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EP Reviews

Dream State

Untethered

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Sometimes a band comes along and within seconds of your first listen you know that said band is going to massive. Dream State were one of those bands when they first broke through and they were well on the way to fulfilling their promise. Sadly, often things just don’t work out for those much hyped bands and it all falls apart. Again, this appeared to be the route that Dream State found themselves going down.

What is rare is for such a band to get another chance, a second coming if you will! Well, that’s exactly what is happening right now for Dream State. A major line-up reshuffle sees new vocalist Jessie Powell stepping into some tough shoes to fill. ‘Untethered’ is our first real look at what’s to come from the rejuvenated group and spoiler alert – it’s good!

Yes, that bright future may well have been rescued by the groups driving force, guitarist Aled Evans. Powell fills those intimidating shoes with relative ease as the band expand on their existing sound with hints of where they might go all over the three track sample.

All three tracks, ‘Comfort In Chaos’, ‘Taunt Me’ and ‘Chain Reactions’, stand strongly on their own but also sit nicely together on this short collection. Everything that brought the band to the fore is here with a grandiose sonic epicness underpinning the bands sound.

Dream State need to come out swinging and make a statement with this EP, and thankfully they’ve done just that!

Read our review of ‘BAD LOVE’ from MOSKITO

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Live Reviews

Holding Absence

Colchester Arts Centre

Thursday 2nd February 2023

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HOLDING ABSENCE – COLCHESTER – LIVE REVIEW

As Independent Venue Week continues we head to one of the country’s finest, the wonderful Colchester Arts Centre. Seriously though, those toilets will have you feeling like royalty – toilet-circuit indeed!

In town tonight are Holding Absence who are towards the end of a tour of the UK’s off the beaten track venues and the locals are clearly excited with the show a sell out.

Most of the audience are in the venue early to catch the support (always a wise move!) and up first the crowd are treated to the ferocious Your Misery. Controlling the stage as if they were seasoned veterans, the band are able to not just warm up the crowd but fully win them over. Certainly one to keep an eye on, Your Misery couldn’t have done any more tonight to make a statement.

Our second act, Australians Void of Vision, most definitely feel like a band that know how to make a statement of their own. The group burst onto stage and fill the venue with their huge sound. It’s an audio onslaught for the next forty-five minutes as the likes of ‘DOMINATRIX’, ‘THE LONELY PEOPLE’ and ‘INTO THE DARK’ leave the crowd desperate for more.

There may not be any more Void of Vision tonight, but you can expect to hear much more in the future. With a new EP coming soon, this could be a breakthrough year for the band.

WATCH ‘AFTERLIFE’ ON YOUTUBE
Holding Absence – ‘Afterlife’

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Our headliners, Holding Absence, have felt like they are breaking out for a few years now. Certainly not ones to rest on their laurels; their touring schedule has been intense. The majority of those shows though have been support slots, so it’s refreshing to catch them at a headline show finally.

The core fanbase of the band appear very committed and there is anticipation in the air in this old church tonight. That anticipation boils over as the band arrive on stage and quickly run through ‘Monochrome’, ‘Beyond Belief’ and ‘Like A Shadow’ much to the delight of those fans.

The setlist tonight is a real mix of the bands releases with highlights including ‘Gravity’, ‘In Circles’ and new song ‘Aching Longing’. You’d perhaps expect a little more from a headline show, but I guess the old adage is to leave the audience wanting more.

After a finale of ‘Afterlife’ and ‘Wilt’, Holding Absence most definitely do just that. With so many sing-a-long anthems or bangers as the kids would say, and an engaging stage presence you’d hope that the band will live up to their early promise.

Three bands at different stages of their budding careers tonight all make a valuable impression. It’s worth remembering that nights like this are happening up and down the country, night in night out. It’s tough out there and venues and bands need your support, so perhaps think twice on spending hundreds of pounds on those Beyonce tickets and pop down to your local independent venue instead!

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Read our review of ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’ from Holding Absence

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Live Reviews

Black Stone Cherry & The Darkness

Resorts World Arena, Birmingham

Tuesday 31st January 2023

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BLACK STONE CHERRY & THE DARKNESS – BIRMINGHAM – LIVE REVIEW

One fateful night many years ago in the depths of the forests of Thetford a relatively spontaneous pairing occurred as Black Stone Cherry jumped in to support The Darkness after an infamous festival cancellation.

I was there that momentous evening to witness the magic that transpired. I was rather pleased then when the two bands announced a co-headline arena tour a decade or so later. So, tonight I head to the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham to relive that fine evening.

Opening on this tour is Danko Jones, who always delivers the goods. You know that you are in for a good rocking with Jones and tonight is no different. When your time onstage is short, you need to make the most of it and that’s exactly what Jones does with a fast paced rock n roll romp.

WATCH ‘MOTORHEART’ ON YOUTUBE
The Darkness – ‘Motorheart’

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The first of our two headliners to take to the stage are The Darkness and as their set progresses I find myself reminiscing of that night in 2012. I remember that the band were fresh into their return and finding their feet again as a live act. The Darkness have always been considered a fantastic live act, but tonight I realise just how much further they’ve come.

Consistently good new material over the past decade has helped, but the band has really fine tuned themselves with drummer Rufus Taylor having a large role in that. The Showmanship of Justin Hawkins, the flamboyance of Frankie Poullain and the flair of Dan Hawkins now have a harnessing force that makes them incredibly slick.

When you then throw in plenty of pyrotechnics, you have a recipe for a stunning show and that’s exactly what The Darkness deliver tonight. From opening number ‘Growing on Me’ through to theatrical set closer ‘Love on the Rocks With No Ice’, The Darkness not only reassert themselves as one of the best live acts around but demonstrate the progress that they’ve made in the last decade.

WATCH ‘OUT OF POCKET’ ON YOUTUBE
Black Stone Cherry – ‘Out of Pocket’

Progress is a key word also when considering Black Stone Cherry who close the night this time around. They’ve come a long way in the last ten years and are now a regular arena filling act in the UK.

Tonight their time onstage is perhaps slightly shorter than usual, but they still manage to pack a career spanning setlist into that time. Less theatrical then The Darkness, Black Stone Cherry have always been happy to let the music do the talking and the crowd tonight are more than content with that.

Newer material like ‘Burnin’’, ‘Again’ and their latest single, ‘Out of Pocket’ feel at home in the set and evidence the great work produced by the band since 2012. Of course though tracks from that time like ‘White Trash Millionaire’ and ‘Blame It On The Boom Boom’ elicit huge response from the audience.

These are three different performances tonight from three different bands all bound by the love of rock. I knew walking into the arena that I’d be catching three of the most consistently good live acts on the circuit, so the quality of the evening isn’t a surprise tonight. Walking out of the venue however, I’m most impressed by the growth and evolution shown since that memorable evening in the woods!

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Live Reviews

Pet Needs

Voodoo Daddy’s, Norwich

Monday 30th January 2023

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All 📸 (C) Full Pelt Music / Denis Gorbatov

PET NEEDS – NORWICH – LIVE REVIEW

It’s once again Independent Venue Week and it’s a fantastic time to celebrate the integral network of grassroots venues that play such a pivotal role in the music ecosystem. It bears repeating – no local venues, no opportunities for new talent and ultimately no superstars.

Tonight we head out to one such venue, the fantastic Voodoo Daddy’s. Pizza, beer and live music are a great mix and that’s exactly what you’ll find tucked down a vibrant Norwich alley.

You’ll also find some brilliant entertainment! Up first tonight are Ecto Peach who cross the border from Ipswich. There’s no football rivalry here though and the already packed venue gives the group a warm welcome.

That welcome is returned tenfold with a superb performance from the tight and energetic four-piece. A short set of catchy rockers, the band are evidence of why it’s ever so important to get to shows early!

The mood changes next as songwriter (the best in the world some would say!) Ben Brown graces the intimate stage surrounded by fairy lights. He proceeds to serenade the audience with delicate melodies and comical stage banter.

A change of pace indeed but one which the audience takes in their stride and welcomes with open arms. Brown will certainly leave with more fans than when he arrived after a delightful little show.

Finally though it’s time for those fans filling the venue with Pet Needs t-shirts to enjoy the band of the moment! Pet Needs are one of the brightest prospects in the country right now; after all they did win our ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year Award for 2022!

Yes, crowds are getting larger, venues are getting bigger and t-shirt sales are booming. The reason? Well, perhaps you should pop along to a show and see for yourselves, but given that it’s our job to tell you we’ll keep it simple! If you could bottle the energy of the band to sell, you’d be a Billionaire overnight.

It takes more than energy to be a great band though and two albums in, the band already have belters for days. Both of their albums have produced multiple live staples which exemplify the quality of song writing within the band. These songs are catchy as hell with sing-a-longs infectiously mandated at Pet Needs shows.

The setlist tonight is well structured and represents a good mix of their albums. The pace never relents and the audience laps up tracks such as ‘Pavlovian’, ‘Spirals’, ‘Punk Isn’t Dead; It’s Just Up For Sale’ and ‘Toothpaste’.

The highlight tonight though is new track, ‘Yeah!’, which whets the appetite for what’s to come next. The future is clearly very bright for Pet Needs, and tonight has been a great night for those making the effort.

There are great nights like this happening all across the country every night of the week. So this Independent Venue Week, please remember folks that an independent venue isn’t just for Independent Venue Week – it’s for life!

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Read our review of ‘Primetime Entertainment’ from Pet Needs

Watch Episode 11 of The Full Pelt Music Podcast with guests Pet Needs!

The Full Pelt Music Podcast – Episode 11 – Pet Needs

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EP Reviews

MOSKITO

BAD LOVE

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MOSKITO

With the release of every single, Lincolnshire’s MOSKITO have built anticipation that something special has been brewing in that neck of the woods, and now the band are unleashing their potent debut Mixtape, ‘BAD LOVE’!

Bursting out the traps with ‘Gone With The Girl Next Door’, ‘Miss Me’ and ‘Sweet Fruit’, your instantly stuck by the delicate mix of ferocity, passion, energy and swagger. Like a Frank Carter fronted Arctic Monkeys, the record packs a punch with spiky guitars and razor-sharp vocals.

It really does feel like there is something special here and ‘Bloodshot’, ‘517’ and ‘Don’t Touch My Baby’ all further evidence this over the second half of the EP. The tender ‘painkiller’ closes out the record in parallel to the intensity of what comes before and is another early glimpse of what’s on offer from this group.

For a band threatening to breakout, you couldn’t really wish for a better opening gambit. Expect to hear the name MOSKITO a lot in the future!

Watch Episode 10 of our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast with guests MOSKITO!

‘Discover’ New Music Podcast – Episode 10 – MOSKITO

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Live Reviews

British Lion

Epic Studios, Norwich

Thursday 19th January 2023

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BRITISH LION – NORWICH – LIVE REVIEW

All 📸 (c) Denis Gorbatov / Full Pelt Music

We’re fully embedded in the new year now, so it must be time for music fans to get back into the UK’s fine music venues. In fact we are close to the ever important, Independent Venue Week, so it’s great to start the year at one such venue – Epic Studios in Norwich.

The versatile venue can host events of all sorts but on this bitterly cold January evening, it hosts lots of denim and leather rockers as British Lion come to town!

AIRFORCE

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The final night of a full UK Tour, the band led by the legendary Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, attract a very healthy crowd tonight. Those in attendance are treated to not one but two accomplished support acts with the first of those, Airforce, in full effect as most attendees enter the venue.

Musically very suitable to supporting a member of Maiden, Airforce make the most of their short time on stage with a succinct and vociferous performance which no doubt wins over any uninitiated in the audience.

VOODOO SIX

Next up is Voodoo Six, a band that Maiden/Lion fans will be very familiar with. The band stepped in on short notice to fill the void left by Canadian group Coney Hatch being unable to fulfil the tour.

Disappointing for some, for others like myself, this was actually an upgrade. Voodoo Six have consistently put out quality music and put on great shows for two decades now. Numerous line-up changes haven’t prevented the band putting out six albums and playing shows all over the world.

Tonight, they are on top form once again with an assured performance, mixing tracks old and new, to the delight of the crowd. Perennially tipped for bigger things, perhaps that ship has sailed but the constant of quality music and great shows doesn’t appear to be going anywhere as Voodoo Six once again show themselves to be criminally underrated.

BRITISH LION

Finally the time arrives for British Lion to take to the stage and they naturally receive a hero’s welcome. It’s the last show of the tour but also a (close to) hometown show for a number of the members, so the atmosphere is relaxed and the band let the music do the bulk of the talking.

The group have two albums in the bank at this point and the set list is a good mix of the two. Harris and co are able to give a good account of themselves, with singer Richard Taylor even acknowledging the apparent identity crisis that the band often have thrust upon them by others.

Long since dispelled as a mere solo project for Harris, since their inception in 2012 the group has evolved and that’s evident tonight with the stage presence of Taylor as exhibit A. This is a package now and not a vessel for Harris alone.

That makes the spectacle greater as far as the live show goes and places more emphasis on the music as opposed to the “oh look there’s Steve Harris” feeling for their early shows. It’s great to see and will hopefully lead to greater longevity from the project.

As this tour draws to a close with ‘Eyes of the Young’, British Lion may take a step back to Iron Maiden once again, but with performances like tonight you know it won’t be long before the band are reunited onstage again.

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Read our review of ‘Wrong Side of Paradise’ from Black Star Riders

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Album Reviews

The Murder Capital

Gigi’s Recovery

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THE MURDER CAPITAL – GIGI’s recovery – ALBUM REVIEW

With their debut album, 2019’s ‘When I Have Fears’, The Murder Capital fully thrust themselves in the burgeoning post-punk scene and gained themselves a dedicated fanbase in the process. A lot has happened in the intervening years but now the group are back with their all so important sophomore album, ‘Gigi’s Recovery’!

This second record certainly sees the band stretching their legs and testing the boundaries of their art. Expansive and explorative this is a delicate yet decisive collection of songs which brims with belief.

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The Murder Capital – ‘The Stars Will Leave Their Stage’

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This is undoubtedly a brave sonic adventure undertaken by a band confident in their ability to conjure magic and assured by the acceptance of their audience. The album slowly leads us on the journey that the band has creatively been on over the past few years.

It’s methodical yet loose, meticulous but elegant, and therefore has no real standout moments. The album as a whole is the standout moment as The Murder Capital evolve into something very special indeed.

Already identified as a great hope, now it’s clear to all that The Murder Capital are not to be slept on as they endear themselves with their triumphant second album!

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Read our review of Pearl Jam live at BST Hyde Park

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Album Reviews

Black Star Riders

Wrong Side of Paradise

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BLACK STAR RIDERS – WRONG SIDE OF PARADISE – ALBUM REVIEW

It hasn’t been an easy road for Black Star Riders, formed from the backlash against the idea of the last incarnation of Thin Lizzy creating new music. The group has proved all doubters wrong with their subsequent output – four albums of undisputed rock and roll class, and ten years of effortless cool, delicious riffs and belting melodies.

Black Star Riders have long established themselves as a credible entity in their own right and that’s despite numerous line-up changes testing their resolve. The biggest line-up change however came in 2021 with the departure of guitar-slinger extraordinaire Scott Gorham. Gorham was integral to the formation of the group and his departure leaves singer/guitarist Ricky Warwick as the sole remaining original member.

With Warwick firmly at the helm though, the band retain the heart and soul of their signature sound and presentation. Warwick’s career renaissance may have started in Thin Lizzy, but Black Star Riders allowed him to rediscover himself and unleash his natural talents back on the world.

WATCH ‘Riding out the storm’ on youtube
Black Star Riders – ‘Riding Out the Storm’

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New album, ‘Wrong Side of Paradise’, may be another new beginning but it’s also a continuation of the essence of Black Star Riders. That signature sound remains firmly and passionately intact, and Warwick’s distinguished vocals remain front and centre issuing that iconic battle cry as only he can!

Those famous riffs remain also as the album presents the perfect stable yet evolutionary prose that acts as the necessary statement to show that sans Gorham, this band remain a powerful force with a prosperous future.

Fans have a fifth album of pure rock and roll majesty, which still owes all to the faith that the initial cohort placed in themselves. They knew they had something special and now ten years later, the world knows it too!

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Read our review of Ricky Warwick live in Norwich

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Album Reviews

The Subways

Uncertain Joys

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THE SUBWAYS – UNCERTAIN JOYS – ALBUM REVIEW

It hasn’t been a smooth road for The Subways to arrive at the release of ‘Uncertain Joys’, their first new album in eight years. Recent years have seen change, change in the world, change in the band and change in their personal lives.

For change on all those fronts, you could also read turmoil. The pandemic after all has played a role in the tumultuous world we all inhabit, this combined with the departure of drummer and founding member Josh Morgan from the band and a period of personal growth for front man Billy Lunn (including a stint at University) has left an uneven path to tread for a constantly underappreciated band.

Thankfully though, the band are now ready to unleash their new era on the world. Drumming stability has been returned with newcomer Camille Phillips now joining Lunn and fellow original Charlotte Cooper, a tour is lined up and ‘Uncertain Joys’ is here!

WATCH ‘BLACK WAX’ FROM THE SUBWAYS
The Subways – ‘Black Wax’

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Yes, The Subways are back, which is exactly the sentiment I feel listening to the record. I’ve always felt that The Subways are both a fantastic rock band and also a superb pop group, with their songwriting able to harness the power of rock with the elegance of pop with aplomb. That ability clearly remains intact, perhaps even amplified! The elongated writing process for this album maybe the reason but this is a truly eclectic collection from the band.

Musically vibrant yet lyrically vulnerable, you can feel the love and care put into this album by its creators. Whether leading us into battle on ‘Fight’, taking aim at social media on ‘Influencer Killed The Rock Star’ or getting deeply personal on the title track or ‘Incantation’, the quality of songwriting remains intact but again it seems to have even greater depth.

A difficult period for the band has no doubt passed, and while other bands may have called it quits, The Subways have emerged an even stronger entity. ‘Uncertain Joys’ is a supercharged dose of classic Subways that is more than worth your time.

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Categories
EP Reviews

ten56.

Downer Part. 2

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ten56.

Upon his departure from Betraying The Martyrs, vocalist Aaron Matts was quick to reveal his next project ten56.. With the world and the music industry still in the midst of the pandemic and all the uncertainty that would bring, some may have questioned the logic in leaving an established entity to start afresh at such a time.

Clearly Matts would’ve required a great deal of faith in what he had lined up and over the past year or so that faith has paid dividends with ten56. taking the scene by storm and notching up some seriously impressive streaming metrics. A debut EP and a run of live dates have been well received and now ten56. are ready to capitalise on all that momentum with new EP ‘Downer Part.2’.

This EP is a full frontal assault on the senses with Matts’ ferocious vocals taking centre stage and underpinning the progressive sound of the group. ‘Downer Part.2’ certainly feels like a breakout moment for a band already breaking out. Yes, over a period just under twenty minutes, Matts has shown the world just why he had such faith.

Only time will truly tell, but at this point you’d have to put money on ten56. becoming one of the biggest metal acts of the next decade!

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