Thursday, 20 October 2016

Mammothfest Review: Rising Bands Spotlight for Agony Magazine

Crowd at Mammothfest Brighton 2016 by Luke Bateman

Check out my review of Mammothfest Brighton 2016 which just focuses on the rising emerging bands that featured on the line up for Agony Magazine.

Visit link below:

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Band Spotlight: Vrona (Interview)

"Expect something in there from almost any genre you can think of laid over a constant theme.."

Vrona from Brighton, East Sussex, UK are a diverse textured progressive instrumental act to keep an eye on, after seeing them myself live at this year's Mammothfest in their hometown I caught up with guitarist, Jack Baker to ask about how the festival was for them, how they came to be and much more! 

Firstly you have an interesting band name, can you tell us how this came about and what it means?

Sure! It essentially came around by the idea of not wanting to be limited by our name, if a band called Daisy and the Chitty Chums put out a pornogrind album itd just be weird, same story with a band called Guttural Decimation throwing out a jazz-funk album, so in that sense having a fairly open ended name like Vrona appealed, especially with the groggy weird nature of what we do where we could put pretty much anything in the middle of a song and it wouldnt be a huge surprise. Leading on from that though, Vrona is a loose translation of a kind of bird from Polish, I think it might be a crow with the basic idea being that a bird can look down and see something new every time it passes over a city because of its view, theres always something changing. Thats basically the aim of our sort of stuff, to have such massive textures with layers spanning for miles that you can listen a hundred times and still notice something thats fresh and exciting.

You formed as a band only last year, how did you all come together to create Vrona?

We all met at random intervals at university, I was in a lesson with Connor, I met Mat before we even started uni at some party, and me and Dan met through playing a Placebo tune for an exam at some point it ended up with me needing ears on a song I was writing, getting Connor over, then about a week later Mat asked me if I wanted to jam. Connor got dragged in to that and Dan got a phone call at 2am from me and Mat because well, he was the best drummer we knew that could do the stuff we were thinking of!

How would you best describe your music to those who are not familiar?

Proggy, ambient, rhythmical weirdness that gets brutally heavy because we love it. Also expect something in there from almost any genre you can think of laid over a constant theme because well, theres a lot we listen to and love!

Your debut EP, "A Lapse in Time" was well received, what was the recording and writing process like for this?

Stressful and time consuming! The writing was fairly natural really, two of the five tracks were old ideas from Jacks laptop that we all tweaked and made a bit more us, and the others were written in a room jamming away. It all came together naturally in the end but the initial month or two of trying to write this kind of music together, where were still feeling out each others strengths and weaknesses as musicians/establishing a musical dynamic was stressful and straight up demoralising at times, but ridiculously rewarding in the end. Recording was all a blur, tunnel visioned and the single most time and energy consuming thing I think any of us, especially me and Connor, have ever done, but the end product is something were stupidly proud of!

What is the most challenging thing about creating new material?

Just the nature of what we do means that writing anything takes absolutely forever, and we get so bored so easily that well spend an entire day messing around with an idea in as many ways as we can, throwing different rhythm phrasing at it, different beats, different layers on top writing something under 7 minutes is a struggle in this band!

So you have been busy touring and playing festivals this year, including Bloodstock festival UK on the Jager stage in the summer, how did this feel to play such an established popular festival, and what was the reaction like to your set?

Bloodstock was a complete head trip. After every gig we sit there and rip in to each other for a good 20 minutes about what went well and what went wrong so we can improve but after that we just sort of sat there in a stunned silence which should let you know what the reaction was like! I start the set with my head down so flicking it up and seeing a rammed tent was a shock and a half. If theres any footage youd probably be able to see me do a little jump! The entire day leading up to our set though was basically me and Mat sat around breathing heavily, somewhere between the most excited weve ever been and wondering if we need to run to a grotty festival toilet.

Speaking of festivals, most recently earlier this month (October) you played a sold out show at Mammothfest in Brighton UK on the Rikstock stage for emerging artists, how was this for you, especially knowing it had sold out?

Mammothfest was another highlight of the year, the amount of work everyone on the team puts in is absolutely unbelievable for no reward at all other than gratification, and knowing it had sold out thanks to their efforts is great, especially with the kick its given Brightons metal scene. The crowd were awesome too, tonnes of energy in the room for 2:15 in the afternoon!

Vrona performing on Rikstock stage at Mammothfest Brighton 2016 - Photo Credit to Luke Bateman

How was the overall festival for you and who else did you enjoy seeing on the line-up?

The festival as a whole was incredible, and personal highlights for me at least, were Venom Inc, Hell Puppets, King Leviathan and Conjurer. The latter three are in my honest belief, the best bands on the UK underground circuit at the moment, every time seeing them is like some sort of religious experience! Special mention HAS to go to Eastern Front though honestly, how people so lovely and happy can put out such a venom filled stage show is beyond me, Im 99% sure my brain is still splattered somewhere over the back of the Green Door Store. Fucking incredible.

As a band that hail from Brighton, how crucial do you think Mammothfest is to the local and South coast music scene?

Crucially crucial! Its given the scene such a massive kick, and year on year its growing at a rate that means soon underground bands such as ourselves could be on a bill with some of the biggest bands in the world, nobody does as much for the metal underground as people like Steve from Mammothfest and Simon Hall from Bloodstock, but Bloodstock is all the way up in Derby, having something that the Southern bands can get to easily is amazing!

Following on from this, how important do you think it is for smaller bands to have the opportunity to play at festivals amongst well known heavyweight bands?

Id say its important in the sense that it puts you in front of a large crowd and on a bill with bands that could well love you and plug you on their own pages, case in point being Tony Dolan from Venom Inc. He absolutely adores Hell Puppets and is forever telling people about them! Its not the most important thing in the world, you can still get your music and brand out to people with hard work anyway, but its definitely something to aim for, and a massive opportunity when it does happen.

You are currently an instrumental act but I hear you are thinking of possibly getting a vocalist, is that correct?

"To a degree, we're not looking for one by any means however it's been something we've never ruled out if someone was interested and fitted the music, sure why not!"

Are you currently working on any new songs?

Yeah, but its a long, slow and sometimes very painful process. The cathartic release is second to none though, weve got no idea when itll get released, but it wont be until were 100% satisfied!

What else is in store for Vrona this year and the near future?

Writing for the rest of 2016 with a show in December so we dont forget how to play the material from A Lapse In Time! As for 2017, plans are starting to be put in place, nothing we can say yet but its just a bit bloody exciting.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thanks for the interview, sorry for waffling on, thanks to Mammothfest for having us and all their hard work in making it a sellout, and dont eat yellow snow!

Be sure to check out their music and keep updated on any news:

Photo credit - Luke Bateman:

Friday, 30 September 2016

Interview with Extreme Metal Band Vehement

I caught up with guitarist/vocalist, W (short for Wraith) from Extreme Metal band, Vehement from the South East UK, ahead of their upcoming Festival appearance at Mammothfest Brighton on the 30th September (tonight!) to find out what to expect ahead of the event, as well as discussing their formation over a decade ago, debut album 'Collapse' and more.

So firstly can you tell us about your formation over a decade ago now?

Vehement first came together approximately ten years ago when Xysor, Andras and then bassist and guitarist Nybras & Vern were brought together by a mutual friend of ours. Said friend left and since then, it's been a four-piece.

How do you think your sound and band dynamics has changed since starting out?

I think our sound has changed a lot since the band started out, especially from the beginning. I joined in 2009 and since then, the music has developed and changed over the years from a deliberately experimental and "progressive" sound to a more straight forward effect with a lot more heaviness, atmosphere and groove.

Where do you draw you influences from both musically and personally to create your extreme metal sound?

There are lots of bands I could list whom we're all fans of, but none of which I would say we necessarily draw influences from musically. We lyrically deal with themes such as consciousness, human contradiction and duality, depression, addiction and moral decline. The inspiration we draw in order to create our style of black metal comes from both within and without and the best sounds, for us, come out of nowhere. Spontaneity is a good partner in crime.

How happy were you with how your full length album, ‘Collapse’ turned out and the response to this?

"Collapse" was our first professionally recorded release and we were very happy with the result. We did it with Chris Fielding at Foel Studios in Wales and he was able to give us our own identity on record and augment the atmosphere the songs already evoked. The response that followed has been nothing short of great and we're still getting praise for it. People come to our shows and say "you didn't play this song from Collapse", which is obviously a clear sign that people still really dig it.

As your last album was released three years ago now, are you scheming a new dark offering? If so, what can you tell us about the new release or is it too early to say?

We are in the process of our recording our second album, but it's taking longer than we expected, for a few reasons. We've played the songs many, many times live already, so it's just a matter of finally getting them down and released. The songs themselves are heavier, groovier and darker with a larger sense of atmosphere and emotion.

You played the new blood stage at Bloodstock this summer, which must have been a proud moment as a band, how did it go and what was the crowd response like?

Bloodstock was phenomenal and easily our highlight of our time as a band so far. The tent was absolutely ram packed from every side and the response was nothing that I've seen before. It was nigh on rabid. People were going crazy, so, naturally; so did we.

Your next festival appearance is at Brighton’s Mammothfest on the 30th September (Today!), how excited are you for this?

We're very excited for our set. We played last year, which was good fun, but this year we're on a stage that's catering specifically for black metal. It was really nice to be asked to come back.

Who are you most looking forward to sharing the stage with and seeing over the weekend of the festival?

I'm personally excited to be sharing the stage with The Infernal Sea and Eastern Front, but I'm also looking forward to see Venom (or Venom, Inc) again as well as Ascaris.

What can attending fans expect from your set on the day?

People can expect what Vehement normally bring; an honest, no nonsense black metal show that's full of energy and every intent to lay waste to the stage.

As a band that hails from the South, how important do you think Mammothfest is for representing the music scene in the area?

I think it's very important and Mammothfest does a great job with representing bands, especially local acts and getting them on the map. It's expanded a lot in the years it's been going, but it never forgets about the smaller and lesser known bands.

What else lies ahead for Vehement in the future?

We're going to focus on recording, so gigs may be somewhat sparse,but we're going to be completely idle in the live area. Hopefully a festival here and there and a few shows to tide us over until we get the second record out. That's priority one for us, right now.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Support the cause!

If you want to witness Vehement at Mammothfest, fear not there is still time, as some walk up tickets are available to collect on the door for 30th September (Today) at The Green Store Brighton although there are limited tickets, so come down early to avoid disappointment! Mammothfest is the bands last scheduled performance of the year!

Monday, 26 September 2016

MammothFest Brighton UK 30th Sept-2nd Oct: Festival Director Interview! "We Have Had Record Sales"! (Some Stages Now Sold Out!)

Update: Osiah Replaced Liquid Graveyard & Terraborn replaced Killer Hurts

Mammothfest set in South East England, Brighton UK is back for its fourth event, and continues to grow bigger each year (since doing this interview earlier today weekend, stoner doom and rikstock tickets have all sold out!). Taking place from the 30th September to the 2nd October 2016 across four venues in Brighton known for its active night life and thriving music scene, Mammothfest is Brighton's only true metal festival. The different stages offer heavy weight acts such as Textures, Heart Of A Coward and Venom Inc as well as some of the finest emerging bands and local talents. 

With mere days to go until this mighty festival kicks off I caught up with director and creator of Mammothfest, Steve Dickson to find out what is in store for this year's massive event...

With Mammothfest less than a week away, how excited are you to host the fourth event in Brighton?!

I have never been so buzzing for one of our MAMMOTHFEST events as I am right now. We have had record sales, most venues are near capacity and all our hard work has paid off!!!!

Following on from that, given the unfortunate demise of festivals increasing, how does it feel to be thriving and having success each year, and why do you think Mammothfest is important to the Brighton and South East England scene?

It is a sad fact that some festivals are collapsing and I fear that comes down to experience. I have made plenty of my own mistakes. Luckily for me I have been fortunate that none have been that serious and that we have learned from them so we can improve on as we progress. I think it is this growing experience and a real caution with our finances AND the fact that no one gets paid in the team so all our profits can be reinvested in to growth. That is not to say we don’t look after the team, we all have signed up to the cause for the bigger picture so we can bring even bigger bands the following year!

What are the hardest challenges you face as a festival organiser?

I think the pressure of wondering how sales will go. You put together what you think will be a great line up and hope it sells well but you never know until the weekend is over whether you will break even or profit nicely. I call it promoters nerves and believe me I have had plenty of panic attacks with worry over how we will do each year. But the people have spoken, we are almost at capacity at a number of our shows over the weekend and I think we are already financially safe so to do this on a £15000 event with advanced sales is absolutely incredible for us and is a testament to the teams hard work!!

The Man Behind Mammothfest - Steve Dickson

What have been some of the biggest highlights and proudest moments for you personally since the beginning of creating Mammothfest?

I think growing as an individual, overcoming many personal fears, gaining confidence, not fearing growth and the responsibility that comes with it and quite frankly having the bollox to do this every year with the pressures that comes with it. But also it’s the pleasure of booking those bands I looked up to when I was young. Onslaught (2015) and Venom, Textures, Conan and so many others in 2016 is just fab. Ye im buzzing!!!

What bands are you most looking forward to seeing on this year’s line-up? And are they any rising bands you recommend festival goers check out?

Well I must say that ALL the bands on our bill are incredible. I am not just saying this. We pride ourselves on quality so even if there are bands no one has heard of I can guarantee they will blow the roof off. I did a 30 date UK tour in 2015 to seek out the best bands I could find and there were so many I had 84 bands on the bill last year and still had over spill into this years line up because there is simply so much talent out there! As for bands I personally can not wait to see, it would have to be Textures, Venom, Heart of a Coward, Here there be monsters (we managed to get them back together for a reunion show) and well sooo many others I wont know where to be most of the weekend.

What can people attending metal heads expect from this action packed three day event?

“Fucking intense heavyweight metal” is our slogan. It is brutal metal mainly. Balls on the table, your mum probably would not like it Metal, but done so within a family community. Many new friends to be made, a great party weekend with our club night set up for our customers to party late into the night after Venom on the Sat 1st October and such a huge incredible array of bands within the back drop of beautiful Brighton and all it has to offer. It’s a unique festival and one that brings people back year after year.

Can you give us any insight into the future of the festival and your goals and expectations?

We continue to grow so while we do we will continue to bring the south coast the best metal festival we possibly can. Tell us who you want to see next year and we will try and make it happen! We are looking to develop to an outdoor festival one day so with everyone’s support in what we do, in understanding that we are not doing this for money but for our south coast metal scene to have our own metal festival, we hope everyone will come together for each other because it is together that this will happen. Sounds cheesy as fuck, I don’t care, it’s the truth, look at where Bloodstock is now. We want our own version of that bit with our own styles of music and vibe.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

If anyone is interest in coming to Mammothfest, at the time of writing this there are 7 weekend tickets left, thus only 7 stoner doom tickets left (as this venue is almost at capacity) as are most now so do buy in advance for your own peace of mind and be a part of history in the making.

To get tickets and see details: tickets 
available on the door. PLEASE NOTE THAT WEEKEND, STONER DOOM & RIKSTOCK TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT! (some walk ups may still be available) See below posters of shows that are still available, although these are also close to selling out! Update 28/9/16: New awesome discount offer on shows left, so get Textures (at The Haunt - Friday) and Venom Inc (Concorde2 - Saturday) both for £40 and/or Eastern Front (Green Door Store - Sunday) and Concorde2 ticket for £30 at link above!

Friday Stages/Line-up:

Saturday All Dayer Line-up (Please not Osiah replaces Liquid Graveyard)

A handy festival map!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Stone Circle Crowdfunding For New EP!

Stone Circle announces crowdfunding campaign to record EP in 2016

Progressive metal band Stone Circle (UK) has set up a crowdfunding campaign to aid their next recording, to be done at Bandit Studios (with producer Jonny Renshaw - guitarist for Devil Sold His Soul, ex Mahumodo). The EP will be their 5th release to date and Stone Circle are calling on fans to help contribute towards the recording, including limited edition signed copies of the EP upon its release on pre-order. The band are hoping to raise £1500 to cover the full cost of recording and mastering.

Stone Circle has had several accolades from the press, including Terrorizer Magazine stating: “What with Opeth going all 'full-prog' on us, the time couldn’t be better for a new band to take up the mantle of king purveyors of intelligent, melodic and progressively-minded death metal.” Metal Hammer gave the group 8/10 for their performance at UKTechfest “...Their Opeth and Enslaved-inspired metal is a welcome change for the bill and expertly executed.” Their next release promises to maintain their Progressive Metal edge while staying true to the nature of progressive music.

About the band:

Stone Circle formed in 2004 with Joe Ashwin (Lead Guitar/Vocals), James Pearce (Bass) & Sam Hill (drums), the line-up became complete in 2005 with the addition of Tom Skelton (Rhythm Guitars). Over this time the band developed their sound into the progressive metal that they play today, inspired by Opeth, Katatonia, Morbid Angel, Gojira, Amorphis and more.

In 2006 Stone Circle recorded their first EP - Parchment - with Dominic Young (well known for being the live sound technician for Sikth). This year marks the 10th anniversary of the release.

After a relocation to Brighton to study music, the band then worked on their first full-length album, also recorded with Dominic Young, in October of 2009. The album “Myth” was released at the end of 2010 through Glasstone Records.

Additionally, Stone Circle featured on the Brighton Institute of Modern Music album “Whats in your head: Volume II”, becoming the first band of the genre to be included in the institution's showcase collection.

Stone Circle released their fourth (self-titled) release in Terrorizer Magazine at the end of 2014 and are currently working on material for their next EP, scheduled for recording in 2016.

Stone Circle has had several notable performances, including supporting: Orange Goblin, Evil Scarecrow, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Breed 77, Ill Nino, Sylosis, Abhorrent Decimation and festival appearances at Bloodstock Festival, Download Festival, UKTechfest & Mammothfest.

Recommended if you like:
Opeth, Gojira, Morbid Angel, Katatonia, Enslaved, Mastodon, Porcupine Tree, Cult of Luna, Bloodbath, Amorphis

Contact Details:

Booking - Origin Agency

Press - BJF Media Judith Fisher

Band/Management -
Website -


Sunday, 4 September 2016

Weesp Live Album Teaser & New Tour Announced!

Live Album Teaser Plus New European Tour Dates for Space Rockers!

Alternative electro hard rockers, Weesp from Minsk are keeping the momentum going since the successful release of their high impact debut alum, 'The Void' last year. The album displayed an array of infectious and electrifying hits, such as singles, 'Murderers' and 'Solar Empire' which featured Cory Brandan of American metalcore band, Norma Jean. The band are also known for their energetic outstanding shows, so its no wonder they have decided to release 'The Void' Live in concert, filmed in Minsk to capture this. 

Check out the exciting and epic teaser now below!

I suggest you catch Weesp live for yourselves, and luckily have have just announced a new European tour:

13.10 Berlin - Slaughterhouse

15.10 Hamburg - Grüner Jäger

18.10 Prague - Lucerna Music Bar

19.10 Krakow - Jazz Rock Cafe

21.10 Wroclaw - Firlej

22.10 Zyrardow - Zentrum kultury

23.10 Warsaw - Club Rock

Keep an eye out for more updates on 'The Void' Live Album release! Also more good news, as once they have finished touring they will begin work on their next album!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

New Music: HEATH - Old Town Single Review

Old Town cover art

Heath is a recently formed act, which consists of the multi-skilled singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Peter Hewison, who is based in Manchester, UK. Heath's debut EP is currently in production, but this new song, 'Old Town' gives us a taste of what is to come...

'Old Town' is a blissful reminiscent indie alt rock number, which is a joy to listen to especially with Peter's soft and soothing voice, paired with ambient effective tones and sounds to accompany which make for a very alluring offering. With this new single and the previously released, 'Back Up Now' it is evident that Peter is a brilliant musician and can inject soul and passion into this beautiful chilled out rock. This is the perfect preview that will certainly charm and interest the masses.

If you liked this track, luckily we don't have to wait long until the next, as he will be releasing new song, 'Whiskey Skies' soon.

In the meantime check out new single 'Old Town':

Previously released song, 'Back Up Now':

tw: @heathbanduk