Decapitated lay waste to what remains of Dublin \m/ \m/

It’s been a busy 7 days in Dublin City for Death Metal shows in my home town, with the big and totally crushing show in Vicar St last Sunday where Wolves In The Throne Room, At The Gates and the mighty Behemoth really set down a marker in front of a Sold Out venue, here we are again only 5 days later in an absolutely rammed Voodoo Lounge with another 4 band bill.

 

Tonight I’m not shooting, just at the gig as a fan and it’s another set of Polish legends that are headlining and a band I have somehow managed to miss out on seeing a total of 5 times in the past, yes that is a crazy amount, but this year seems to be the year of me finally getting to see some bands that I have missed the most over the years from an assorted amount of reasons….. so on top of every thing else it’s just great to finally see them live. This is a really strong bill though with openers Bloodshot Dawn, Danish blasters Baest and the always pounding Dyscarnate rounding the night out. With the Stage Times for this show having been brought down even earlier, Doors at 6pm and first band at 6:15, it did make me wonder once again how viable gigs with more bands on the bill are in the age of curfews and venues holding Nightclubs after live shows, but this week I guess things have shown me it’s possible, Wolves In The Throne Room played to an almost full house last weekend and tonight although starting off to around 15 people for Bloodshot Dawn the room rapidly filled up as the set progressed, the tightness of Doors opening and getting people through the Box Office certainly slowing the room filling up a bit.

 

England’s Bloodshot Dawn have been to Dublin before and are an experienced band that always look comfortable, hopefully we’ll see them back again soon, highlight for me was the excellent “Reanimation” from the album of the same name. Always difficult with such a short set but they ably warm up the crowd for the bands still to come.

 

Denmark’s Baest are making their first visit to Dublin and appear to be recording the show for a future release. Having only really checked these guys out before the show, and having been impressed by what I had heard, I really wasn’t prepared by just how good these guys are live, their sound was great and they were really up for it, with a frontman that tries to get the audience involved in the show at every opportunity, a very tight and powerful unit and they just sound great. The set here is far too short and judging by the reactions of the crowd as through the set I was far from the only one impressed by this band tonight, a much longer set is needed on their return visit. “Crosswhore” among others separate this band from most in the genre, “Ego Te Absolvo” is another punishing track but not without melody.

 

Main support tonight are a band I’ve seen many times Dyscarnate, and they’ve always been a cracking band, but something about tonight, I don’t know what but this is the best I’ve ever seen them, there’s little fuss with them, not a huge amount of banter between songs, but a relentless pummeling from a 3 piece that always sounding like they are bigger than the sum of their parts. The solid light colour and smoke machine output really do make it quite difficult to see the band for a lot of the set, but that doesn’t take away much from just how good they are. Having dual vocalists has always worked really well with this band and it continues to do so, Al Llewellyn (Bass/Vocals) is the perfect foil to Tom Whitty (Guitar/Vocals) voice, This is as strong as they’ve been as a band, as always Matt’s drumming is just pounding while remaining varied, each band tonight has managed to lift the crowd to a higher level and the packed venue is definitely loving this set, and for good reason. Looking forward to catching these guys again soon. Tonight for me “The Promethean” is probably the stand out or the set, cracking song, but everything is a highlight.

 

And so to the headliners, Decapitated, well nothing really needs to be said they absolutely leveled the place, easily one of the top performances I’ve seen in the Voodoo, and probably as busy as I’ve seen the venue since the last lot of work was done on it, packed up front and busy right down to the very back, you could tell that the band were really feeding off the crowd, but it was their brilliant playing and delivery that made all the difference tonight, they sounded brilliant,

Everything in the set fitted perfectly, it just flowed one song into the next as if it was all coming from the one album, not that it all sounded the same, absolutely not, it just all worked together in one set. The tracks off the latest album Anticult are just immense live, and this is a band that are just right at the top of their craft, musically the riffs are just so powerful, drums thunderous, bass so so solid with in that unit and vocals are stunning, this is how you do a Death Metal show, as with Dyscarnate there’s not much fuss, they got on with things, but never come across as a band in isolation, the crowd works in tandem and the atmosphere envelops you, drawing you in. Ending the set with “Sphere’s Of Madness” and the always popular “Winds Of Creation” is just nice. I’m always loathe to say a band could play a bigger venue, that’s not my business, the promoters know what they are doing, but it would be great to see them come back and play somewhere different and fill it too, as tonight has shown there’s certainly an appetite to see this band here. Been a hell of a week and this was a class way to finish it off.

 

Roll on next week when we have some very different gigs to look forward including another legend in former Queensryche man Geoff Tate again singing those amazing songs from the Operation Mindcrime album, but still ending with some legendary Death Metal in the form of Pestilence (yes another I’ve missed a few times – be it them being refused entry to the country or just bad luck) and sandwiched in between some awesome young Finnish Thrash in Lost Society – bring it on 😉

New review added – Behemoth – Vicar St, Dublin – 10-02-2019

Trying to get some bits and pieces done, fitting in around life, so I was happy to Review and Photograph the mighty Behemoth in Dublin last Sunday. The show was brilliant and having one of my Bucketlist bands, At The Gates, on the bill too was a massive added bonus.

The review was for MetalPlanetMusic and you can find it here –

Behemoth – Vicar St, Dublin – 10-02-2019

 

Also the Gallery for Behemoth is now live here, Photo Gallery   or click on the image below.

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Behemoth – Vicar St. Dublin – 10-02-2019

Will add the At The Gates Gallery hopefully tonight all things going to plan.

 

3 gigs coming up next week so busy times ahead…….

Planning for a new year, or as it’s more commonly known logistics madness ;-)

I’m pretty open about things in life, and I’m not always sure that it is such a good thing, but at the same time it’s better than being so closed off that nobody on the planet knows who you are, and from a Mental perspective it can definitely help when you aren’t completely isolated in your own head, so talking to people about some of the difficulties of trying to look after your mother and when your little boy needs a little more attention than others has helped me not go over the deep edge in the last month, but it’s definitely been touch and go at times. Stress levels through the roof, not sleeping, generally feeling crap, but I’ve decided to still call this week part of last year as it contained a day – next week we start afresh, got to start getting into work for 7am and out at 4 again, it won’t be easy to get back into that rhythm of early mornings again, but it’s getting too difficult to get from work, to mams and home again before my wife goes to work, change the times and reduce some of the stress……..  have to get a family holiday in the mix too, and this time around on the Wild Atlantic Way we are planning to finish off County Donegal and finally get a look at the famous cliffs at Slieve League, they look amazing, so camera will be brought along and we will see if we can catch some birds, wildlife, butterflies insects anything really around the cliffs too, a bit of nature certainly won’t hurt us, maybe even another trip later in the year if we can stretch to it.

 

So it being early January, Christmas done and dusted and the Gig/Festival list for 2019 damn full already for someone who’s time isn’t really his own, it’s Logistics time, when planning travel to a show or a Festival it’s not all about the Flight prices, a lot of the time it’s about making things work, Flying to a different Airport because it’s cheaper and you have to get a Train/Bus anyway, or flying into one place and out another because you have more flight options on the way back. So far I’m already bringing on the madness certainly for one show in March, where I’m staying in East Midlands Airport after a show in Nottingham and getting the 6:30am return flight to Dublin, but hey one more time on the red eye won’t kill me – will it ?

 

Flight out to a Fest in March sorted, but the flight back is causing me a lot of stress, flying back on St. Patricks Day to Dublin really shouldn’t be a big deal, especially as it’s a Sunday, but apparently it is and all Airlines have hiked up the prices very significantly, but looks like I’ll just have to bite the bullet and take the hit, but it’s very annoying…….the extra money for a single flight would pay for return flights for another show., but there has to be some reason for it as flights from other UK Airports on the same day are not really expensive, if you can figure out the weird combination of prices that I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks you are a better person than me, seeing a hotel that you stayed in last April for more than double the price is mindboggling……….. And initially planning to go to just one day of Bloodstock next year, but bloody hell, with bands I really want to see Friday and Sunday it’s gotta be a weekend, Fri-Sunday anyway, ticket bought more planning to do. Might try and get an Arena Photo Pass this time around. Would love to have the Privilege of shooting a Festival I really love. Also hoping to get to Amplified for the first time this year, with the people that I know involved with the Festival and the good things I’ve heard it sounds right up my street, and I love the lineup too 😉

 

This coming year will certainly be the last that I will be able to make a decent number of Festivals, more time will be taken up with  family, and I think by the time those situations change I will certainly be retired from the perspective of hitting 6-7 Fests a year, even if my own health holds up, age will eventually take it’s toll on top of everything else, but until then full steam ahead. On top of that I’m hoping to get to shoot a lot more smaller local shows this year, get back to Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Heats which start on Jan 19th. If all goes to plan it should be a very interesting, busy and rewarding year so time to light the touchpaper.

 

 

2018 Top 10 Time…….there may be a few of these…..

Although it’s been a very slow year for me personally on the the review side of things, I’ve already submitted a couple of Top 10’s for 2018.  My state of mind as it has been I tend to have some different albums in different Top 10’s, just depends on perhaps there is something that slipped my mind between one and another, and depending on the Outlet too some might be all AOR, all Metal or a mix.

So first up is the Top 10 for Rockposer.com

Top Ten Albums Of 2018 – Stephen Brophy – Rockposer.com

 

It wasn’t until I started looking again that there was an obvious omission from my Favoutites, the excellent Audrey Horne – Blackout and then this morning another popped into my head, it’s honestly not as easy as you think putting together these end of year lists when you listen to so many albums during a year and there are so many quality ones out there, to be 100% honest I already have 2 for next years list from reviews I’m writing now and I just know these will be 2 of my favs next for 2019. With a lot of bands moving back towards releasing albums on a more frequent basis we see quite a few releasing one a year, of course they aren’t always going to make the best of lists but that doesn’t mean they aren’t all releasing quality albums.

Right I had to do a lot of reworking of the Website over the last couple of weeks, so if you see any odd menus or anything missing that was there a few weeks ago hopefully I’ll have everything back in it’s place . It wasn’t until I tried to make sure the site was up to date with TLS 1.2 that I ran into some issues, couldn’t install plugins, couldn’t do a number of things, so the site had to be moved, the providers moved the content (well most of it) and then I noticed stuff missing, and had to start exporting/importing stuff, and then the menus get messed up again….so a little frustrating, but it took my mind off some other thanks going on in life that have made the last few months a disaster.

Here’s to a happier, healthier, easier and more productive 2019.

How do you prefer to view Photos these days ?

Well we all have so many devices these days, PC, Laptop, Tablet, Phone, TV, so when (or if) we look at a Gallery of Photographs, whatever they happen to be of –  how do you prefer to look at them. Up until now I generally display my Galleries on a single page, and if you click on a photo on that page then you get to see a larger version of that image and it opens a Slideshow. It gives a little bit of variety and a couple of different options, but over the last year I’ve noticed that more and more people just check on the page view and don’t click through the Slideshow, and that’s fine, whatever way suits you as an individual, but it makes me wonder what way people check things like this out.

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Gallery Page View

 

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Individual/Slideshow View

So perhaps as we move more and more towards immediacy in the entertainment or arts, that we view and along with it an interesting change to listening to a song from an album rather than the whole thing, or as mentioned viewing a full page of photos, but never looking at a larger version to see the detail in an individual photograph, drawing or painting. At some point I’ll put my ramblings together into more structure and perhaps put a small Survey or Poll together to better gauge public opinion.

 

It’s hard to believe that this is the most amount of words I’ve been able to put together in almost a month,  but one thing is for sure that the everyday stresses of live are a major influence in causing Writers Block. For us at the moment as generally have been for a little over 12 months, Family and Work are the major stress points, with so many things to think about, appointments, phone calls, check ins and ups, bloody forms and more forms, time does disappear so quickly, the madness of bureaucracy and how quickly it can add to already frustrating positions and of course when you stop looking after yourself because you are doing your best to look after everyone else, but the thinner you spread yourself the easier it becomes to lose track of what you need to do, so it’s essential to try and keep yourself in decent shape, not for you but for everyone else, so just doing a little reset on the head every now and then will definitely help your mental state, but it’s a temporary measure. For me it gets thrust upon me when I notice I’m getting overtired, a trigger for my Epilepsy, and in the case of just being overrun with stuff in the last month, forgetting to take my tablets or just remembering, but altering the times drastically (not a good idea with slow release medicine). There’s been some pretty dumb stuff where being very tired I even took a second tablet a couple of hours after the first because I’d convinced myself that I had not taken one at all, that could have triggered an Episode straight away, but luckily it didn’t and I got back on track. So for the next couple of days, I’m going to try not to worry about everyone but me, wish me luck.

 

With regards the Photography, well I still have Rockingham Festival Galleries to post, although they are long since finished the Reviews haven’t been 100% completed and submitted, which puts more stress on and that’s how you create a vicious circle. So I’m going to power forward with the Gallery posting and hopefully get everything tidied up and submitted. Thankfully Christmas presents are pretty much sorted out, the little guy has far too much and some new stuff uncle and auntie in New Zealand has now been added to the large pile, and he already has enough toys, but the smile on his face will release so much of the pressure it will be worth it.

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Age Of Reflection – Rockingham 2018

 

And as the temperatures outside still haven’t dropped to normal temps I might get out to the Garden a bit more in the coming weeks, the birds are certainly getting stuck into the nuts and fat balls in the feeders, and I haven’t really had a chance to see how the new(ish) camera delivers the hovering/fighting Starlings, Blue Tits, Coal Tits and Thrush’s that I’ve already seen around and about. At the start of the year I spent a little more time trying to get shots of our visitors, so hoping to increase the clarity this time around and perhaps get some more interesting stuff of them entering and exiting the feeders/gardens. We shall see.

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Robin – 17.02.2018

 

Currently planning on Gigs and Trips for next year and damn are they coming in thick and fast, which is both great and worrying at the same time, no way I’ll have the time to get to everything, but we will try, more gigs this year than the last two and if we cand fit in a couple extra next year then all the better. It’s also the time of year I will get asked by many to put together my Top 5/10 lists for various categories in music, believe it or not that takes a lot of time and can be a bit of a worry, but will get there, tonnes of really good releases and shows this year and there will be even more next year.

Time is a drifting again……

Well hear we are again 😉

Have been going well with the Photos from HRH Sleaze, and that’s pretty cool, as I have also been quite happy with the way some of them have turned out, and even more pleasing is the fact that some of the bands have liked them too, and well that means a lot to me.

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On the downside, as everything in life has gotten more busy and stressful again the creative side has taken a back seat, and I’m behind again, can’t be helped life does definitely get in the way, sick son and now sick daddy doesn’t help at all, but back to work tomorrow and hopefully this awful week will be nearly done, on top of everything else the world lost a really lovely person this week too, she will never be forgotten by the many people that her heart touched, may she rest in peace.

Moments like this always cause reflection, and a bit of stock taking, but every time I see a photo of the little guy having fun at Preschool everything falls back into place, it just puts a smile on your face.

So the writing and the Photos will come, maybe in a big batch, but that’s how it has to be, and the sickness will pass and then it’s onto the next one, last Festival of the year next month and the one I just can’t wait to see, brilliant lineup and brilliant people, it will be a hugfest for sure…..but until then I will plough on 😉

Shiraz Lane - HRH Sleaze II
Shiraz Lane – HRH Sleaze II

 

It’s quite funny when you are laid low with a bug you end up watching stuff on TV you wouldn’t normally see, and there’s more and more programs on about people changing their diet because they read something on the Internet – bloody hell, that’s scary, go and check it out with a qualified person before following an internet fad, not everything on the Net is true you know 😉

 

Amplified Festival 2019

So here’s the first band announcement for Amplified Festival 2019 which will take place on 19 – 21 July between Northleach and Aldsworth in Gloucestershire, UK. Some great bands in this first announcement, this is going to be another cracking weekend.

Here is the official announcement.

“As the saying goes ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’…can it really be time to announce the line up for Amplified Version 3.0 already?! We’ve endured torrential storms in 2017 followed by blistering sunshine in 2018 so it would be a brave person to bet on what’s going to happen weather wise here at Amplified over the weekend of 19th-21st July, 2019.
One thing is for certain…we are going to continue to bring you the best new acts from the global rock and metal scene. Yes, artists will yet again be joining us here on the hallowed stages of Amplified from all around the world including artists from Sweden, the Netherlands, and as far afield as Japan. With the masked mayhem in the shape of MUSHROOMHEAD joining us from the USA as Saturday’s Red Stripe Main Stage headliners, Amplified 2019 will be here before we know it.
So please read on for the first confirmed acts and stay tuned as we’ve still several other acts to announce over the coming months…it’s going to be a very special weekend here at Amplified 2019!
And as always thank you for your continued support as without you Amplified wouldn’t be the festival it has grown to be and we look forward to welcoming you all again very soon.” Gary – Event Founder and lover of all things rock!
Gloucestershire based AMPLIFIED FESTIVAL makes their first announcement, and it’s a statement of intent as Ohio based Multi-Million selling MUSHROOMHEAD are confirmed to headline the Saturday Main Stage.
Formed in 1993 the band is known for their unique sound. A not-so delicate blend of Heavy Metal and Industrial Rock their theatrical imagery features masks and costumes as well as their unique live shows, which are normally played in more intimate venues. This will be the first UK outdoor festival Headline slot for the Cleveland based band, and it promises to be quite the set. MUSHROOMHEAD are primed and ready for the Cotswolds in 2019.
Joining them on the main stage bill are legendary Thrash lunatics LAWNMOWER DETH, who among their many accolades have played twice with Kim Wilde and are the current theme tune for the BBC Radio 2 segment “Dr. Mosh”. Frontman Qualcast Mutilator said “At our age it’s always nice to play somewhere that we can purchase shortbread in a tin with a picture of a thatched cottage on it. Nothing says metal like a tin of shortbread. South West and Amplified, we are coming”.
The Main Stage line-up additionally features IDIOM, BLOODSHOT DAWN, THE BAD FLOWERS, RYDERS CREED, THOSE DAMN CROWS, ROCKET DOLLS, BLACK BULLETS, LOTUS EATER, ESPRIT D’AIR, MORTISHEAD, TRC, SEETHING AKIRA, HIGHTOWN PARADE and AWAKENING HYPERIA.
 
Announced for the Very Metal Art Stage are bands KRYSTHLA, SEPTEKH, THE MEN WHO WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING, BYZANTINE, THIS IS TURIN, MAGE, COLLIBUS, META-STASIS, WRETCHED SOUL, PRIMITAI, KANE’D, VALAFAR, REPULSIVE VISION, THE KING LOT, TOMORROW IS LOST, MIDNIGHT PROPHECY, CALLUS, DAMAGED REICH and ETHYRFIELD.
In addition, the festival have announced the returning SULPHER and UNZUCHT to play the now legendary “G’s Bar Stage”
Joining them are SISTERS OF SUFFOCATION, BLACK ORCHID EMPIRE, WITCHSORROW, THE MIGHTY WRAITH, DISHONOUR THE CROWN, DEATH REMAINS, BLOOD OATH and SERTRALINE.
Remaining Early Bird Tickets will be on sale until midnight on the 31st October, 2018 via the festival website. For full details visit: www.amplifiedrocks.com/tickets.
Now that we have your attention please stay tuned for further announcements and a few surprises heading your way…these include the final headliners performing here Friday and Sunday on the Red Stripe Main Stage, those acts headlining the Very Metal Art Stage and the final act performing on the legendary G’s Bar Stage on Sunday night…the festival’s ‘coup de grace’ if you will.
You’ll have to keep those horns sharpened and be on the look out for more info coming soon!!!
Band applications are currently open via www.amplifiedrocks.com/band-applications

 

It’s really becoming an interesting year….

Ok, there have definitely been a lot of downs and far too many things to get organised this year that have had a large impact in what I do for fun/hobbies and just to unwind – but that is life as we know it in the 21st Century. When you add in multiple family obligations, a busy working environment and just general travel around it often leaves very little time to do things. Certainly one thing that has suffered this year is writing, I just can’t get through blocks in my head, more so for album reviews than anything else, but will continue to try and push ahead with what I have left to work on.

On the plus side, I’ve tried to organise myself better to fit around everything else in life and have managed to shoot a decent amount of shows thus far in 2018, and with some more on the horizon it’s great. That’s a positive, HRH Sleaze last weekend in Sheffield and confirmation for Rockinghamm which takes place in Nottingham next month are the two larger things on the Calendar, but hopefully a few smaller shows too. August has been a busy month  for shows and Sept will be the same. Recently got to shoot both the Bash For Philo and the wonderful Mike Brookfield (who was playing in Whelans on the same night)

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Mike Brookfield – Whelans – 18-08-2018
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Graham Bonnet Band – Bash For Philo – 18-08-2018

Was brilliant to get out the weekend before last and shoot the Unleashed Festival in Dublin, two night of heavy music, featuring some of Ireland’s best Thrash and heavier over two nights. So still need to get photos posted for that while working on the HRH Sleaze shots, add in a Review of Sleaze and a couple of Album reviews and that’s the next month done 😉

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Claire Percival – Dead Label – Unleashed Festival 2018

More positives in the fact that I have shot more shows this year than the last couple, and some of the stuff from HRH Sleaze is looking pretty good I think. Lots of interesting bands on show on both stages and some terrific performances, definitely a Festival to have a look at for 2019.

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Tom Wouda – Toxic Rose – HRH Sleaze II
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Tracii Guns of the wonderful LA Guns at HRH Sleaze II

Right lots more editing to get done later – looking forward to publishing the end results and hope some of you like them. The last few weeks have been a massive struggle and stress levels have been through the roof, so happy to get some other stuff done on the photography. Onwards and upwards as they say.

When you can only get to 1 Day of a 4 Day Festival………you should still go ;-)

 

With circumstances as they currently are this year there was no chance I’d be able to get to the whole Bloodstock Festival, which is a real shame as it’s a brilliant weekend and there were loads of bands that I was interested in each day, but such is life. However I did have the opportunity to take in one day, and the Friday was the one that worked out for me, and damn it’s not a bad way to spend a Friday night (thanks to the offer of a bed from a friend), headlined by Judas Priest and featuring Doro, Kamelot, Suicidal Tendencies, Wednesday 13, and Onslaught among many others. This one day trip to Catton Hall in Derby was going to be brilliant, an early start at 5:00am was going to mean looking after myself, but honestly the trip itself was always going to be really good for my own mental health

Wasn’t shooting or reviewing this year so I was determined to make the most of things and see as much as I possibly could, and to that end the final count was catching full or partial sets by 17 bands on the day, which is good going for an old man, I crashed a little towards the end as I’d forgotten to take a sit down at any stage.

 

Here are a bunch of compact snaps from the day, it was tiring but so much fun, but you should really check out the shots from the Official photographers and the other Pros that were there, some really amazing work, anyway here are my crude personal pics as a reminder of a wonderful day at one of the best Festivals anywhere \m/ \m/