Sunday, 29 May 2011

Unsigned Review: Orias (Sweden)

Here is my first unsigned review, the rating systems will differ to the other reviews. I will rate as follows:

1 - Give it up
2 -  Average
3 - Good
4 - Excellent
5 - How are you unsigned?!



Anthony Berlin: Keys
Gianluca Delle Fave: Guitar
Nico Lauritsen: Vocals
Alex Littorin: Bass
Niklas Cvetkovski: Guitar

(Seeking New Drummer)


Symphonic metal

You'll like this if you like:
Blind Guardian
Visions of Atlantic

Current Release:
Recording EP

The symphonic metal genre is one of those Marmite genre's: you either love it or you find it incredibly annoying. Some bands find it difficult not be classed as 'cheesy' and are forever labelled as a 'party band'. The few bands that do make it can spend tens of thousands of pounds polishing their music and using the world's best orchestra's. So, where does that leave those bands just starting out? In a very difficult situation indeed.

Orias hail from Sweden, one of the 'homes' of heavy metal. On my first listen to the song 'Last Tear' I was taken aback, not only by the shear professional sound but by the emotion dripping from every note and word sung or played. It is hard to believe that these guys are just starting out. Vocalist Nico Lauritsen pours everything into his performance, as if it was his last duty on earth; drawing you in. The orchestral elements add great depth to each song, especially in 'Last Tear' where they pull on your heartstrings. It is difficult to believe that it is not the London Symphonic Orchestra stepping in but founding member Anthony Berlin on keys. Orias are currently recording a full length EP, and I for one cannot wait to hear it. There is so much potential surrounding this band, that give them a real orchestra and a couple more years and the sky's the limit!

Rating: 4.5/5


Friday, 27 May 2011

Gig Review: Rush @ The O2 Arena 25/5/11

Rush - 'Time Machine' Tour 2011

Never cool, always geeky...
Firstly, the epic set list:

First Set:
1) The Spirit Of Radio
2) Time Stand Still
3) Presto
4) Stick It Out
5) Workin' Them Angels
6) Leave That Thing Alone
7) Faithless
8) BU2B
9) Freewill
10) Marathon
11) Subdivisions

Second Set:
12) Tom Sawyer
13) Red Barchetta
14) YYZ
15) Limelight
16) The Camera Eye
17) Witch Hunt
18) Vital Signs
19) Caravan
20) Drum Solo
21) Closer To The Heart
22) 2112 Part 1: Overture
23) 2112 Part 2: The Temples Of Syrinx

24) La Villa Strangiato
25) Working Man

It's amazing to think that after 40 years, the band that was rejected by critics in their early (and sometimes even later) stages, could still pull together 23,000 people for a two and a half hour show comprising of their greatest hits and 'Moving Pictures' in it's entirety. But, once again, Rush are proving their critics wrong and in spectacular style. Even in the charmless and corporate O2 Arena they still manage to pull off something that no other band in the world can. 

The 'wizards'
Opening with 'The Spirit Of Radio' (arguably their most 'radio friendly' song to date), Rush immediately hook the 20,000 strong crowd with their passion, energy and enthusiasm. Despite nearing bus pass age, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart (or Pe-art, i shall explain later) show no signs of slowing down. The first set comprises of their greatest hits, including the thought provoking 'Faithless' and crowd favourite 'Freewill'.  They also provide a treat with two new songs from their forthcoming album 'Clockwork Angels', the first of these being the sublime BU2B, an album that Neil Peart has quoted as being his 'best lyrical and melodic achievement to date', can't wait for that! The final song of the first set 'Subdivisions' closes what would have been, for most bands, an entire set. 

After a short intermission, we are treated to a performance of  'Moving Pictures' in it's entirety. Flawlessly performed, 'Tom Sawyer' and 'Limelight' being crowd favourite's as always. Then it is on to the second airing of their new material, this time it is the turn of 'Caravan' which gets almost the same reaction from the crowd as the likes of  'Tom Sawyer' and 'The Spirit Of Radio'. We then saw the master at work; Neil Peart's drum solo. He truly is the best; not just for his technical skills, but for the effortless ease with which he hits each drum. The whole audience was mesmerised. The beautiful 'Closer To The Heart' provides the crowd with a good chance to sing along, bring some (including myself) close to tears. Then it is on to, there's no other word for it, epic stylings of  two songs from '2112'. Finally, the encore. It came all too soon, and marked the end of the show of a lifetime. 'La Villa Strangiato' is the first, the song which all musicians aspire to play. No note missed, everything is pitch perfect. Then, onto an odd but enjoyable reggae version of 'Working Man'.

Then, all too soon it is time for the gig to be over and for us to leave. But not before we've been treated to this:

Rating: 10/10

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Band of the Week: Periphery (Roadrunner)

After being introduced to Xerath the other week and becoming totally addicted, i decided to seek out more bands associated with the Djent movement currently sweeping through metal. Periphery were formed in 2005 by guitarist Mishar Mansoor. As with many musicians in the modern world, Mansoor slowly gained a reputation via the internet, mainly for his audio production which he carried out on his home computer. Between 2005 and 2009, Periphery worked with vocalists Jake Veredika, Casey Sabol and Chris Barretto, gradually moving from a Meshuggah-influenced sound to a more ambient, melodic sound, with a focus on innovative production. Their current-self titled release is impressive not only for its innovation and unique take on the Meshuggah sound, but because is was the vision of one man who was determined to break the mould within metal.

Periphery will be playing the Bohemia stage at Sonisphere on the Saturday. You can find tickets via   

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Gig Review: My Dying Bride: Albion in Ruin (20th Anniversary) @ Islington Academy 18/5/11

My Dying Bride w/Ava Inferi

Sorry this is a little late at being uploaded, Internet Explorer decided it didn't like my review and froze when i tried to post it yesterday. Luckily, Google Chrome is a little more metal. So, first of all, here are my criteria for gig reviews:

1-2 Zzzz

3-4 Forgettable

5-6 Good, but no cigar

7-9 Immense

10 Legendary

Ava Inferi (Support)

I'm sure what myself or the rest of the crowd were expecting from these Portugese gothic doomers, but it certainly wasn't...this:

After a 45 minute wait, Ava Inferi took to the stage; and from there it all went wrong. Looking like they'd much rather be backstage with a beer than on stage in front of an eager crowd. Opening with a track from their latest opus 'Onyx', the band simply looked bored. There was no movement, no crowd interaction, so inevitably the crowd responded with nothing but polite applause and one or two sarcastic 'woops'. Their performance, sadly, wasn't helped by eccentric front woman Carmen Susana Simões. It did little for the performance, and even hindered it at times. It's a shame they couldn't pull off a live performance to do justice to their albums. Their mediocre performance is only highlighted more by the flawless performance of My Dying Bride (3/10).

My Dying Bride

"Only we could open with a 9 minute doom epic sung in Latin, who else?" Who else indeed? A fitting start to celebrating 20 years of metal's most prolific doom outfit. The song in question, 'Sear Me', was beautifully sung and lovingly performed. As was every song, old or new. Airing some of their rarest songs, including the never-played-before 'The Sexuality of Bereavement' and their most recent including 'My Body, A Funeral'; it's easy to see why My Dying Bride have had the staying power of 20 years. Front man Aaron Stainthorpe performs with such sincerity and emotion, that it is difficult not to get caught up in it. During the rendition of 'The Dreadful Hours' the whole crowd was mesmerised. It was an honour to be in the crowd tonight, and i genuinely believe i saw something special and unmissable. Long my they reign! (9.5/10).

Set List

Sear Me
Bring Me Victory
The Whore, The Cook And The Mother
Like Gods Of The Sun
Catherine Blake
The Crown Of Sympathy
For You
The Cry of Mankind
The Sexuality Of Bereavement
She Is The Dark
Your River
My Body, A Funeral
The Dreadful Hours

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Album Review: Septicflesh - 'The Great Mass'

Right guys, here is my first review is a long while! I am writing it now as Eurovision is on, and i don't wish to spoil my brain. Here are the categories i shall be using to review gigs/albums:

1-2 Shit

3-5 Average

6-7 Good

8-9 Awesome

10 Classic

Septicflesh - 'The Great Mass'

Epic. Oh, you want more? Fair enough. Having released the mighty 'Communion' in 2008, Greek death-metallers Septicflesh seemed to be on top of their game. But they were far from it; because 'The Great Mass' is an epic (yes, it's that word again) masterpiece. But how could it not be? Not only do the band have the Prague Filmharmonic Orchestra and a female soprano (Androniki Skoula) stepping in to offer some symphonic depth, but guiding the whole project is a hefty Pete Tagtgren production. The result is a blockbuster of an album. Despite the inclusion of an orchestra, the songs do not drag or outstay their welcome but bash through the speakers with no remorse. The harsh vocals of Spiros Antoniou offer a dramatic contrast to the cleaner vocals of Androniki Skoula and Sotiris Vayenas, the standalone 'Rising' is a good example of this. Opener 'The Vampires of Nazareth' literally punches your ears clean off, whereas 'Mad Architect' feels like the inside of a schizophrenics head. Septicflesh have produced the most symphonic and dynamic listens of modern death metal. This is definitely the soundtrack to the apocalypse.

Rating: 9

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Favourite Gigs of 2011 (So Far!)

What a year 2011 has been so far! I've experienced some of the best gigs of my life, and got into a few support bands. Which gigs though have stood out? Well here are a few which i'll never forget!

1) Rob Zombie - 16/2/11 @ Brixton Academy

Note: This is not my photograph (
His films might be a bit hit and miss, but there's one thing Rob Zombie never fails on and that's putting on a kick-ass show! And he didn't disapoint; with his first UK show in 12 years (as he would remind us frequently) Rob Zombie needed to pull out all the stops to ensure this would be a gig to remember. And boy did he do that and tons more! With more fire than a medieval witch hunt, mild porn shown on big screens and giant robots, Rob Zombie proved he is a force to be reckoned with.

2) Devin Townsend - 26/3/11 @ Islington O2 Academy

He shall always be known as 'The Nutty Professor'

The man of a thousand faces!
Well, what can i say? Having seen Devin Townsend's technically faulty set at Bloodstock (although he still managed to pull it out of the bad and become one of the highlights of the festival) i was keen to the him in his element. And boy, was he in his element tonight! Not many metal musicians could play 'Barbie Girl' at the start of their set and get away with it, but for some reason he gets away with it, and even gets some of the crowd dancing along (myself included). The highlight of this performance was crowd sing-a-long favourite 'Life' as it means a great deal to me, also a highlight was the jiving number 'Bad Devil'. A fantastic night! He'll be returning to Bloodstock in August, and cannot wait to hear tracks from his upcoming albums 'Ghost' and 'Deconstruction'.

Oh, did i not mention? I also met the man himself!
3) Enslaved - 22/4/11 @ The Underworld

Shirtless wonder
The crowds literally went wild
After being forced to move their gig at the Camden Underworld from October 2010 to April 2011, many fans have been waiting months to see their favourite nordic black metal proggers return to headling a UK tour. Starting the preceedings with a rather bizzare performance from Negura Bunget, including big horns and chanting, the crowd is literally foaming at the mouth for Enslaved to take the stage. And when they do, they destroy everything in site! With a set randing from their latest opus 'Axioma Ethica Oudini' to their earlier albums including 'Isa'. Long may Enslaved reign!

Well there ya have it! My three most memorable gigs of the year so far. Having got many more lined up, including three festivals, i'm sure i'll have more to add to this list at the end of the year. Next up, My Dying Bride and Rush (yeeeeaaaahhh).

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Tuomas (Nightwish) Meeting: Feb 2011

I was just going through my photo's and found the Tuomas one's i took when i interviewed him with Carol Walker ( It was such an amazing day, i'll never forget it! Now i know some of the Escapist regulars would have seen these, but i thought i'd upload them cos they mean a lot to me!

Above: Tuomas looks through his present :) Thanks to everyone who took part, he was extremely touched.

Above: LOVE this photo, always makes me giggle! Tuomas thought i was recording him, bless.

Above: Escapist founder Carol, looking much more composed than she felt inside :P

Above: Myself and Tuomas! Thanks for the opportunity Carol, i'll never forget it!

You can find the video interview and a transcript at this link -

BEWARE: These photo's are MINE and are NOT to be taken without permission from this Blog.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Band Of The Week: Xerath (Candlelight)

A new feature of mine, I have decided to share with you the bands I have been addicted to each week and their current releases!

This week it is the turn of Pantera/Strapping Young Lad-esque proggers Xerath. Heralding from the mighty town of Basingstoke, UK (hmm, not as epic as i'd hoped), their current release 'II' is a testament to the current Djent movement, with groove-laden proggy metal which is as addictive as it is epic. Xerath now have the confidence to pull of such a feat, putting them equal to their peers (TesseracT, Periphery etc).

Check them out at