The metalheads have taken over Birmingham with battlejackets visable on every street corner. Yes, the mighty Iron Maiden are in town and a sold out Utilita Arena is braced for a theatrical evening of fun with a band currently firing on all cylinders.
The legendary group are here as part of their aptly titled ‘The Future Past’ Tour which sees them focus on material from their latest studio release, ‘Senjutsu’ and their 1986 sixth album ‘Somewhere In Time’.
Up first however are openers Lord of the Lost, fresh from the indignity of finishing last at this year’s Eurovision. Given the reputation of Maiden fans to be rather harsh on their support acts, and the German groups recent past, we were concerned that Lord of the Lost would go down like a certain variety of balloon!
That thankfully isn’t the case though as they deliver a polished yet honest performance which is well received by the waiting masses. The band are able to show that they possess quality with substance and some great songs, which is probably why Eurovision fans weren’t interested! If that experience was a disappointment, this one is a big success for the band.
Soon enough those familiar strains of UFO’s ‘Doctor Doctor’ start to fill the arena and the atmosphere kicks up a few dozen notches. With an updated stage show complementing a setlist full of rarer heard fan favourites it doesn’t take long for the band to suck you right in.
Within moments Iron Maiden have the audience in the palm of their collective hand as they lead them back and forth from new tracks like ‘The Writing on the Wall’ to deep cuts like ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ and classics such as ‘Can I Play With Madness’!
With multiple appearances from Eddie plus all the usual trimmings this show is Maiden at their very best. The carefully curated setlist makes this a unique opportunity for the diehards but also a fine example of what the band do for any newcomers. This is perhaps best summed up by the final main set run of ‘Heaven Can Wait’, ‘Alexander the Great’, ‘Fear of the Dark’ and ‘Iron Maiden’.
By the time ‘The Trooper’ and ‘Wasted Years’ close out the evening, Maiden have one again shown themselves the masters of their craft. Those metalheads then head back out into the Birmingham night filled with glorious, dramatic metal!
Happy New Year everyone and welcome to another edition of our weekly music News Report!
We start this week with the news this week that the Royal Mail have commissioned 12 new Special Stamps celebrating the legendary Iron Maiden.
Maiden become only the fifth music group to feature in a dedicated stamp issue following in the footsteps of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Queen and The Rolling Stone – illustrious company indeed.
Iron Maiden founder member and bassist, Steve Harris comments:“We were all absolutely astounded – in a good way! – when we heard first about the commemorative project, and equally pretty much speechless when we saw the stamps for the very first time. They look superb and I think they really capture the essence and energy of Maiden. We’re all very proud that Royal Mail has chosen to honour the band’s legacy like this and we know our fans will feel the same way.”
Iron Maiden manager, Rod Smallwood adds:“As a band who have never played by anyone else’s rules for over 40 years, it’s very gratifying to see them honoured in their home country in this way. We’re proud to show how these six band members are still appealing to more and more fans every year with their music and their legendary shows – which I think these stamps really capture well. It’s also fantastic that Eddie has been honoured too – it’s incredible to think that Her Majesty, may she rest in peace, saw these and lent her iconic silhouette to them too.”
David Gold, Director of External Public Affairs & Policy, Royal Mail, said:“Few bands in the history of rock music can be called bona fide rock legends – but Iron Maiden are just that – and more. With legions of devoted fans of all ages and from every corner of the globe, not only have they changed the way rock music sounds, but they have also changed the way it looks. We fully expect their fans will love these stamps as much as we do.”
Our News Report takes a look now at the best new releases from the past week and up first is ‘Panopticom’, the brand new single from Peter Gabriel.
You can listen to the track above, which comes from upcoming new album, ‘i/o’.
“The first song is based on an idea I have been working on to initiate the creation of an infinitely expandable accessible data globe: The Panopticom,’ says Gabriel. ‘We are beginning to connect a like-minded group of people who might be able to bring this to life, to allow the world to see itself better and understand more of what’s really going on.“
The release of the track on the full moon is no coincidence and in true Gabriel fashion the approach for ‘i/o’ will be a little different from the norm. The lunar phases will guide the release plan in 2023, with a new song revealed each full moon.
“Some of what I’m writing about this time is the idea that we seem incredibly capable of destroying the planet that gave us birth and that unless we find ways to reconnect ourselves to nature and to the natural world we are going to lose a lot. A simple way of thinking about where we fit in to all of this is looking up at the sky… and the moon has always drawn me to it.”
Each new release of music will come with a specific piece of art, “we’ve been looking at the work of many hundreds of artists,” says Gabriel, and ‘Panopticom’ features the work ‘Red Gravity’ byDavid Spriggs.
“It was the theme of surveillance that connected me with the work of David Spriggs because he’d done a piece relating to that. David does this amazing stuff using many layers of transparencies so you get these strange creations with a real intensity to them. Part of what he does is imagine what art might look like a few years in the future and then try and create accordingly and I think he’s done that very successfully in this particular piece.”
Next up, you can check out ‘Sideways Skull’ above, which is the brand new single from The Hold Steady.
The group have returned with news of their ninth studio album, ‘The Price of Progress’, arriving March 31st.
“Sideways Skull is a rocking song about rock and rollers,” says frontman Craig Finn. “In this case, they’ve been taken out of the game for a bit of rest, but still keep their dreams alive as they discuss past glories. We loved the big sound of this when Tad Kubler brought it into the band, and the studio performance of it felt especially joyful. We’re happy to put this forth as a first look at The Price of Progress, and the album’s title even comes from this song.”
There isn’t long now to wait for ‘Gigi’s Recovery’, the new album from The Murder Capital, which arrives January 20th.
There is even less time to wait to hear their track, ‘Return My Head’, which you can listen to above now!
Front man James McGovern explains further on the themes: “Return My Head was written in a place of pure frustration, feeling like our sanity had been unwillingly removed through periods of isolation. All I wanted at this point was to get my head back, and to throw it away again. But on my own terms. ‘Return my head, and throw it to the crowd’”
Bassist Blake had the following to say about the making of the video:
“I wanted to show the rag dolling that can occur to us going from one state of being to another, while always remaining being the same person. The extensions of ourselves that we create to protect ourselves even when we’re alone, and the evident and necessary advice that we receive to continue following and perusing our passions from our friends and family, demonstrated by my own family friends Megan, Nic, Ruairí and Pump.
To me, ‘Return My Head’ is the desire to return your mind to a place of peace and stability, and the belief that to do so, is possible. We shot it in my old secondary school recreational hall. We produced it ourselves. At its best to me, the narrative of the ‘Return My Head’ about coming back to a safety.”
The Lemon Twigs returned this week with their new offering, ‘Corner of My Eye’, which you can listen to above.
On the release, the band say, “We recorded this track winter of 2021 in our old rehearsal studio in Midtown, NYC. Apart from the vibraphone, the instrumental track was recorded live with Andres Valbuena on drums and Daryl Johns on upright bass. We laid down the vocals late that night once the traffic outside had died down. We’ve had the song for a while now, so we’re excited to share it with fans who may have heard it live over the years!”
Finally in our News Report this week we bring the latest from Ryan Hamilton who this week shared his new track, ‘Haunted by the Holy Ghost’.
You can listen to the track above, which will feature on the upcoming album of the same name which is due for release on March 10th.
Of the song, Hamilton says, “I grew up in a VERY conservative Church of Christ. We used to go to church 3 times a week. There are parts of that upbringing that I will never shake. The “fear of God” is ingrained in me, & will seemingly be a part of me forever. Like a ghost, haunting me. This song is about that.”
Somebody’s Child aka Cian Godfrey has shared new single ‘I Need Ya’ – another taster of his debut self-titled album out 3rd February.
Godfrey says, “This was one of the first songs that defined the sound and pace of the album. We’ve been playing it live for a while now and have been dying to get it out. Some of this album can be boiled down back to my chronic fear of growing older. To me this track in particular is a gentle reminder to stay young for as long as you can.”
On the video he adds “Drift culture is a big thing in Ireland and when the director came to me with the idea I immediately thought it was cool as some of my friends are big into it. We didn’t want an emotional video but something fun and energetic, while also shining light on an Irish subculture that goes a little unnoticed. It was a lot of fun.”
Blake Cateris – ‘Days, Weeks, Months & Years’
Australian Sydney-sider, Blake Cateris has shared reflective folk singer-songwriter single, ‘Days, Weeks, Months & Years’.
“This song is about living out of balance with yourself. Watching the world go by feeling like you might be losing touch with far more important things in life than what you’re focusing on right now.
It’s a daily struggle to break old and unhealthy habits that no longer serve you or have been damaging you for some time. But the struggle is what we live for.
I’ve played in many different types of bands – hard rock, rock n’ roll, modern rock, hardcore, straight up punk, pop punk, art rock, the list goes on. But nothing quite feels as honest to myself than the music I’m making right now and this is a big step in the right direction for me to start living a more balanced life“ – Blake Cateris
Ed Barnes – ‘Criticise The Poor’
Fellow Aussie, mid-wave singer-songwriter Ed Barnes also joins the playlist this week with his single, ‘Criticise The Poor’.
The track comes from his Frank Turner mastered new album.
“It was a blast working on Ed’s new record, it’s fantastic, and this is a standout song – hitting the mark while raising a smile, and catchy as hell to boot.” – Frank Turner
Welcome everyone to another edition of our weekly music News Report!
This week we start with tour announcements and the mighty Iron Maiden, who have revealed the ‘Future Past’ tour that includes a run of UK arena dates next Summer.
The show will feature previously unperformed songs from the band’s most recent studio album, ‘Senjutsu’, along with a focus on 1986’s iconic, ‘Somewhere In Time’ record, plus other classic cuts.
Says founder member and bassist Steve Harris, “Following the release of our latest album, Senjutsu, we updated the current Legacy of the Beast Tour a little by opening the show with the first three songs from it, with the Japanese Palace stage set.
As it doesn’t make a lot of sense to repeat this for a Senjutsu album tour, we thought about other options and we’ve decided to revisit Somewhere In Time as that tour didn’t feature in the various retrospective history tours we’ve played over the years. They were based on our 80’s concert videos and sadly we did not film that tour (blame the manager!!).
We have had lots of requests from fans over the years for many tracks on it so we are now going to play them, plus of course a few others we know you will like! It will also be particularly satisfying to finally get to play some of the more epic tracks on Senjutsu, it’s been a long wait! 2023 is going to be an exciting time and we’re really looking forward to seeing everyone again in the UK, Ireland and around Europe”.
Manager, Rod Smallwood adds, “This combination of the two albums we feel is very exciting. We know fans want to hear those epic cuts on Senjutsu for the first time live and we think that by combining it with an iconic album like Somewhere In Time it will make for another really special tour for fans old and new!
Of course, for a new album tour in Europe and the UK we will go back largely to the relative intimacy of arenas and we know fans will be very happy about that too!”
Depeche Mode announce London Twickenham Stadium date
Another iconic act to announce a show for early Summer is Depeche Mode, who will takeover Twickenham Stadium in June.
The Memento Mori Tour will support the band’s forthcoming 15th studio album, ‘Memento Mori’, due out in Spring 2023.
In speaking about Memento Mori, Martin Gore commented, “We started work on this project early in the pandemic, and its themes were directly inspired by that time. After Fletch’s passing, we decided to continue as we’re sure this is what he would have wanted, and that has really given the project an extra level of meaning.”
Dave Gahan added, “Fletch would have loved this album. We’re really looking forward to sharing it with you soon, and we can’t wait to present it to you live at the shows next year.”
Bury Tomorrow have shared new single, ‘Abandon Us’, which you can listen to above. The track arrives as they reveal that their latest album, ‘The Seventh Sun’, will be released on March 31st.
“We are proud to present, ‘The Seventh Sun’. It is an understatement to say we are excited to share the new era of Bury Tomorrow with you all and the first single from the album, Abandon Us, is the perfect way to showcase our intent for the next phase of our band,” say the six-piece. “Visceral and heavy, this track is for each and every one of you that has stood by us either from the beginning, or supported us along the way.”
Of the song’s origins, the band share, “it started with a demo simply entitled, Abandon. Taken from a time of loss, uncertainty and insecurity, the intent was to create a heavy track that mirrored these feelings. The lyrics highlight the frustration and anger at the current state of our society and how our so-called leaders seem intent on satisfying self-interest above the collective needs of humanity.”
The Subways this week debuted their latest single, ‘Black Wax’, which you can listen to above.
The track comes from upcoming album, ‘Uncertain Joys’, which is out January 13th.
Commenting on the track, front man Billy Lunn says: “Caught mid-wintertime during the pandemic, hibernating in the warmth of the band’s studio, I’d indulge in days’ worth of spinning my favourite artists’ records on my turntable. Following one particularly beautiful session, I felt compelled to express my gratitude for music itself. Not just the inspiration my favourite artists offer me as a songwriter, but all the various aspects music holistically offers us as people: the respite, the sense of belonging and being understood (and thus the validation), but also the mere aesthetic pleasure of the space between our ears being tended to.”
“Given that our first ever gig was on the hallowed stage of The Square in Harlow, which, following over a decade of Tory rule is now resigned to rubble, it felt only right to record my guitar parts with the guitar that had been built from the wood lifted from The Square’s bar. This guitar, built by local legend Murray Torkildsen, was lent to me by a very good friend, Adam Smith, who fought so hard to save The Square in its final days. It’s no coincidence that his handle online is Black Wax. Long live The Square. Long live music.”
Cult hero Jamie Lenman has shared the details of his fifth album, ‘The Atheist’, which will be released November 25th. This week also saw Lenman debut new single, ‘Lena Don’t Leave Me’, which you can listen to above.
“I’ve got into the habit of saying, whenever I have a new record out, ‘I’ve been trying to do something like this for a really long time’, because they typically have very lengthy gestation periods with a lot of thought going in,” says Lenman of what fans can expect from the new album.
“This one is no exception – I’ve always loved mellowed-out indie rock like Gemma Hayes and Pete Yorn and I’ve always wanted to make an album with that sound. Trying to focus on simple songs, looking for any place we could add a bit of extra sugar – a little bit saccharine, but also slightly snide and in some places softly sad. The end result is – I hope – a bittersweet experience.”
Commenting on the track, which channels both his love of stadium rock giants Queen and his wife and long-term partner Lena, Lenman says: “It’s a song about what it actually means to refer to your partner as your ‘other half’. That’s how I feel about my wife and I. We started out as two separate people and over the past twenty five years we’ve grown into two halves of a whole person. She fills up my missing parts and I fill hers – not that she has as many as I do. I always feel when people are talking to me that they’re only really getting half the story if she’s not around, just like it says in the song. And not the best half, either!”
“When I was a kid I loved bands like Queen with all their pomp, and then as a teenager I turned the other way with Nirvana’s punk philosophy. I went through the post-hardcore thing with all the awkward timings and chonky riffs, and now I find myself leaning back towards those giants of stadium rock. I wrote ‘Lena’ to see if I could do something like Toto, with my best impression of Brian May’s guitar solos. It’s my love letter to all those classic power ballads – it’s so uncool, it’s cool.”
The track comes with an official video homaging that particular brand of nostalgic 80s music video which always centred around the star’s desire for an unattainable, idealised lover.
“I wanted to do it with heart and genuine emotion instead of just spreading some poor model over the bonnet of a porch,” says Lenman of the concept. “I wanted the viewer to see my wife through my eyes, as this amazing, dazzling creature that I just get to be around. We went to the beach on the hottest day of the year and tried to forget the camera was there. It’s nice for people to see all those old photos and how we’ve grown together, just like in the lyrics. And it’s nice for us too!”
This section of our News Report comes to a close with the new single from From Ashes To New. ‘Until We Break’ features Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire, and you can check it out above.
Reciting lyrics from the song, Matt Brandyberry said, “‘Close our eyes ‘cause there is nothing to see. We’ll all be fine if all we do is believe.’ It seems we are increasingly taking the path of least resistance. Although, that is often the wrong path. Closing our minds to the truth because a lie is easier to believe…A short term solution for a long term problem. We are following our leaders one by one until we break.”
LA based Militarie Gun have shared their latest single, ‘Let Me Be Normal’.
Ian Shelton says: “‘Let Me Be Normal’ is a plea for normality despite no matter what you achieve or how much money you have, “normality” can’t really ever be achieved if you grew up in a messed up situation. There’s no unseeing what you’ve seen, something will always poke you in the ribs and remind you of the trash you come from.”
Doodseskader – ‘Alive & Not Well’
Belgium’s Doodseskader are gearing up for the release of their debut album, ‘Year One’, on November 18th with new single ‘Alive & Not Well’.
On the track, vocalist/bassist Tim says, “‘Alive & Not Well’ is things clicking for us.It was half Sigfried, half me. Half of it describes us struggling, but half of it also is us grabbing misery by the throat and facing it head first. It’s the fifth song on the record and I feel like this is the point where things started shifting and we realised that while the record served as a document of our hardships and us trying to come to terms with the past we’d put on display in MMXX : Year Zero, from that point on it’d be us using our honesty and this band as both a weapon and an armour. “Forty fucking five, I wear the number like a vest”. Fortune gave us a shitty hand. Now we’re slowly turning it into the fist that’ll strike back.”
ROLLA – ‘Ease My Mind’
ROLLA have preview their upcoming debut EP with new single, ‘Ease My Mind’.
Rolla commented, “‘Ease My Mind’ was written as a reaction to feeling the constant pressures of daily life, the same old routine and all that shite. I guess it’s kind of a cliché, but it’s an anthem to get you up and get you going and prove to people that you are more than just your daily grind, and that there’s more to life than just answering to your bosses. For a lot of people that whole other world is rock ‘n’ roll, it will always give you all the answers.
We recorded it at Rockfield, which was a week to never forget. It’s a cool old place, and it was a pleasure to work with local legend Nick Brine. Creative carnage at its finest.”
Iron Maiden announce new Triple Vinyl to commemorate 40th Anniversary of ‘The Number of the Beast’
The legendary Iron Maiden have announced the release of a commemorative triple black vinyl album in honour of the 40th Anniversary of seminal third album, ‘The Number Of The Beast’, which was also the first to feature Bruce Dickinson on vocals and was to become the record which catapulted the band to international stardom.
Included in the new vinyl package is ‘Beast Over Hammersmith’ – available now officially for the very first time on vinyl – featuring the live concert from March 1982’s now legendary Hammersmith Odeon London show from the ‘Beast On The Road’ World Tour.
Recorded only days before the release of ‘The Number Of The Beast’ album, it’s remarkable to think these now classic songs at that time were still brand new, unfamiliar and being heard live by fans for the very first time. A real piece of history in the making.
Steve Harris comments, “On this vinyl release we get the chance to put ‘Total Eclipse’ in its rightful spot on the album for the first time. The reason it didn’t make it in the first place was that it was all a mad rush when we were finishing the record and we had to get the ‘Run To The Hills’ single out before the tour and we basically had to pick a B-side and it was between ‘Gangland’ and ‘Total Eclipse’ and we just picked the wrong one, really! I think ‘Total Eclipse’ is a stronger song and the album would have been stronger if it had been on there.”
With new album, ‘The Calton Songs’, out soon on October 14th, Gun have shared the new reinvigorated version of firm fan favourite ‘Inside Out’, which you can listen to above.
As Jools Gizzi says: “When the pandemic hit we realised that it was the perfect time to try and counteract the bleakness that was all around. It felt like we couldn’t write anything, or of course tour. Out of that darkness came a desire to completely rework these songs that we know the fans love, and bring a different, stripped down vibe”.
Dante Gizzi added: “It’s ironic that those feelings of negativity led to something so positive, a celebration of our career up to now”.
Willie J Healey has announced that his new album, ‘Bunny’, will be out March 24th. Healey, who support Florance + The Machine on tour this November, also debuted new track, ‘Dreams’ which you can listen to above.
Willie says, “‘Dreams’ is a song I wrote when thinking about the cost of an ambition. The idea behind the video is, what would life be like if you had to carry all of the money you made on your back, and that if you did have to carry it you probably wouldn’t want as much.’”
Asylums have this week debuted their new single, ‘Instant Coffee’, which you can check out above.
The track comes from upcoming album, ‘Signs of Life’, which is out on October 28th.
Producer Dave Eringa says of “Instant Coffee”:“It’s like all of Luke’s songwriting to date has been leading up to Instant Coffee, a beautifully melancholic perfect pop song with real depth! Late 90’s Albarn meets the great bits of American indie at a classical concert & they all get together for a party!”
Incredibly talented youngster Nandi Bushell took the next step in her musical evolution this week but debuted her first single, ‘The Shadows’, which you can listen to above.
“Early in 2022 my Dad fell into a depression as his autoimmune disease worsened. It was a difficult time for our family. I wanted to help cheer my Dad up by writing a song for him. He would describe his feelings to me and I would put them into lyrics letting him know, I would be there for him.
My Dad is now doing much better, he is on medication that is helping with his autoimmune disease and has recovered from his depression.
If you are suffering from mental health issues, please reach out for help. If you know of any good charities, groups or organisation in your area please share them in the comments for others.
We bring our News Report towards a close now with the best tour announcements from the past week and start with Tom Grennan.
Grennan revealed an Arena Tour set for March next year which concludes at the O2 Arena in London.
The news follows new single, ‘All These Nights’ and comes ahead of new album ‘What Ifs and Maybes’.
Speaking about the new album, Tom said: “I’ve called my new album What Ifs & Maybes. It’s about going with your gut, not your head, because you never know what’s going to happen. I’m not afraid to jump into the unknown – because it’s exciting! It’s about rolling the dice and living your best life with nothing to lose. I’m in a new creative space, and I know I’m finally the artist I want to be. I’m so buzzing for these shows, my biggest gigs to date. I can’t wait to get out and play these new songs to everyone. Let’s go!”
TikTok star and queen of angsty pop/rock, Charlotte Sands, has released her hard-hitting, fan favourite single ‘Tantrum’.
On the track, she said, “‘Tantrum’ is so special to me because since the first time I played it live, people immediately latched onto it and have been fighting for its release ever since. This song not only represents experiences of anxiety, panic, and rebellion throughout my life and career but also the journey and relationship between me and the people who have made my career possible. I’ve been playing it live for over a year now and I’m thankful for the people who have pushed me out of my comfort zone to release a song that without them would still be sitting in a folder somewhere on my phone. I am overwhelmed with excitement for this song to finally be out in the world, it’s been a year in the making (almost to the exact day) and I can’t wait to finally be able to throw a tantrum together.”
As Sirens Fall – ‘heaven (spat us back out)’
As Sirens Fall share their new single, ‘heaven (spat us back out)’.
‘i started writing heaven (spat us back out) just as our last ep ‘l’appel du vide (part 1)’ was releasing. that ep was a project about grief, and ‘heaven’ very much comes from that same place. it’s about giving up on the hopeful delusions that often come packaged with grief. it’s about realising you’re coming of age in a dark world and choosing to face it all and grow up anyway – choosing to live.’ Mikey Lord, Vocals
Arliston – ‘Hold My Wine’
Arliston return with the stirring and spirited new single, ‘Hold My Wine’, taken from forthcoming EP ‘Even In The Shade’.
Vocalist Jack Ratcliffe says, “We’ve been wanting to make something a bit more playful for a while, so when we first hit on that chorus idea and made a silly middle-class pun on ‘hold my beer’, everything just fell into place around it. This one was a lot of fun to make.”
Jack adds,“The song is about that occasional moment of recognition when you look up from the narrow corridor of your own thoughts and are seized by the idea that everyone else has progressed and developed, while you are stuck in an unchanged rut. The protagonist attempts to do something about it in the chorus — but inevitably, he gets it wrong.”
With the pandemic taking a hold back in early 2020, Download Festival became one of the first major festival victims. It was perhaps fitting therefore that the small Pilot version of the event was the first step on the road back to normality last year.
That does mean though that as we head into Donington Park in 2022, it is the first fully fledged festival since the 2019 edition. After three long years, it is finally time for rock and metal fans to convene again on these hallowed grounds.
There are a number of changes this year to the layout of the festival but the best change is the installation of a strange golden orb in the sky. The usual brown flooring has also been painted green. Yes, goodbye Drownload and hello sunburn!
The main changes to the festival relate to the layout of the campsites, parking and transport hubs. Given these new changes, a little extra signage may have assisted seasoned attendees finding their way around, but in general the changes work well. There is a lot of walking required, however there always is at Donington Park however the event is laid out.
Once inside the area the setup is pretty standard if a little cut back with smaller stages, fewer food stalls and no wrestling or other extra areas. But, it’s Download and everyone is just glad to be here.
So then, on to the music! Opening the main stage on Friday are NWOCR favourites Wayward Sons who make the most of their short time on stage. They are quickly followed by Canadians Theory (of a Deadman) who also only have a short time to show their stuff. Thankfully for them they are able to call upon some festival-perfect material as the crowd sing along to ‘Bitch Came Back’, ‘Hate My Life’ and ‘Bad Girlfriend’.
Recently rejigged Bury Tomorrow follow on the main stage and bring the first real taste of heavy to the festival. The band are clearly honoured by the opportunity and try their best to win over the audience, with our first pyro of the weekend helping to add to the occasion. By the time the band leave the stage and a pile of bodies in the audience, the set has to be considered a success.
We go walkabout next and visit first the second stage for a man who has already played Download Festival with both Alter Bridge and Slash, Myles Kennedy. With two solo albums now to his name, Kennedy only grows his legacy with another top class performance.
Secondly we head to the Avalanche Stage for something new. American pop-punk band Meet Me @ the Altar have intensifying hype around them, and keeping with the tone of the day they are able to grasp this opportunity with both hands. Expect bigger things from the band in the near future.
As day one begins to draw to a close with catch two of Download’s house bands with Skindred on the main stage and Airbourne over on the second stage. Both bands attract big crowds, because fans know what to expect from them. High energy, entertaining rock shows are delivered by both as fans get to revel in what they have missed over the last three years.
Having delivered an incredible headlining performance at the Pilot event last summer, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes return to Donington Park next to headline the second stage. Carter and co show the crowd what they missed last year with another stunning performance. This band must be considered one of the best live bands on the planet and who would put it past them headlining the main stage in the future.
Download Festival after all needs to begin focusing on that next generation of headline acts, because many of the old guard are saying farewell. It is the ‘End of the Road’ for KISS, but not before one final triumphant showcase this year.
The band are able to deliver all the pageantry of a KISS show with every party trick played with precision. As the fans walk away with ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ stuck in their heads, the band have brought the party and night one is closed out in style.
Saturday morning brings a fresh day with the sun still shining bright, but early risers at the main stage are left waiting with opening act The Raven Age almost forty minutes late. When the band do arrive they are able to show their continued growth with a matured performance.
This delay subsequently leads to a 30+ minute lag on main stage times throughout the rest of the day which plays havoc with fans carefully curated schedules. It does mean however that we can head to the second stage and catch the energetic Cassyette who is capitalising on the momentum earned over the last year.
It’s then back to the main stage for the classic rock sounds of Those Damn Crows and Monster Truck. Both bands continue the impressive start to the festival. Clearly every act is out to cast off the shackles of recent years and make an impression.
Both of these bands leave the fans wanting more, which is all a band can do with these early festival slots. It’s probably a good thing then, that these two bands will be touring the UK together later this year!
Up next for us is one of the performances of the weekend from Holding Absence over on the Avalanche stage. With songs like ‘Afterlife’ and ‘Wilt’ seemingly made for festival crowds to sing along to, the band completely own the packed tent during their time on stage.
Shinedown are also a band that knows how to control a crowd, and they have a large crowd to play with next on the main stage. With a new album on the way, the band incorporate new tracks ‘The Saints of Violence and Innuendo’ and ‘Planet Zero’ into their tried and tested, crowd pleasing set.
It’s then back to the Avalanche stage for another standout performance. This time it’s Creeper on the stage, the band again showing an innate ability to hold the audience in the palm of their hands. Creeper continue to grow and evolve and it will be interesting to see where the band head next.
We stick next to the Avalanche stage for headliners Funeral For A Friend. Perhaps it’s the fact that we’ve just witnessed two fantastic performances on this stage from Holding Absence and Creeper but something feels a little off for this set. It’s not a lacklustre performance as the band give it their all, but on a weekend full of great performances what is probably a really good one feels a little underwhelming.
There is never anything underwhelming however about Iron Maiden. The band are icons for a reason and their current stage show is possibly their best ever. With Maiden on form and a packed Donington Park in fine voice, this headline set was always going to be one for the ages, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Now onto Sunday morning, with hangovers taking hold, feet aching and stamina’s waning. It’s up to Wargasm to blow away any cobwebs as they open the main stage, and that’s just what they do. The band are developing into something of a marmite band, but there is no doubting the passion and energy that they put into every performance; and judging by the reaction they go down very well this morning.
Sidetracking from the music for a moment, we commented in our Neck of the Woods Festival review about the cost of food and drink this year. There are no surprises therefore that prices are high at Download Festival, but the quality on offer at that price is disappointing. Inflation is one thing, but shrinkflation begins to rub, and more than one meal this weekend leaves a sour taste in our mouth (figuratively and literally in one case!).
Well, if the amenities on offer are disappointing, thankfully the music isn’t. As we have said, the quality of performances this weekend is consistently high. Both The Velveteers in the Dogtooth tent and The Last Internationale on the second stage are fine examples of this quality from top to bottom.
Massive Wagons follow on the second stage and again appear on top form. As many bands have this weekend, they tailor their set list perfectly for their time on stage and it’s wall to wall bangers as the kids would say.
Tremonti next are more methodical as they display their technical prowess. Mark Tremonti and co are mightily impressive and the audience are equally receptive.
We shoot then across to the main stage where Rise Against are another band that fail to meet expectations. The band are an incredible force, but sadly today they struggle to translate from the stage for whatever reason.
Volbeat have no problems though as they are instantly able to grab the audience. They deliver a career spanning setlist to the delight of the field, which shows just why they have established themselves as potential future headliners.
We then find time to dart across to the Avalanche stage one last time as Trash Boat showcase one of the albums of last year, ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’. Trash Boat have really come into their own and have the entire tent bouncing along.
Korn are the penultimate band to play the main stage this weekend and they make the most of their position with one of the best performances of the festival. The band are longtime Download Festival favourites and they evidence today just why that is.
There is another look at the future next as Yonaka pack out the Dogtooth tent. Those that have made the effort to catch the band are rewarded by an incredible performance from one of the most exciting young rock bands around.
Last but certainly not least with have Biffy Clyro who are one of the biggest rock bands in the UK, but seemingly another marmite band amongst regular Download Festival goers.
One thing for certain is that those that chose to the stay until the end are rewarded by way of a sublime headlining performance. Biffy Clyro are another level live act and tonight they deliver a superb closing show fitting of closing this event.
Consistent high calibre performances have encapsulated the return of Download Festival this weekend. The event has a special place in the hearts of its fan base and will celebrate next year with a special four day 20th anniversary celebration. We can’t wait!
We move on now to the weeks new music releases as our News Report continues at pace.
Alongside the release of their new album, ‘Skinty Fia’, Fontaines D.C. this week shared their latest single, ‘Roman Holiday’. You can listen to the new track above.
Speaking on the single, frontman Grian Chatten says, “Roman Holiday makes me think of the wide streets of north London in the Summer and the urge to discover them at night time. The thrill of being a gang of Irish people in London with a bit of a secret language and my first flat with my girlfriend.”
The band has also added additional dates to their upcoming UK Tour!
Folk favourite Beans On Toast this week debuted his latest track, ‘Swimming In It’. The track is described as “A protest song about the heinous environmental crimes committed by Southern Water”. You can listen to the song above.
This week saw The Blinders release the video for their recent single, ‘Fight For It’. You can watch the video above.
Regarding the song vocalist and guitarist Thomas Hayward says, “It’s about waking up and seizing the day with both your hands firmly gripped round its neck, to the point where you know you’re a better person by the end of it.
“I had a lot to say about the matter, so subconsciously probably chose the song we’d worked on the least, in terms of seeing how far we could push it musically and made up for it lyrically.
“Usually, as a band, we’d rarely let a song exist in such a basic form… but upon writing the lyrics the tone was right. The words came very fast. When all was said and done it was probably over in about half an hour.
“It’s the lightest song we’ve done. Not something you’d usually expect from the band, and not necessarily a place where I’m particularly comfortable drawing from. Give me brick and barbed wire over sunshine any day. I’ve got a soft spot for it though.”
The last new release in our News Report this week comes from LIFE who have debuted their newest track, ‘Almost Home’. The track will feature on upcoming third album, ‘North East Coastal Town’.
Speaking on the new single vocalist Mez Green says: “Almost Home barks, jolts, jerks and spits with the theme of pining to be home and thus chimes with North East Coastal Town’s over-riding sense of belonging. ‘Taste the difference…feel significant…hold a lifeline, you’re almost home!” Almost Home is a song that wrestles with ego and love, with love winning; ”Recipe, I ain’t a cult recipe.”
France based pop/rock trio, Oakman debut their brand new single, ‘Night’.
“This song was written in one day,” says the band. “Marine had just learned that she might have a serious health problem. Without knowing it, Geremia sent an idea for a riff to Marine that day, who was instantly inspired by the mood. It matched so well with what she was feeling at the time that the whole song was written in one go. She was in a very special mental state that day. It was a kind of happy-sad nostalgia of life. Between the reality of losing everything and the people that you love and the strong desire to just live and exist. We spend our time complaining but when life can suddenly stop, that’s when we realise how much the smallest thing is worth. This song was like a mourning, a last night before everything stops forever. It’s the first time we wrote such a personal song and it’s one of our favourite tracks. It allowed Marine to not sink that day.”
‘Halo’ – Blue Violet
‘Halo’ will feature on the upcoming album, ‘Late Night Calls’ from husband/wife duo Blue Violet.
Ahead of the forthcoming release of ‘Late Night Calls’ Sam and Sarah Gotley explain:
“All in all, the thing we enjoyed most while recording the album was the opportunity to be experimental with sound on top of the structures we had already put in place during the writing and pre-prod processes. We got very lucky to find a like-minded team of people to work with and a beautiful location to match. Coming off the back of a good couple of years in our previous band Broken Bones Matilda, we had no idea that our goals and choice of music we wanted to make would change, but it feels like this album is the start of something long and fruitful and that we’ve found out who we are and what we want to say.”
‘The Concrete of Moulded Men’ – Eat Your Own Head’
Norwich alt-rock newcomers Eat Your Own Head feature with new track ‘The Concrete of Moulded Men’.
Commenting on the track, vocalist Ash Woolnough said: “‘The Concrete of Moulded Men’ is a sledgehammer to the slab of toxic masculinity. When writing the track, we wanted it to be fierce, hard, and unrelenting to reflect the kind of feelings and pressures that are put on men.”
“I didn’t have any friends that played music when I was growing up, and It would feel embarrassing to say no to football or something like that because I wanted to play guitar and sing. I started making up reasons and hiding it, which was obviously not the right thing to be doing. This track is basically saying don’t worry about all that nonsense”
Welcome to a bumper edition of our weekly music News Report! A plethora of festival announcements to get through this week, so let’s get start with Download Festival!
New additions this week included Skindred, SKYND, Dirty Honey, Kid Brunswick, The Velveteers and the incredible Yonaka.
They join a massive line-up headlined by Kiss, Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro. Other highlights include A Day To Remember, Korn, Shinedown, Volbeat, Rise Against, The Pretty Reckless, Airbourne, The Darkness, Funeral For A Friend, Creeper, Boston Manor, Trash Boat, Holding Absence and many more.
This week also saw Y Not Festival reveal their second wave of acts including Thursday headliners The Kooks!
Also added this week were Jake Bugg, The Hunna, We Are Scientists, Blood Red Shoes, The Mysterines, Noisy, Daytime TV, MarthaGunn and more.
They’ll join the likes of Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers, Nothing But Thieves, Levellers, Pale Waves, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Black Honey, Yard Act, The Futureheads, Dream Wife, Beans On Toast, Lauran Hibberd, REWS and many more.
Nottingham’s Splendour Festival this week revealed the event will stretch to two days this year with acts including Richard Ashcroft, Supergrass, Razorlight, The Magic Numbers, Ocean Colour Scene and Happy Mondays.
Bowling For Soup debut ‘I Wanna Be Brad Pitt’ and announce new album
Another band releasing new music this week was Bowling For Soup, who returned with new single ‘I Wanna Be Brad Pitt’.
That’s not it though, as the band also revealed that new album ‘Pop Drunk Snot Bread’ will arrive April 22nd!
Listen to the single above, and pre-order your album here.
Fatherson debut ‘Better Friend’
Fatherson continue to build towards new album, ‘Normal Fears’, which arrives April 1st with new single, ‘Better Friend’.
Speaking on the single, frontman Ross Leighton says, “”Better friend is about losing touch with people when you’re growing up and wishing you were better at staying in touch. Sometimes life gets in the way, but if the last few years has taught me anything life is better with the people you love.
It’s an anthem about friendship and an apology for letting it slip. It was the first song that I wrote for Normal Fears in my old bedroom in Kilmarnock and it really felt like the first normal fear I had going into the record. It became this reference point for melody and groove that the rest of the record built on.
I think everybody has felt a bit out of sorts before and gotten themselves into a space where they lose touch with people that are close to them. This song for me is a reminder to just get back in touch and start to rebuild. I love it!”
Listen to the track above and pre-order your album here.
North London singer/songwriter Louis Dunford shares brand new single ‘The Angel’ from his forthcoming second EP ‘The Popham’.
Speaking about the track Louis says: ‘I wrote this song about my home town. Anyone who’s lived in North London as long as I have will recognise the people and the places I’m talking about in the lyrics. Some that are still here and some that are not. It’s my family and friends favourite song I’ve ever written. Everyone’s London is different. I tried my best to capture ours’ .
‘GIVE IT TO ME’ – CLASSLESS ACT
Los Angeles rockers Classless Act will be joining huge tours with both Dorothy and the Motley Crue/Def Leppard/Poison/Joan Jett Stadium US Tour on their schedule. Check out recent single ‘Give It To Me’ on our Playlist.
‘IT’S ART’ – BLACKGOLD
Described as masked misfits bringing nu-metal vibes, the mysterious Blackgold emerged from the shadows this week with debut single, ‘It’s Art’.
Check out all tracks on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist’, and remember to also check out our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast wherever you listen to or watch your Podcasts. We have multiple Episodes coming this week and just talked with recent Playlisted acts Youth Illusion and Scruffy Bear!
2021 has been another tough year to live through. There have been some signs of normal life, for example the return of live music, but we end it as we started with true normality a distant memory.
This year has however been a stunning year for new music releases. Yes, lockdown musicians and the odds are their creativity will take over. In Full Pelt Music’s first full year of existence we have reviewed 65 albums and the quality of those releases has been exceptional.
Last year we counted down our Top 20 albums of the year, with a special Advent Calendar countdown on our Twitter. This year we have expanded! Our 2021 countdown has taken place across all our social platforms, and has listed our Top 50 albums of the year!
With that social media countdown completed, it’s now time to compile our completed Top 50 in one place. So let’s get started!
What we said:
“there are stunning moments spread throughout the album”
The quality of this year’s releases has been truly phenomenal as our opening 30 albums attests. The competition is extremely tight for the coveted top spot and that is clear throughout the prestigious Top 20 that follows.
What we said:
“a sublime collection of upbeat, heartfelt and powerful songs that is bound to be stuck on repeat for the foreseeable future”
Welcome to another edition of the Full Pelt Music weekly News Report. We start this week with a clutch of festival news including the latest line-up announcement from the monster Download Festival for 2022.
New additions to the line-up include A Day To Remember, Volbeat, Shinedown, Black Veil Brides, Myles Kennedy, Creeper and Normandie.
They join the already announced line-up including headliners Kiss, Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro! Plus Korn, The Pretty Reckless, Rise Against, Theory, Wayward Sons, Monster Truck, Those Damn Crows and Wargasm all playing the main stage.
The second stage will feature The Distillers, Airbourne, Lacuna Coil, Bush, The Darkness, Skillet, Tremonti, Massive Wagons and The Last Internationale amongst others.
The third stage is set to host the likes of Sleep Token, Funeral For A Friend, Holding Absence, Salem, Boston Manor, Trash Boat, Jamie Lenman and Static Dress. Whilst the fourth stage includes Blues Pills, British Lion, Higher Power and many more.
Bearded Theory’s Spring Gathering 2022 line-up revealed
Another festival revealing their 2022 line-up this week was Bearded Theory’s Spring Gathering which takes place 26-29 May at Catton Hall, Derbyshire.
The event will be headlined by Placebo, The Flaming Lips and Patti Smith. Also playing will be The Mission, Shame, Wilko Johnson, Ferocious Dog, Lauran Hibberd, Nova Twins, The Ninth Wave, October Drift and many more.
Twin Atlantic this week revealed the next phase for the band with a line-up change, new album, new single and special tour announcement. The band will hit the road in May 2022 to celebrate the Anniversary of ‘Free’.
The band also debuted new single, ‘One Man Party’, which you can check out below. The track will feature on new album ‘Transparency’ which arrives January 4th.
The latest new releases now for our News Report. Up first, the news that Biffy Clyro will be releasing a brand new album on October 22nd. In announcing ‘The Myth of the Happily Ever After’, the band also debuted new track ‘Unknown Male 01’, which you can check out above.
Fresh from the main stage at Reading & Leeds Festivals, Hot Milk this week debuted their latest track, ‘Split Personality’, which you can listen to above. This comes ahead of their September 10th EP ‘I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD’.
Rockers Wayward Sons this week debuted their latest single, ‘Bloody Typical’, which you can hear above. This track is the latest to be taken from their upcoming album, ‘Even Up The Score’ which is out October 22nd.
Iron Maiden are a legendary act that have earned the right to do things their way. Generally their way is very well prepared. Plans are set out some times years in advance. Album release schedules, touring schedules etc are meticulously planned out as the machine that is Maiden rolls on.
Recent years have been disruptive to this routine however, firstly with the delays to the release and tour of ‘The Book of Souls’ due to the cancer treatment undertaken by frontman Bruce Dickinson. Then with Dickinson fit and well and the band enjoying the highly successful ‘Legacy of the Beast’ tour, a global pandemic hits!
WATCH ‘STRATEGO’ ON YOUTUBE
Tour plans again are torn up and replanned, then torn up again. Now with the world praying it’s on a better path, live shows are again scheduled and the machine is coming back online. So, despite still having some ‘Legacy of the Beast’ dates to fulfil, the band are back with their seventeenth studio album, ‘Senjutsu’.
With the album clocking in at over 80 minutes, clearly this isn’t an album aimed at winning over new audiences. Indeed Iron Maiden already have a dedicated and well established base of listeners. For those fans this album is another treat. It is Iron Maiden doing exactly what you’d expect Iron Maiden to do.
That being said, whilst this is a typical Maiden release it isn’t the album you’d suggest if asked to pick an album to introduce somebody to the band. In fitting with recent releases this is a feature length record that deserves to be listened to as a whole. You certainly won’t find any short and sweet, radio friendly unit shifters on here.
Again, this is a band with a plan, a well oiled machine that knows its place. ‘Senjutsu’ is safe and collectors will welcome it into their set. There isn’t a bad track here, but there aren’t any that particularly jump out either.
It will be interesting now to see how many tracks make their way into the live show moving forward. Given we said that the album stands as a whole, perhaps full album shows are deserved here. One way or another these songs will come to life and as always with this band will take on new life once unleashed live.