief live show though, that the band were showing us the beginnings of a full rebirth and I was intrigued to find out more. Dagon and Azrael opened up about where the band is going, and what makes the message so important after all these years...
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REVIEW: High Spirits, Manchester 27/02/17

It was a dark, cold and windy Monday night, even for Manchester. The last place then that you would expect to find the intensely bright light of Chicago’s High Spirits shining, but Retro Bar was next on their post-Brofest mini tour of the UK and I couldn’t wait to get inside and feel the power(and the warmth). This was the first time that the band had ever played in Manchester, and it was certainly going to be one of the rarer opportunities to see them in such an intimate environment, shared...
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REVIEW: Onslaught @ The Live Rooms, Chester 16/11/16

The Live Rooms have been on a mission to bring great Heavy Metal to Chester over the last twelve months, and although the city’s large alternative crowd seem to magically disappear every time somebody not from the Nu Metal/Pop Punk era is booked the venue have continued on with their quest. That leads us to now and the arrival of Thrash titans Onslaught. We’ve seen them play to giant crowds at various festivals over the years so we were relishing the chance to be able to...
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REVIEW: HRH NWOBHM 2016

Back when the announcement for this festival was made we couldn’t believe our eyes, and after checking it wasn’t April 1st it went straight into the Calendar. As huge fans of the NWOBHM era and it’s surviving bands, our Christmas was going to be coming early with some of the biggest names of the whole movement set to rip the roof off the o2 in where else but ruddy Sheffield...
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REVIEW: Blackwood Gathering 2016

As we were sponsoring this year's event we decided to try - albeit in vain - to place more emphasis on coverage and less on whisky consumption and to put together a highlight video from all of the goings on. With tickets being so limited and always selling out quickly we wanted to show those who have never been able to enjoy everything Blackwood has to offer just what they’re missing out on. From the duck taped, incense filled stage character of the main stage to the captivating rituals of Barry of the Blackwood...
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INTERVIEW: Reign of Erebus

This year’s Blackwood Gathering was one of rebirths, and there were none more anticipated than godfathers of the scene Reign of Erebus. Cthonian was resurrecting the project after a long hiatus and bringing some fresh faces in to breath new life into their legendary brand of Pure English Black Metal. We sat down with the man himself and guitarist Cinis before their performance to see what brought them back, and where they were going from here...
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PREVIEW: Blackwood Gathering 2016

With less than a week to go before proceedings kick off, the excitement of this year’s Blackwood Gathering has become too much to bear. As such, we’ve put together a little preview of what’s on offer this time around to help whet the Black Metal whistle a little bit more. We’re sponsoring this year’s event so come and say hi and don’t forget to smile/grimace for the cameras...
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NEWS: Denim and Leather to sponsor Blackwood Gathering 2016

Last October something really special happened. Having been all over Europe covering the best Heavy Metal gigs and festivals known to man, we experienced something on a different level, and we didn’t have to go far for it. The Blackwood Gathering is a quaint and utterly enriching camping experience at Fell Foot Wood in The Lake District where they also happen to put on some cracking Black Metal. Last year saw the mighty...
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INTERVIEW: Blind Guardian

Arriving early during the immensely deafening but hugely enjoyable Gloryhammer sound check, we made our way backstage at one of Manchester’s finest venues The Ritz to sit down with the mighty Blind Guardian ahead of what was to be a blistering 2 hour set that night. Talking all things Guardian past, present and future, you can watch the whole thing below and lookout for our review of the show (spoiler, it was bloody magical) in the coming days...
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INTERVIEW: Power Quest

After the news broke that UK Power Metal stalwarts Power Quest had decided to make a triumphant return to the scene three years after their emotional farewell set at Bloodstock, we were excited to find out their plans. The only man truly qualified for the job was of course our roving reporter and PQ megafan Terry Devaney, so he sat down with the man himself Steve Williams to find out what exciting things were to come...
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REVIEW: Ghostlight, Avantasia

The latest offering from Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia is Ghostlights, coming after a four year wait since their previous album The mystery of time. I usually get quite impatient waiting years for new albums from my favourite bands, however I have to make an exception for Avantasia knowing how busy Tobi is. In these four years we were treated with an Edguy album - Space Police: Defenders of the Crown - and a tour to accompany it...
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VOTA REVIEW: The Spirit Never Dies split, Graveland/Nokturnal Mortum

Nearly a decade has passed since the two undisputed kings of Slavonic Pagan Black Metal graced the same record together. Once again the war horns have sounded in the east, and both Poland and the Ukraine's finest have answered the call. The wait is finally over. It's not often that I review CDs, in fact this is the first one, and to be honest I still would have preferred this on wax, but as it's the only format available I had no choice...
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REVIEW: Winterfylleth & Cradle of Filth @ The Live Rooms, Chester 12/03/2016

Tickets for this show had been selling like hot cakes since it was first announced, but as it crept ever closer and was announced as a sell out show the anticipation for a great night built to fever point. Chester and it's surrounding areas' alternative crowds were all headed for The Live Rooms, and a huge booking for the venue in Cradle of Filth fresh from their headline slot at Hammerfest. Scattered amongst the crowd were...
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REVIEW: Enforcer @The Live Rooms, Chester 12/10/15

I’ve travelled all over for gigs in my time. From North Wales to North France, from Stoke to Amsterdam, and I’d do it all again. However I can’t explain the joy held in my heart when I found out that Enforcer had been announced to play a stones throw away from my house in leafy Chester on their co-headline tour with Wolf. The Live Rooms was the venue, and fellow Swedes Dynamite were supporting who I’d heard some great things about, alongside some local talent to boot. After...
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REVIEW: Enslaved & Grand Magus @Academy 3, Manchester 27/09/2015

It’s been a while since we were sipping reduced rate beer at the SU bar in Manchesters o2 Academy - we tend to avoid the smell of disappointment - but some things are worth it. The co-headline tour between Grand Magus and Enslaved was one of those things. Two stalwarts of the road coming from two ends of the Heavy Metal spectrum respectively was billed as an unmissable show...
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INTERVIEW: Roy Bjørge - Photographing Bergen’s Metal scene

The life of a concert photographer in 2015 is an unforgiving one. Promoters and record companies want you to work for free, and if you disagree then they’ll find somebody else that won’t. Your art is exploitable, and your time isn’t valued. This is thanks in no small part to the rise of the front row, smartphone photographer. ‘Johnny iPhone’ if you will. He turns up early to get his spec against the railings and proceeds to not watch any of the gig ahead with his own eyes in favour of...
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PREVIEW: Blackwood Gathering 2015

Taking place in the rugged wilderness of Cumbria, The Blackwood Gathering offers a unique chance to witness some of the best Black Metal around both domestically and internationally. Situated in the Fell Foot Wood and nestled away in the picturesque English Lake District, Blackwood overlooks a vast Lake Windermere with an outdoor performance area. The rituals take place on the 2nd and 3rd of October and we cannot wait. Below are some of the bands we urge you to check out if you...
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INTERVIEW: Alexxx Rebecq, Hellfest Productions

As we’ve mentioned a few thousand times before here at Denim and Leather, Hellfest is the crowning jewel in our festival calendar. Since our first trip to Clisson we’ve been more and more in awe of the festival - from the truly eclectic lineup to the wonderfully welcoming staff - every year that we’ve been back. After the triumphant celebrations of this year’s tenth installment, I’ve had time to reflect and wonder just what makes Hellfest tick. Thankfully I didn’t need to wonder for long, as...
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VOTA REVIEW: Ostara demo, Necropole

With Hellfest now behind us and Mütiilation's amazing show as well as the beautiful French countryside etched firmly in my mind, I have been on a bit of a French Black Metal binge lately. After hammering my way through the obligatory Les Legions Noir stalwarts Vlad Tepes, Mütiilation and Torgeist as well as modern French hooligans Peste Noir I finally got round to this beautiful little demo tape from newcomers to the French Scene Necropole. I received a flyer for the band’s first demo...
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A Date With Destiny: Heavy Metal Ballads - Part One

Anybody that knows me knows that I love a ballad. And they also know that you wouldn’t have to ask me twice to write an article about my favourite ones. What’s that, nobody asked me? Well I better just do it anyway in case they do. From Bonnie Tyler when I was a kid to Michael Kiske in my teens they’ve always struck a special chord with me, and I’ve often wondered why so many brilliant ballads from the world of Heavy Metal go largely unnoticed and untalked about. Perhaps the Hell’s...
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NEWS: Deva Victrix: Is The Live Rooms headed for Northern powerhouse status?

Aside from the odd trip to the capital and a few lavish trips around Europe, the last ten plus years that I’ve been going to heavy metal shows has generally led me to one of two places - Liverpool or Manchester - often the latter if I wanted anything above krieg Black Metal in a function room. As one of those people that you hear about that has a driver’s license but doesn’t own a car, I’ve always relied on others and they haven’t...
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REVIEW: Hellfest Day Three, Clisson, France 21/06/2015

As the relentless sun shone through our tents and forced us outside to face the final day of Hellfest, a delightful mixture of ‘Winds of Change’ and ‘Bloodlust’ floated through our heads from the night before. Looking at the schedule it was another very busy day indeed with lots to look forward to, chief of all the rarest of chance to see Scott Reagers perform with Vitus, something that we all thought we were ‘Born Too Late’ for. *Ahem*, is this thing on?...
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REVIEW: Hellfest Day Two, Clisson, France 20/06/2015

As we tucked into a selection of cheeses, cooked hams and freshly baked French baguettes whilst perusing the schedule for the day ahead, it was clear that it was going to be a very busy one, even for Hellfest standards. So after filling up our hip flasks, charging our camera batteries and applying a generously northern amount of sun cream, we headed for the arena in anticipation of what could well be the best day of the whole weekend...
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REVIEW: Hellfest Day One, Clisson, France 19/06/2015

So here we were again. After months of counting down the days and building up our excitement, we set out on our annual pilgrimage to Clisson for Hellfest. Making the trip even more special this time around were two factors. The first being that it was Hellfest’s tenth birthday and that knowing the organisers something spectacular would be planned, and the second being that The Scorpions were playing! We hit the road bright and early on Wednesday morning for our long...
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REVIEW: Blind Guardian @ Nosturi, Finland 02/06/2015

After not being able to attend the show Blind Guardian performed in London for various reasons, being given the opportunity to see them in Helsinki whilst I was in Finland was too good to turn down. I turned up to the venue Nosturi to find easily the most metal venue I've ever been to being situated right on the water's edge in Helsinki's docklands and surrounded by giant cranes, and as I headed in I arrived to discover that they had no support band warming up for them. Instead...
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VOTA REVIEW: Guthmers Hahl, White Medal

The UK's Black Metal scene is probably the strongest it's ever been at the moment, with a lot of creative and hard working bands consistently releasing inspiring and solid records (long gone are the embarrassing cringe worthy days of bands like cradle of filth) and no band is harder working than one man Black Metal Project White Medal and its unique brand of "Yorkshire Heathen Black Metal". The project is the brainchild of one of the most consistent and productive artists in the British...
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REVIEW: Monumentor, Askeregn

Norwegian Black Metal was once a tag of quality due to the scene producing a rather large handful of classic acts over the years, but it works as a negative too when bands receive praise and hype simply based upon the geographical location they were thrust into this mortal coil from as opposed to the quality of the music on display. Luckily Trondheim’s Terratur Possessions has assembled some of the finest Black Metal not...
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REVIEW: Obsequiae – Aria of vernal Tombs

The Renaissance period is widely considered to be the bridge between the Middle Ages and modern history, and Aria of Vernal Tombs is a testament to the brilliant art that can be created by bridging two very distinct periods of sound together. Using the glorious tradition of sense of melody and song from our collective past and coupling that with the joys of modern day Extreme Metal is no easy feat, but Obsequiae manage to pull this off harmoniously. My first experience...
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VOTA REVIEW: Death Rune EP, Sons of Fenris

Sweden based label and dark Germanic Heathenism collective Scythe Of Death Productions has graced the underground with some fantastic music in recent years, with some of Black Metal's finest bands rallying under the SDP banner and unleashing Abgrundjaskalkaz inspired rituals on those whose ears are ready to tread the path of the primordial void and return to Ginnungagap(I may write an article on dark Germanic Heathenism in the future so watch this space)...
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REVIEW: Stormcrow, Cain’s Offering

There's a lot of hype around these days. Some of it is brought on by Hollywood's blank cheque approach to Blockbuster reboots of cherished movies, but more often than not it's brought on by ourselves. We look forward to something so much that impossibly unrealistic expectations begin to take shape, and no matter how good the end product it's always underwhelming. Such was the enormous, beastlike hype that I had managed to conjure up prior to the...
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VOTA REVIEW: Ad Maiorem Sathanae Gloriam, Countess

When you think of Black Metal, Holland is not the first country that springs to mind. However the Netherlands is home to some fantastic BM bands like Urfaust, Murw, Hekel, Mordeahoth and Cultus to name a few. None of these hold such cult status (with the exception of Urfaust these days) as Countess, though. Formed in the early 90's and heavily influenced by the music of Bathory and Venom, Countess unleashed its orthodox Black Metal into the underground tape trading circuit...
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NEWS: Graveland Live?

Since Capricornus and Karcaroth left Graveland in the 90's the project has been solely a one man affair, the last decade or so being spearheaded by the last surviving member, Rob Darken. With a string of consistent and often brilliant releases Darken has worked hard year in year out to continue to build the Graveland fan base, but there is one thing all Graveland fans are craving deep down and that's a live show! Well the wait may be over. Last year Darken played...
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PREVIEW: Hellfest 2015 - Clisson, France

It’s that time of year again when we all start allowing ourselves to get a bit excited about the summer ahead and begin to worry about how we’re going to pay for all the festival tickets. Choosing which ones to go to can be really tough when factoring in lineups, atmosphere, location and price, but between us we've been to shows and festivals all over the world and for us nothing quite compares to Hellfest. Sitting in picturesque Clisson in Western France and set during the scorching...
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REVIEW: 1585 - 1646, Possession (Belgium)

In a society that is constantly sanitised, with all elements of danger and freedom slowly becoming absent from most people's everyday lives, it’s no surprise that folk are in turn now looking backwards towards a more care free and 'dangerous' time. Possession fit this to a tee, harking back to a time when the lines between what is black and what is death weren’t so clearly defined. Where fast paced, satanic and savage Extreme Metal was all that was...
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REVIEW: Opus: Decay, Abominor

Icelandic Black Metal continues to go from strength to strength with a strong release coming from the 323,000 population of the isle on an almost monthly basis. With a style that encompasses sharp and suffocating riffing that reflects the harshness of the volcanic surrounds and it’s Northern location, it’s no surprise why it is such fertile ground for dark and twisted extreme metal that gives the feeling of being the yang to the yin of the supposed ‘happiest people on earth’...
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REVIEW: Sonata Arctica, Freedom Call @ o2 Academy Islington, London 01/05/2015

It isn’t often that I make the trip down to our cesspit of a capital city. Very rarely so just for one gig, and even then it has to be something special. To see Ecliptica performed in full however I would have chewed both of my legs off and crawled through the streets of London spouting Tory propaganda all the way to the o2 Academy in Islington. It was my first time here and what a queue there was upon my arrival, snaking through...
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VOTA: Ukrainian Black Metal

The Ukraine has always had a very strong and active Black Metal scene. It leans heavily to the Pagan and atmospheric side of things, and the majority of the band’s concepts and ideas are drawn from old Slavic and germanic mythology, history, nature and national identity. In turn this produces a sound that is both unique and inspiring and it's no secret that I'm a huge fan! There is a lot of folk influence but the sound remains raw, untamed and rooted in traditional...
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VOTA REVIEW: Zeitgeist, Heimdalls Wahct/Trollzorn Split

Now I have to say that I'm a huge fan of splits. They’ve always been a great way to discover new bands as well as a chance to get hold of some rare tracks from bands you already know. It's no secret around here that I'm a huge fan of German Pagan Black Metallers Heimdalls Wacht, and their unique brand of Heathen Black Metal has always struck a chord with me. It had been two years since the band's last full length Ekte Westfäölske Svatte Metal so I was pretty hyped at the chance to...
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REVIEW: Hammerfest VII , Pwllheli, Wales 12-14th March, 2015

As this would be Denim and Leather’s first official outing as a team since launching the new website, we were counting down the days until we could hit the road and head for the beautiful landscapes of North Wales before ultimately arriving at Hard Rock Hell HQ in Pwllheli. With our hip flasks full, patch jackets on and black metal flyers in hand we arrived at our digs and the wine began to flow. What followed were a series of blurred photographs, infinite rounds of toast, true company...
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REVIEW: Darkwinter Possession, Deheubarth

Hailing from South Wales and named after an ancient Welsh kingdom, one man Black Metal project Deheubarth are set to release Darkwinter Possession via the always dependable Ulthar records, former home of Liverpool’s most exalted acts Ninkharsag & Coltsblood. The band describing themselves as the fear of ancient Cambria and the manifestation of the spirit of the Brythons is more than apt, with their approach involving no frills or modern trickery which allows the sheer...
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REVIEW: Ascension, Bölzer, Destroyer 666, Vassafor & Dysangelium @ The Dome, Tufnell Park, London 22/02/15

“It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.”
Venturing from the countryside to London in search of Sin & Dread and finding it is certainly no problem with the now constantly great bookings by London’s Isengard promotions and tonight was no exception...
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PREVIEW: Hammerfest VII

As another March rolls around the Denim and Leather crew will be riding across the Pagan vastlands of the Clwydian Range and through Snowdonia to descend upon Hammerfest once more armed with enough bacon and rum to put down even the stoutest party of Dwarves. With so much action happening across the three days, as usual we’ve done the hard work for you and below you’ll find our top bands not to be missed over the weekend. Note: though not a ‘band’ per...
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REVIEW: Hurlemort, Maléfices

Métal Noir Québécois is fast becoming one of the most consistent scenes in the underground thanks to a string of quality releases of unified spirit. On the rawer side of this are one man cult outfit Maléfices who are on their way to becoming underground Black Metal darlings.
Hurlemort is a rehearsal for a planned live performance in autumn 2013 and increases the quality and delivery of the previous material both in means of production and in execution...
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VOTA REVIEW: Atmosphere, Kladovest

For those of you who don’t know, Kaldovest are a Ukrainian atmospheric Black Metal project consisting of Dimitry K.(of Flammersjel) And Thurios (of Drudkh and Astrofaes fame). Here I will be reviewing the Cassette version of the album Atmosphere from 2012 released by Warewolf promotions/Putrid Cult and limited to 320 copies. From the album title and the cover art alone you can already guess what awaits you within which is something that really is nothing short of what it....
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REVIEW: Demo, Doomentor

Most blackened doom tends to be firmly stuck on the extreme end of the spectrum. Doomentor however utilise the more straight up rocking aspects of traditional doom whilst maintaining an extreme edge and aesthetic. They do this by channelling an eclectic mix of old Samael and Psalm 9 Era trouble for their debut demo release on Germany’s Messe Noir Productions...
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REVIEW: Arcane Death Ritual, Sortilegia

Canadian Black Metal is unquestionably going from strength to strength in recent times with a string of quality releases that include this brilliant debut LP from two man band Sortilegia. This full length release is another jewel in the crown of the exceptional German label Ván Records that seem to be releasing quality Metal across all sub genres on an ostensibly monthly basis...
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VOTA REVIEW: Moonsorrow, Northern Oak @ Fibbers, York 21/02/2015

Hail! For the last few years now some smart individuals have been booking pagan metal bands to coincide with the Jorvik Viking Festival in York, which also lands pretty close to my Name Day. Myself and the D&L team went up a few years ago to see a much younger and inexperienced TYR and had a bloody good weekend, hence why I jumped at the chance to see Moonsorrow at a similar one off show, so me and the mrs...
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REVIEW - Primordial, Winterfylleth, Malthusian @ Sound Control, Manchester 06/02/2015

There are very few pleasures on offer in Manchester on a brisk Friday night and as the cold wind blows down Oxford Road it seems like an endless walk thanks to my favourite city centre parking spot being kiboshed by the local council. Sound Control is quickly becoming the hub for most of the quality shows passing through Manchester and this was certainly no exception...
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REVIEW - Söngvar elds og óreiðu, MisÞyrming

Icelandic Black Metal continues to go from strength to strength and MisÞtyming(pronounced ‘Mæs-tær-meing’) find themselves firmly added to the already long list of stellar releases from the isle in the last few years with their latest offering Söngvar elds og óreiðu. Like other contemporary’s Svartidauði and Sinmara, MisÞyrming utilise what is often a claustrophobic sound with eerie and dissonant guitar riffs that jar in and out of your cerebral with a razor sharp intensity, whilst...
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VOTA - The Pagan Herald Fanzine

Hail, and welcome to Voice of the Ancients! Now, personally I am not a big fan of the whole internet thing. Well not the internet itself but more the idea of sitting in front of a computer reading (the irony of me sat here writing these reviews not being lost). It seems in this day and age nothing is real anymore. Nothing is physical and you can’t hold it in your hands, it’s all just numbers floating around in an endless void. It seems that our connection to the world around us has been severed...
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REVIEW - Ildsvander, Slaegt

A thrilling shot of adrenaline with a very raw and urgent sounding approach is present in this eagerly anticipated debut full length from Danish two Man Black Metal outfit Slaegt. Ildsvander comprises of 10 tracks that rarely break the 3 minute mark and coming courtesy of Danish label Posh Isolation it follows the release of a brilliantly received demo and split tape release with Yorkshires finest White Medal...
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VOTA REVIEW: Sejr, Angantyr

Hail! Angantyr is a one man black metal project from Denmark created by ex-Holmgang member Ynleborgaz and today I will be reviewing the cassette version of the album Sejr, released by Total Holocaust Records and limited to 500 copies. With it, Angantyr stand defiant in the face of Christianity, and the indignation fueled rage felt towards the bastardisation and destruction of our ancestor’s cultural beliefs erupts from the speakers like a warband of Danes launching a raid on a monastery... READ MORE
REVIEW: Vemod, Hetroertzen, Cult of Fire, Sortilegia @ Magasin 4, Brussels, 06/12/2014

A Thousand Lost Civilisations have gained a thoroughly well deserved reputation for curating some of the best lineups in the world when it comes to underground Black & Death Metal, and with a quick glance at this bill it was no wonder why. After the mundane chores of low-cost flying we arrived in Brussels for a few well deserved beers before heading to Magasin 4; a disused warehouse in an industrial area of the Belgian...
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ALBUM OF THE MONTH-MAR '17

Artist - Jesters of Destiny
Title - The Sorrows That Refuse to Drown
Label - Ektro

Thirty years after Jesters of Destiny arrived, dropped Fun at the Funeral and disappeared back into the night, they’re finally back with a second full length release courtesy of Ektro Records, and whilst it could never live up to first album, the eccentricity of the band shines through once more and it’s a crazy ride from start to finish. Pick it up on April 4th!



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GIG OF THE MONTH - MAR '17

Artist - Hammerfest IX
Date - 23rd- 26th March
Venue - Pwllheli, Wales  

One of our main highlights of the year, this month we’re off to Wales for Hammerfest, HRH’s Heavy Metal flagship. With the return of two Power Metal titans alongside a host of others, this year looks to be one of their best ever. We’ll be covering the whole festival and conducting interviews as well so lookout for the cameras!