Dead Inside Tour Diary

My band and I embarked on our first mini tour from the 20th July to the 23rd of July and we had a blast overall. Initially five days, the four day tour gave us all many great experiences and we met many great people.

The tour begun on Saturday (20th) at midday in Nottingham’s bus station for our Leicester date. We’d been booked to play a charity all-day event alongside Origins, Icons and Foul Body Autopsy amongst others in memory of Sophie Lancaster (RIP). Leicester was, without a doubt, the most stressful day of the tour. I had to run around Nottingham trying to find our drummer (he’s not from round here, so he was unsure where to go) whilst people were boarding the coach. When we found Ryan, he then had to pretty much bribe the driver with a £10 note to let him on the coach. The journey was over pretty quick but we spent three quarters of an hour walking around Leicester trying to find the venue. Although Google Maps said it was two minutes away from the bus station, we learned that our band is crap with directions. We eventually arrived at the venue only to find out there was a mix up with the equipment and we wouldn’t be able to play. Some of the staff ran round the venue trying to locate us guitar and drum equipment and for that, I can’t thank you enough. Local band Three Thirds Below had been booked to play last minute and they lent us their equipment (it’s like fate, huh?), and we had to cut all the stage banter out from our set in order to get through all eight songs in the allotted time we were given. The set itself went okay but by the end the floors were so covered in sweat it was absolutely LETHAL if you wanted to 2-step or throwdown to the next few bands. I was pretty stoked when I found out we had been booked on the same stage (a dingy basement) as Foul Body Autopsy (one man brutal death metal band with plenty of slams), because he’s one of my inspirations whenever I write death metal riffs. His set was fantastic and I walked away with a shirt.

Most of us slept in a tent in my back garden before grabbing a lift to Chesterfield for the next show. Fissurefest was good and bad for different reasons. Our drummer organised it and we lost cash because so few people turned up. Shout out to Matt and Sam who came down from Nottingham to watch us and the rest of the bands, cool dudes. The venue has a “no moshing” rule which put a downer on the whole day and the licence the venue held meant that everybody under 18 had to leave after 7pm. We opened the show and our set went down pretty well, we got some cool photos out of it as well (thanks Victoria!). I spent most of the day skating around Chesterfield with the lads in Sink The City and drinking chocolate milkshakes from MacDonald’s. Despite that though, there were some really great sets. Our friends in Derby melodicore (is that what people are calling it?) band Last Day of May put on a really great show, as did The Distant North and the cool deathcore band Beneath A Liar. Definitely check them all out. Unfortunately the event overran and Sink The City didn’t even get to play because half the members are under 18 which is an absolute fucking joke. How you can claim to run a venue that puts hardcore shows on and have restrictions like that is beyond me. We drove back to Aly’s (bass) house afterwards in Notts to get ready for the show the next day. We pretty much just watched Peep Show till whatever time.

Nottingham doesn’t have a hardcore scene, I can name like 3 bands besides us that come/came from here – Feral Youth (RIP), Splitcase (RIP) and Bleak Reality. Oh, and Destroyer BC, they’re cool too, check them out if you like doom/sludge, for sure. I put the show on at The Maze that day and walked away with £120 (woo!). It was pretty cool – Derby deathcore band We Are Tyrants headlined and proved they are an absolute force to be reckoned with, whilst Set In The Skies brought their usual balance of melodic sections and metalcore heaviness. Maven are more mainstream, plenty of clean vocals, choruses and sing-alongs. They’re from London and you should definitely check them out if you’re into The Blackout or any of those bands. Despite having TWO bands cancel on me 6 HOURS before doors were due to open (naming and shaming We Fell From Glory because they “forgot”) the show was really good. Our set was fun too, had some people singing along to our Desolated and Acacia Strain covers and had a couple of people throwdown and 2-step to our songs too (which is rare in Notts). The sound was perfect that day, just want to say thank you to Phil (I think his name is), he seems like a nice guy and his sound is always great. I think he plays bass in Notts emo/punk bands Plaids too. We headed back to Aly’s after to prepare ourselves for Rotherham, the final date.

Bessfest is, without a doubt a) the best show I have ever played b) the best time I have ever had and c) the best small/local show I’ve ever attended. Personal note: I’m friends with people all over the UK in hardcore bands, and Rotherham was amazing because we all got booked on the same date, so I got to meet them all. I got to meet the dudes in Journey’s End (Wakefield), No Excuse (Southampton), Snake Eyes (Glasgow) and my friends Lee (Selby) and Tom (Wakefield). The day was a whole lot of fun, the Journey’s End/Dead Inside crew spent the day eating MacDonald’s, bitching about bands and taking xtoughguyx crew photos. Our set was amazing too – while our opening was a little shaky, the room EXPLODED in a flurry of spinkicks and crowdkilling to our Shattered Realm cover which followed soon after. About 50 people lost their shit and it was absolutely beautiful. The rest of the set was cool, plenty of mic-grabbing during The Acacia Strain and Desolated covers. Journey’s End’s set was a lot of fun too, so glad I’ve seen them live. No Excuse’s set was on a whole different level though – Their brand of 80s influenced straight edge youth crew was a welcome departure from the beatdown hardcore many of the other bands offered that day. Though they only played for ten minutes, their set was the most fun and the most memorable of the day – plenty of 2-step sections and sing-alongs. Snake Eyes had a lot of groovy riffs and stuff too, though I only caught the last ten minutes of their set. Revelations hailed from Chesterfield and their pits looked ABSOLTUELY LETHAL. So many people crowdkilling to 40BPM beatdowns. Fairly amusing to watch too, check them out if they come to your town. We left afterwards though, and the goodbyes were pretty heartbreaking haha!

I know it sounds cliché but I met so many great people and I can’t wait to do it all again at some point in the future. There’s nothing better than sleeping in your own bed after stinking of sweat for four straight days too, and if anybody tells you different then they’re lying.

Shoutouts to all the bands mentioned above, all the promoters, everyone who came down to see us, everyone who moshed and all the parents who had to put up with us haha!

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Heavy Metal: Faces Of The Genre And A Lifetime Of Work

Part One.

Metal, often referred to as heavy metal, is a genre developed from rock music. Now that might seem a little obvious, but the music itself goes a whole lot further than that. For those wondering what this is, “Heavy Metal: Faces Of The Genre and a Lifetime Of Work” is a definitive guide to metal, its genres, its sub-genres, its fusion genres, the pioneers of metal, idols in the industry and labels that work so hard to bring you your favorite music.

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From the early 1960s, there has always been a hint of metal in mainstream music. What was considered “extreme” back then could only be considered the foundations, the building blocks of modern metal, and would see the birth of one of the most varied and massive genres to ever hit the world!  It is noted that metal was originally conceived in the United Kingdom and America but from there, an industry was born and the world turned over. Despite the negative implications often associated with the genre at the time by parents, community and even the religious sector; Metal has stood strong and is continuing to grow, expand and gain influence on every continent of this earth. The genre has always been categorized by its overall loudness, beats, up-tempo passages, high gain to distorted amplifier sounds and the often ‘rough’ attitude from artists that wear the metal banner “loud and proud”.

So without further ado, let’s begin this journey of a lifetime.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s acts were noted for being the fathers of the metal genre, needless to say the genre’s stereotypes have changed a lot from then but acts like  Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath attracted large audiences, but often were put on the harsh end of the critic’s stick, which unfortunately came for most acts within the genre at the time.

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Now in case you have been hiding out in some desert cave since the glorious 50’s these three bands are considered some of today’s biggest influence to modern groups but the ball didn’t just start with these three pioneering groups. There are others who hold the flag and represent what it meant to be “hard rock” or “heavy metal”. From the early days; The Who, Beatles, Cream, Rush, Journey and wit all honesty this list will go on and on. From acts that were originally knocked back by mainstream society, often accredited to being Satan/Devil worship to be some of the most well-known, prolific acts to ever hit the music industry, all in a matter of years. From the start, the genre proved that it was resilient, even when backed against the wall and frowned on by what seemed to be the world over.

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The genre found its roots in the form of Memphis blues, yes, blues in the 1950’s. However, that doesn’t mean blues created metal in the 50’s instead it took almost a decade for the sound to develop and stand on its own accord. Think, the Rolling Stones. If there’s been a few names that have thus far stood the tests of time, the likes of The Rolling Stones are one of them.

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So if the question was asked: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” My answer is simple; the egg came first in the shape of United Kingdom blues rock bands which in turn, influenced the American scene and from that egg, well… the chicken grew and grew. The tempos got faster, and the sound found itself “dirtier”. This is where the music itself became the building blocks for heavy metal. If there’s any other forces that made an impact on the metal scene it doesn’t take long to remember the likes of such seminal acts; The Who, Cream, and who could forget The Jimi Hendrix Experience!  Hendrix’s virtuosity in technique would be emulated by many metal guitarists and the album’s most successful single, “Purple Haze”, is identified by some as the first heavy metal hit.

3742436229_84f94b9501_zBy the late 1960’s things moved towards a more approachable, modernly viewed metal sound. And their were a few candidates for the ‘first ever metal album’. Steppenwolf released their self-titled debut, which radio hit “Born To Be Wild” and coined the term, “heavy metal thunder” which sparked the flint to the hard rock/metal scene. In the same month, San Francisco band Blue Cheer released a cover ofEddie Cochran’s classic “Summertime Blues”, from their debut album “Vincebus Eruptum”, that many consider the first true heavy metal recording but it wasn’t until later in July, The Yardbirds’ “Think About It” (from the 1967 Yardbirds album Little Games)—B-side of the band’s last single—with a performance by guitarist Jimmy Page; and Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, with its 17-minute-long title track, which would be a prime candidate for first-ever heavy metal album.

images (1)The Jeff Beck Group, whose leader had preceded Page as The Yardbirds’ guitarist, released its debut record that same month: Truth featured some of the “most energetically molten, barbed, downright unique sounds of all time,” which became a breaking ground for generations of metal ax-slingers. In October, Page’s new band, Led Zeppelin, made its live debut. The Beatles’ so-called White Album, which also came out that month, included “Birthday” and “Helter Skelter”, then one of the heaviest-sounding songs ever released by a major band, at the time.

To the next chapter… Part Two.

Chicago Hardcore – None Heavier

When it comes to hardcore, few scenes rival that of Chicago’s. Home to Al Capone, a rising homicide rate and some of the most pissed off hardcore in existence, the city has made a name for itself for its output of excessively heavy music.

Drowning https://i1.wp.com/www.stereokiller.com/bands/bandimages/1325871637282.jpgDrowning’s downtempo approach to the hardcore genre is skullcrushingly heavy. From the ominous riff that opens the band’s debut EP – the aptly-titled Prey For Me, released earlier this year – it is evident that Drowning know what they are doing when it comes to hardcore. Throughout the twenty-something minutes of hardcore presented here, we see the band mix the more groovy metallic hardcore verses that we have all come to know and love with some of the heaviest beatdown in existance, in a similar vein to the UK’s Six Ft. Ditch or Europe’s Nasty. Lyrically, vocalist Bryan attacks authority and religion with lyrics such as “Kill anyone who gets in your way and pushes their beliefs/I don’t care about your consequences or your ten commandments.” The band recently released a video for the latest single off of their upcoming full-length “Purgatory”, so keep your eyes peeled when it drops in Autumn later this year.

No Zodiac

Image No Zodiac are all about one thing – the mosh. Whilst Drowning mix it up with the occasional gang chant or two-step section, No Zodiac do no such thing. What their latest offering – 2012‘s Population Control – provides is nothing but beatdown after beatdown after beatdown. While some may find this off-putting, it couldn’t be better.  No Zodiac are the kings of misanthropy – lyrics like “Seven billion people, seven billion too fuckin’ many,” mixed with the criminal image the band presents in its videos (ski-masks are a MUST) and the Satanic themes are what set No Zodiac apart from others in the Chicago scene. Population Control sets the listener’s brain to “crowdkill” and leaves absolutely no survivors. None heavier.

Harm’s Way While Harm’s Way’s first couple of albums were run-of-the-mill hardcore punk, 2011’s “Isolation” cemented the dark and eerie brand of hardcore the band is now known for. Album opener “Scrambled” boasts an incredibly gritty bass tone and a repetitive drum beat that sounds more like a call to arms that anything else, before the band add a dissonant guitar melody over the top which sets the tone for the album. Whilst the band aren’t as heavy as those mentioned previously, the groovy riffs and the incredibly good song writing more than makes up for it. Vocalist James Pligge proves to be the band’s secret weapon as his vocals are absolutely commanding. Whether you love them or hate them, Harm’s Way are here to stay, and their live shows will make you swallow your teeth if you’re caught off-guard.

 

Weekend Nachos It would not be fair to talk about Chicago’s scene without mentioning Weekend Nachos. While their name may sound more akin to pop-punk, nothing could be further from the truth. Weekend Nachos adopt a far different approach to hardcore than their peers: Instead of playing beatdown after beatdown, the band opt to use speed in order to get their messages across. Their latest album, 2011‘s “Worthless” takes all the best aspects of their previous releases, updates and refines them, resulting in one of the most satisfying hardcore releases of that year. Album opener “Hometown Hero” lasts just over a minute, and the refrain of “Get fucked” sets the tone for the album’s lyrics. The song transitions from something ACxDC might release into a slow mosh part (think of Ceremony’s “Ruined” LP). Whilst the band are far from being the most innovative or technical band in the scene at the minute, the anger that seeps through the band’s catalogue reminds us why the band are one of the best hardcore bands alive at the moment.