cry-havocUK thrashers Cry Havoc mean business on their debut release.  This EP, recorded with Martyn ‘Ginge’ Ford and Matthew Bond (known for work with Slipknot, Trivium and Skindred) recalls many great elements from the late 80s/early 90s thrash metal scene, delivering those now old-school riffs as expertly as possible for a twenty-first century audience.  If thrash metal hit the spot for you back then and fancy something nostalgic – or else have always loved metal with a strong thrash influence – then look no further!

The opening number ‘Losing Everything’ almost tells you all you need to know with regards to whether you’ll love this band or not.  Within seconds, Cry Havoc launch headlong into a well-played approximation of 80s thrash/speed with a hint of slightly more modern metal.  With great riffs throughout, Cry Havoc sound strongest when leaning more towards the old-school thrash, but they’re certainly none the worse for that.  Vocally, Gav sounds a tad harsh in places, but often retains a relative clarity, making the lyrics very easy to digest.  Their metallic force is balanced out by a surprisingly melodic chorus, and by the time this number comes crashing to a halt via an unsubtle cry of “shut the fuck up”, you know Cry Havoc mean to leave a lasting impression. ‘Ignition’ allows a slower mood to come to the fore in places, with a main riff evocative of ‘Master of Puppets’ era Metallica or post ‘Crusade’ Trivium – either influence a very welcome one indeed.  Despite the chuggier moments allowing more accessible elements to cut through – and a chorus which leans even more towards the melodic (relatively speaking, of course) –  drummer John still attacks his kit with the full force expected of classic sounding thrash/speed metal, with plenty of hefty pedal work.

Kicking off with some bottom end bass and a solid drum groove, ‘Alone’ at first hints at a slower, meatier workout and then – boom – it’s then straight back into a world of excellently played metal riffs.  The full-on chug and growlier vocal line evokes the best elements of ‘Seasons In The Abyss’ era Slayer – particularly once the twin guitars get the opportunity to chime in before an all-too-brief guitar solo.  The title cut begins gently with some clean toned riffing and a whispered vocal teasing at something epic waiting in the wings and then, as before, Tris and James settle into staccato riffing worthy of Metallica, Testament or any of the thrash greats, before finding time for a well-executed solo.  It doesn’t really offer the listener any more of a broad musical spectrum than heard previously, but frankly, what these guys do, they do exceptionally well.

If you like your metal with a full-on sound with no obvious alternative influences creeping in, this is almost guaranteed to please.  By the end of the fourth number, it starts to feel as if this should have been a full length release.  It may be short, but in classic metal terms, Cry Havoc’s ‘New Life’ serves up four slices of near perfection.

December 2012

New video interview with Skindred’s Benji Webbe posted online

Over the last few years, ragga-metal band Skindred have built up a solid following through hard touring and frontman Benji Webbe’s gift for winning over festival audiences. As the band’s touring schedule for 2012 pulled to a close, Riff Media caught up with the charismatic Webbe for a chat, which can be seen below.

Skindred’s fourth album ‘Union Black’ was a cult success, reaching #54 on the UK album chart, with tracks being aired on BBC Radio 6. In 2012, the album was reissued with bonus tracks and a bonus DVD featuring live clips from the band’s 2011 appearance at the HMV Forum in London plus promo clips.

The Ataris: Euro tour dates, Spring ’13

Pop-punkers The Ataris head to Europe in Spring 2013 for a run of dates visiting France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Spain. They’re even stopping off in Luxembourg for a one-off show.  All confirmed dates can be seen below.  There are no plans at this time for the band to visit the UK.

4.16.2013 France, Lyon La Marquise
04.17.2013 France, Paris Backstage By The Mill
04.18.2013 Switzerland, Basel Sommercasino
04.19.2013 Switzerland, Lyss Kufa
04.20.2013 Austria, Kapfenberg Overdrive Festival
04.21.2013 Austria, Vienna B72
04.23.2013 Germany, Berlin Bi Nuu
04.24.2013 Germany, Hamburg Headcrash
04.25.2013 Germany, COlogne MTC
04.26.2013 Luxemburg, Luxemburg Kulturfabrik
04.27.2013 Belgium, MEerhout Groezrock Festival
04.28.2013 Belgium, MEerhout Groezrock Festival
05.01.2013 Germany, Stuttgart Zwolfzehn
05.03.2013 Spain TBA
05.04.2013 Spain TBA
05.05.2013 Spain TBA
05.08.2013 Italy, MIlan Lo Fi
05.09.2013 Italy, Rome Traffic
05.10.2013 Italy, Livorno The Cage
05.11.2013 Italy, Pinarella Rock Planet

BLACKWOLF – Taking Root EP

d8ace71ace19924c4abb45d0a3becd12ee172dc2Although still a relatively new band by the end of 2012, BlackWolf had already been busy on the live circuit, having played the Bulldog Bash biker’s festival (twice) and trodden the boards with many other rock bands, including Jettblack (a band who seemed to tour endlessly).  With an old-school rock sound that’s tailor made for live performance (possibly complimented with a fine ale), this EP may not always show off the Bristol band’s energy as well as a live setting – something true of most bands – but definitely shows them to be very accomplished musicians and reasonable songwriters.

Opening with a classic sounding rock riff, ‘Stairway Ticket’ wrong-foots the listener by quickly and seemlessly morphing into something a little funkier than expected.  Multi-tracked guitars handle some great chops throughout – and it’s soon obvious these guys are working to a very professional standard.  It’s vocalist Scott Sharp who carries this particular piece, with his voice moving between rock-blues cries to higher register banshee wails throughout.  A strong start, certainly…and if this grabs you, you’ll enjoy the rest even more. ‘Finding Fables’ has a basis that sounds like a harder rock Black Crowes, the riffs bolstered by a really hard drum line.  A couple of Sharp’s more 80s wails occasionally seem at odds with the definite 70s leanings of the tune but, once again, everyone puts in maximum effort.

With tapped notes during its intro and an impassioned vocal cry to kick things off, ‘Wayward One’ gently tips the hat to AC/DC before adopting a similar mood to the previous couple of numbers.  While there may not be a great variation from anything that’s gone before, John Greenhill shows off an ability to work a solid riff – and a couple of well-honed solos – while the rhythm section lay down some good work.  Leaving the strongest track for last, ‘Seeds’ is a cocksure workout which, during the verses, has a spikier basis than Blackwolf’s other tunes.  Despite this, it manages not to be any more aggressive, as this spiky quality is counterbalanced by a groove-laden riff which sounds a little Zeppelin-ish in places, but also with a southern tinge not unlike the excellent Black Stone Cherry.  Once again, the bones of this tune may not be far removed from those you’ve heard previously, but all the same, there’s a sense of the band upping their game just a touch… In a couple of places, Sharp reigns his voice in a little, while bassist Ben Webb gets opportunity to tear into a bass solo – and he’s a very gifted player.

Although BlackWolf’s sound borrows heavily from many classic rock influences – a touch of Zep here, a dose of Crowes there, with a sound hinting at a lighter equivalent of Black Stone Cherry lurking throughout –  thankfully, no influences are flaunted too heavily.  Even during the most obvious hat-tipping, Blackwolf’s nods to others seem nowhere near as blatant as with other bands [for example, The Temperance Movement’s subtle-as-a-brick Black Crowes-isms]. While it would have been wise for the band to have included one slow number (if nothing else, to show a fuller range of their talents), this EP provides a great taster.  If you like meaty, tuneful hard rock, this is a British band worthy of your support.

December 2012

Real Gone’s End of Year Round Up, 2012

As Real Gone finishes a third full year online, on reflection, 2012 was an incredibly good year for new music, far stronger than the previous couple.  Here’s the usual round up of stuff you need to check out.

With regards to newer bands, Britain flew a pretty hefty flag throughout the year, with some very cool noise-makers.  The first full EP from Post War Glamour Girls, ‘Tragic Loss…’ is a threatening and sometimes full-on experience which needs to be heard.  Their mix of Tom Waits, Wedding Present and Nick Cave is nothing short of immense.  We can’t wait to hear more from these guys!  On a more technical level, Halifax math-rockers Wot Gorilla? released ‘Kebnekaise’, an intriguing, often brilliant and occasionally confounding listen, while alternative rockers Dead Wolf Club included a couple of fuzzy classics on their self-titled album.  With a mix of post-grunge and math-rock, Bear Makes Ninja showed a great promise.  While, perhaps, their ‘Shouting at Bridges’ EP had scope to be better, ‘Fruit Can’t Fly’ showed exactly how good they were capable of being.  [Tracks by all of these bands are available on the 2012 Real Gone Sampler].

Looking a little farther afield, Dutch band Sunday Sun released not one but three excellent EPs (fittingly titled I, II and III).  For those who’ve still not heard these guys, their sound pulls the best elements of Jellyfish, Badfinger, The Beach Boys et al to create a summery sound that’s nearly timeless.  With a rootsy Americana influence, Joshua Cockerill and his band Animal Parts left us a mixed bag of a disc that seems to keep on giving with every listen.  It’s one of the many releases that proves that being unsigned or mostly working on a DIY basis can yield something totally professional.  As we say goodbye to 2012, we’re ever closer to saying goodbye to making allowances for raggedy recordings just because a band don’t have huge budgets at their disposal…unless of course such roughness is chosen deliberately.

…Which brings us on to Guided By Voices!  Reformed in 2011 after a seven year hiatus, the Dayton, Ohio kings of lo-fi came back with a vengeance this year.  Their de facto leader Robert Pollard never seems to stop working, but his output this year was seemingly never ending.  In addition to his usual two solo albums, he also found time to release THREE Guided By Voices albums.  The first of these, ‘Let’s Go Eat The Factory’ was released to GBV fans at the tail end of 2011, but didn’t appear on general release until January 3rd, so it just about qualifies as a 2012 disc.  It was a good offering – one which announced GBV’s return in a solid enough fashion, but was bettered by their June release ‘Class Clown Spots a UFO’ and November’s ‘The Bears For Lunch’.  How much music Bob Pollard releases in 2013 is anyone’s guess, but he’s getting in early:  the next GBV release – the ‘Down By The Racetrack’ EP -is due by the end of January!

The year also saw excellent releases from a few of Real Gone’s favourites: Jack White gave us his first solo album – an enjoyable mixed bag – while his old friend Brendan Benson’s ‘What Kind of World’ delivered more of the excellent pop/rock we’ve come to expect from him.  Better still, Cold Chisel‘s ‘No Plans’ marked a welcome return for the veteran Aussie rockers and a visit to the UK for the first time in three decades provided the year’s finest gig.  On the melodic rock/AOR scene, stalwart Rick “Jessie’s Girl” Springfield released one of the best albums of his career, the surprisingly meaty ‘Songs From The End of the World’ (an album which ought not be missed by anyone with a liking for tuneful rock music with strong choruses).  Earlier in the year, Swedish newcomers Wigelius pushed all the right buttons on their debut album, a record strong enough to stand alongside many genre classics.

Even during a year with dozens of brilliant releases, there will always be a few which stand apart from the rest.  Here are Real Gone’s unmissable picks for 2012:


REDD KROSS – Researching The Blues

Breaking a fifteen year silence, Redd Kross came back with one of the best albums of their career.  Recorded by the same line up that released the much praised ‘Neurotica’, this 2012 comeback blended power pop, glam and alt-rock in the band’s unmistakable style in such a way it seemed as if no time had passed.  If pushed, Real Gone would pick this as the best disc of 2012, although a couple of the other below picks come pretty close behind.  [Read a review here.  Watch the video for ‘Stay Away From Downtown here.]

DAVID MYHR – Soundshine

In a similar spirit to the Sunday Sun releases, Myhr celebrates classic 70s pop a-plenty on his brightly coloured solo debut.  Making the creation of pop music seem simple, nearly every song on ‘Sounshine’ is nearing perfection.  Fans of Jellyfish’s ‘Bellybutton’ are almost certainly destined to love this record. [Read a review here.]


Following four EPs, OFF! released their debut full length album in 2012, and…bloody hell, it’s awesome.  Sixteen songs in approximately as many minutes, this album represents hardcore punk at its best.  Ex-Circle Jerks/Black Flag frontman Keith Morris is a near incomprehensible ball of anger on this record.  Just as you’ve started to really enjoy yourselves, it’s all over…but there’s always the repeat button! [Read a review here.]


Part stoner, part dark psych, this debut full-length from Ruby The Hatchet should be enjoyed by anyone with a liking for weighty grooves.  A combination of old-fashioned production values and a lovely echoing vocal lend a lot of atmosphere to some well-crafted riffs.  [Read a review and listen to a stream of the album here.]

MARILLION – Sounds That Can’t Be Made

One of Real Gone’s favourite bands for many years, Marillion delivered a corker of a disc in 2012.  Kicking off with the dark epic ‘Gaza’, Marillion work through many moods on ‘Sounds That Can’t Be Made’, adding up to what is essentially their best work in over a decade.  Good to see they’ve still got the ability to surprise – and more importantly, impress – especially after the release of three crappy-to-middling albums marking a career low-point between 2007 and 2010.  [Read a review here.]


Here’s hoping 2013 will be full of equally great music.  To those people who stuck by Real Gone this year, thank you.  To all those who’ve attempted to spread the word farther by reposting links in useful places and tirelessly re-tweeted stuff, thank you – it’s a long road until Real Gone has as many readers as some music blogs out there, but it’s about quality over quantity!  Thanks due also to Nathan Edwards for helping out with Real Gone’s improved logo.  As always – a huge thank you to the indie record labels and PR guys who sent stuff out for review…appreciated!  Lastly, a huge thank you to the bands who have sought Real Gone out for an opinion; let’s hope the new year brings more bands this way.

December 2012