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CD round-up: Music I grabbed at Leyendas del Rock this summer!

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I’ve been meaning to do a short piece about this for ages, but time seemed to slip away, and the Leyendas festival is all but a distant memory. However, the three albums I bought while wandering the stalls on the perimeter are still all getting plenty of play here at Moore Music towers. I wanted to share them with you. Firstly, we have a lovingly packaged Sentenced album, in a nicely illustrated cardboard slipcase, containing not one but two of their albums on one CD. Hailing from Finland, theirs is a tale that ultimately ended in a tragedy. They began as a melodic death metal outfit, morphing more into heavy metal later on.  The band hold some interest for me for many reasons, one of which is the fact that I spent a month in their hometown of Oulu many years ago, while touring with a band up around the Arctic circle. The main album on here, ‘Amok’, recorded in ’95, is widely considered to be their breakthrough album, and it is paired here with ‘Love & Death’, which features songs recorded around the same time as Amok, and a curious cover of Billy Idol’s White Wedding’. Probably because the songs were all recorded around the same time, the two albums go well together here, and the band’s musicality is well to the fore – it’s a great listen.

The band finally split in 2005 and a mere four years later, Guitarist and founding member Miika Tenkula died, on February 19, 2009. He apparently had succumbed to a genetic heart condition. As a footnote, some months after Miika’s death, Sentenced released a box set of 16 CDs and 2 DVDs chronicling their entire career in a coffin-shaped box. The box-set also included rare and previously unreleased tracks.

Mystic Prophecy (Deu) - Savage Souls

Next on the list was Savage Souls from German band Mystic Prophecy. This version came as a ‘book’ CD – the album being in the front, and a bonus DVD in the back, featuring a live appearance at The Matrix in Bochum. The DVD’s a nice bonus, but it’s the studio album that really shines. formed in Bad Gronenbach in 2000, this release dates from 2006. they seem to have a lot of personnel changes, but the vocals and guitar work on this album are great. They’re like a cross between U.S. and European power metal. A nice surprise, this.

ACCEPT

Finally, I had to invest in Accept’s latest release ‘Stalingrad’ after they delivered a blistering set at Leyendas. I really like Marc Tornillo’s vocals , shades of Brian Johnson- and a great fit for the band. Produced by Andy Sneap, Stalingrad is an album that shows a band still at the top of their game. There’s so many standout tracks on here. Not only that, i picked up the special edition, which includes a live DVD featuring performances from Bang your Head and Monsters of rock festivals in 2011 and 2010 respectively , and the music videos for ‘Teutonic Terror’ (one of my favourite Accept tracks) and the (dare I say, infectious?) ‘Pandemic’.

So, three beauties, and a great festival to boot!

Kev Moore

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November 14, 2013 Posted by | Metal, Music, Recording, Rock, Thoughts, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Intensity in Tent City – Leyendas del Rock 2013

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Last week, my partner Miki and I decided to sample some metal on ‘the other side of the curtain’, by attending the Leyendas del Rock festival in Villena, Spain, as concert-goers rather than as an appearing artist. Some Metal colleagues from Holland, the band PICTURE, were going to be on, ( we are appearing at the Very ‘Eavy Festival in Holland with them in 2014) – and that also gave us a chance to meet up with a mutual friend, Mark Oosterwijk, who had travelled from Holland with the band.

Chatting with Mark before Picture take the stage

Chatting with Mark before Picture take the stage

We arrived ahead of the crowd on the Wednesday night, in The Boomobile , our live-in music & art studio on wheels, and parked up in the middle of the campsite. By the morning, the gathering of metalheads had begun, and we were quickly surrounded by tents, vans, campers, and amazingly creative structures made from tarpaulines!  It was hot and dry, and when the wind was up, I was reminded of Joe Bonamassa’s “Dust Bowl”!

The organization of the whole festival, right down to the logistics of parking, stewarding, amenities and policing was superb. This is an event in it’s eighth year, and it seems to be one welcomed by the town of Villena with good grace, and runs very smoothly.

I managed to catch a few of the Spanish metal bands, some of whom were very good. LEO JIMENEZ were good, and DARKSUN in particular stood out, – I would have missed them if NASHVILLE PUSSY had arrived on time, as Darksun’s spot was brought forward and onto the main stage! DORO came out all guns blazing and seems to be cultivating an amazing young fanbase, there were some real young kids down the front giving it the ‘horns up’!

DORODORO

I was particularly looking forward to TESTAMENT and VENOM, who were headlining the Friday night, and they didn’t disappoint. Testament really gave the crowd a good pounding, and Cronos and his band have aged well, the years adding a gravitas and an ability the early Venom lacked.

cronosCronos of VENOM

PICTURE took the stage early on the Saturday evening, delivering songs from their latest album Warhorse and songs stretching back over their 30 year career, including songs from Eternal Dark, which I particularly liked. It was good to see Mark headbanging to his favourite Dutch countrymen!

Picture of...PICTURE!

Picture of…PICTURE!

The band of the festival for me were ACCEPT. They were simply in a different league to everybody else, in stagecraft, sound and musicianship. “New guy” (relatively speaking) Mark Tornillo looked entirely at home in Udo’s shoes fronting the German metallists, and has something of Brian Johnson about him. The material drawn from their last two albums is very strong indeed. Songs like Teutonic Terror (my personal favourite) Pandemic, Hung, Drawn and Quartered and Stalingrad just grabbed you by the throat, and old favourite Balls to the Wall can’t fail! It seems their resurgence continues apace, there is fire in their bellies and the fun they’re having on stage is clearly apparent, and infectious.

ACCEPT

The whole vibe of Leyendas del Rock was cool, it was fun to hang in Villena for these few days and get some Metal in! Let’s hope the festival runs for at least another eight years!

Kev Moore

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Metal, Music, Rock, Touring, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Tale of Two Festivals – Part One: Sun Valley Metalfest, Gallio, Italy

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Apologies for the delay in my travelogue…I meant to write about this ages ago, but…..I’ve been, uh, travelling! A few weeks back WITCH CROSS converged on the picturesque area of Altopiano in Northern Italy to headline the Friday night at the Sun Valley Metalfest. We came from all directions, two from Denmark, one from Sweden, and one from London. As for me, I flew from Spain on the Thursday morning and consequently enjoyed a wonderful day exploring the beautiful old town of Bergamo.

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The Old City looms over the New…

The Funicular: Although the track was steep, the fare wasn't...

The Funicular: Although the track was steep, the fare wasn’t…

The Citta Vecchia  sits perched atop a hill overlooking the newer part of town, and can be accessed by a vertiginous funicular railway, which is fun. Once you emerge into the old stone streets and passageways, you are transported into another world, albeit peppered with fabulous cafes and pizza restaurants. Needless to say, I indulged in these culinary delights..well, “when in Rome..” or in this case, “when in Bergamo!”.

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The answer to pretty much everything in Italy is likely to be Pizza...

The answer to pretty much everything in Italy is likely to be Pizza…

The chocolate bread was particularly delightful. Stunning architecture and brightly coloured shop fronts made for a brilliant afternoon, which I topped with a coffee looking out over the city in the terrace bar above the funicular station.

My guest for afternoon coffee...

My guest for afternoon coffee…

The next day I linked up with the rest of the guys and our Italian driver Alex, who drove them from Milan airport.

The Pizzeria is THIS way! Driver Alex gets directions from a clearly patriotic Italian lady!

The Pizzeria is THIS way! Driver Alex gets directions from a clearly patriotic Italian lady!

Once reunited in Bergamo on the Friday, we set about finding somewhere for lunch, being directed to a great Restaurant and Pizzeria, before the three hour drive that followed, gradually going higher and higher into the mountains, the views spectacular, and snow -covered peaks abounding, heading for Gallio. Omar Pedrotti and all the guys at the festival were great. They love their metal and put this festival on with friendliness and enthusiasm.

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How the Danes managed to rape and pillage anything is beyond me....Paul, Lars & Jan giving it their best Three Stooges impression!

How the Danes managed to rape and pillage anything is beyond me….Paul, Lars & Jan giving it their best Three Stooges impression!

As the sun went down, we ate yet more Pizza – Italy does that to you…went back to the hotel in the village to relax a little before the show. We were onstage around 1 am, and the temperature had plummeted! Even though it was mid-June, I don’t think I’ve ever been so cold onstage! for once I was glad I wasn’t having to play bass as well as sing, I have no idea how Jan, Mike and Paul could feel their fingers! Nevertheless, we delivered a powerful set of WITCH CROSS songs old and new and disappeared into the night.

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"Can the Can" - Lars overdoes it...

“Can the Can” – Lars overdoes it…

A big thanks to Elisa Catozzi and Sandro Chiozzi for their superb photos of the gig. The next day, the guys dropped me off in Bergamo on their way to Milan where I chilled out for a while before flying back to Spain. I’d only been home for a day when my partner Miki and I headed North from the coast of Almeria to the town of Cazorla for their Blues Festival – enjoying it this time from the audience perspective! More of that in Part Two!

The new Witch Cross album, ‘AXE TO GRIND’ is out now on Hells Headbangers, available as CD, LP in blue or black vinyl,or on iTunes. Click on the image below to visit the shop.

Witch Cross - axe to grind

Kev Moore

July 19, 2013 Posted by | Metal, Music, Rock, Thoughts, Touring, Witch Cross, Writing | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Witch Cross in Conversation

Myself and Guitarist Mike Koch talk about the band reforming, touring, and the new album ‘Axe to Grind’ – out now on Hells Headbangers Records as  a CD, on itunes or as a 12″ LP in a choice of blue or black vinyl. Just click on the album image below the video to visit Hell’s Headbangers’ shop.

Witch Cross - axe to grind

Kev Moore

July 18, 2013 Posted by | Metal, Music, Recording, Rock, Video, Witch Cross | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Axe to Grind from Witch Cross – now streaming live for a limited time!!

Today, reunited Danish heavy metal cult WITCH CROSS stream the entirety of their comeback album, Axe to Grind, at tastemaking web-portal InvisibleOranges.com. Released this week by HELLS HEADBANGERS on both CD and LP formats, WITCH CROSS’ Axe to Grind is the band’s first full-length of all-new material since 1984’s heavy metal classic Fit for Fight, reissued to widespread acclaim last year by HELLS HEADBANGERS. Picking up where they left off in the glorious ’80s, WITCH CROSS nevertheless inject their trademark power & glory with a newfound urgency and grit that never betrays their roots in the ancient ways of heavy metal mayhem. Neither “old school” nor “new school,” WITCH CROSS prove that the masters are back – and school’s in session! Hear the proof for yourself, as the entire album is streamed for a limited time courtesy of InvisibleOranges.com: http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2013/07/album-stream-witch-cross-axe-to-grind/
 
<br />Witch Cross - Axe to Grind 
Tracklisting for WITCH CROSS’ Axe to Grind
1. March of the Vikings
2. Demon in the Mirror
3. Ride With the Wind
4. Metal Nation
5. Awakening-Pandoras Box
6. Axe to Grind
7. Bird of Prey
8. Lost Without Warning
9. Parl of the Machine
10. Chelsea 100
11. Beyond the Veil
 
Says guitarist Mike Kock, “WITCH CROSS are thrilled to be working with HELLS HEADBANGERS on the new album Axe to Grind. We were blown away with the work that HELLS HEADBANGERS did with the re-release of Fit for Fight and the boxsets etc. We couldn’t ask for a better and more supportive label!
 
In preparation for this monumental comeback album, WITCH CROSS unleashed a flurry of teasers for Axe to Grind. The first video from the album, “Demon in the Mirror,” can be viewed in its entirety here: http://youtu.be/66eycbDlm-Y. Additionally, a teaser link for the album can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu_MX6z7wtI, and the full track for “Demon in the Mirror” be heard here: http://hellsheadbangers.bandcamp.com/album/axe-to-grind.
 
WITCH CROSS will be playing shows all across Europe this summer in promotion of Axe to Grind. For more info, consult the official WITCH CROSS website at www.witchcross.dk.
 
“When you need metal, go to hell!”

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Metal, Music, Recording, Rock, Witch Cross | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

WITCH CROSS – AXE TO GRIND RELEASED WORLDWIDE TODAY!

AXERELEASE

It’s been a long time coming….but the day has finally arrived! “Axe to Grind”, only the second full-length album by WITCH CROSS is on the streets today via Hells Headbangers on CD and a choice of blue or black vinyl LP or digital download.  Click on the links below to order and get your Metal fix!

AXE TO GRIND LP

AXE TO GRIND CD

AXE TO GRIND iTunes

Kev Moore

July 9, 2013 Posted by | Metal, Music, Recording, Rock, Witch Cross, Writing | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Italy bound with Witch Cross

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Just a couple of weeks to catch our breath this month, and then its all systems go for WITCH CROSS again as we converge from Spain, England, Denmark and Sweden on Gallio in Northern Italy to appear at the Sun Valley Metal Fest! We’re really looking forward to this one. We’ll have exclusive copies of the new album ‘Axe to Grind’ on sale, a full ten days ahead of its worldwide official release date, and we’re going to be performing tracks from both that and the classic ‘Fit for Fight’ album for our Italian fans.

Witch Cross Backstage 2012 (93)

We’re really pumped with the reviews we’ve been getting for the new album. We put a lot of hard work into it, and it’s nice to see it being received so well, but the acid test is not what it means to the critics – it’s what it means to the fans…we hope you like it, and that it rocks your world!

Kev Moore

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Metal, Music, Recording, Rock, Thoughts, Touring, Witch Cross, Writing | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Witch Cross in Scandinavia – Part Two: At Muskelrock, Sweden

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MR1Photo: Niklas Gustavsson

Straight after the show in Hillerød, Denmark, we raced to catch the ferry that would take us across the water to Helsingborg in Sweden, where we would sleep at Paul’s house before driving to Muskelrock the following day. We awoke to summer sunshine, much to my joy and amazement, and began cataloging and organizing our merch for the show. Merch plays a massive role in a band such as ours.

Lars proudly holding the new album!

Lars proudly holding the new album!

Paul 'models' our limited edition giant WITCH CROSS patch!

Paul ‘models’ our limited edition giant WITCH CROSS patch!

It’s a vital source of immediate income, necessary to keep the band on the road. With albums being pirated so freely on the net now, it’s even more important to bands as their recorded earnings dwindle.Speaking of albums, we’d received our first shipment of the new CD ‘Axe to Grind’ from our record company Hells Headbangers the day before, so we were stoked to be able to have it available to the fans a full month before its official release!

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The journey to the festival site took just under three hours, and during that time the weather changed from good to bad, and back again…

As we pulled off the main road into Tyrolen, threading our way between the tent town that had sprung up around it, the grey clouds threatened. Tyrolen, used to be some random Tyrolean-themed Entertainment park, situated near the Swedish village of Alvesta, west of the town of Vaxjo,and the guys that run Muskelrock bought the land, everything in it, and turned it into a successful and fun festival, now in its fifth year. The slightly shabby buildings and faded murals of its former glory provide the perfect backdrop to a Metal Festival.

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The rain teased….depositing a light shower every now and then, but never making good on its threat of a full-on downpour, much to the delight of the festival-goers!  There was a superb array of bands on over the weekend. Two in particular stood out to me, but for entirely different reasons! Firstly, Barbarion, who seemed to hail from Australia, though I couldn’t be sure….they took to the stage like a herd of medieval superheroes…not the most svelte of bands, it bothered them not one bit, as we were treated to a magnificent stagewear display of studded leather braces, codpieces, togas, loin cloths, Centurion Helmets, Sporrans and Kilts. By the time they had the crowd singing “chop, chop, chop” and lamenting the demise of “Mildred, my favourite wife” I was pretty sure they weren’t taking themselves too seriously. Suffice to say, my jaw was on the floor for most of their set.

Barbarion: Better wrap up warm, lads!

Barbarion: Better wrap up warm, lads!

Secondly, there was Death Hawks. Hailing from Finland, these guys really surprised me. Guitarist Mike Koch and I had retired to the indoor venue for a drink and a bite to eat as these guys took the stage. What followed was some truly original music…superb grooves, almost ambient metal infused with the blues, just an absolute pleasure to let wash over you. I enjoyed these guys very much indeed.

Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 22.10.39Photo: Sofia Jonsson/Festivalphoto.net

Jan, myself and Paul relaxing post-gig

Jan, myself and Paul relaxing post-gig

Photo: Jonas Eklind

When we took the stage early on the Saturday Evening, the welcome from the crowd was overwhelming. I often write about how metal fans are the best in the world, but it bears repeating. I personally felt such a vibe off the crowd that night. They sang every word on the sings they knew, and cheered the ones they didn’t…”Demon in the Mirror” as a result of the promo video finding more and more favour with them as they become familiar with it. I was pretty spent after our exertions in Hillerød the night before, but fans like these lift you up. There is no alternative. Half-measures is not an option. You give them everything because they inspire you to, and they deserve nothing less.  Muskelrock, quite simply, Rocked!

Those amazing metal fans...

Those amazing metal fans…

Photo: Niklas Gustavsson

Kev Moore

June 10, 2013 Posted by | Metal, Music, Rock, Thoughts, Touring, Witch Cross, Writing | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Witch Cross in Scandinavia – Part One: Witch Cross come home

“All dressed up, we’re gonna steal the show…..”

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Our first gig to promote the impending release of the new album ‘Axe to Grind’ was a special one for the guys. Witch Cross were formed in the Danish town of Hillerød, in the North of the island of Sjaelland  back at the outset of the 80’s. Now, the band was returning to its hometown for a show at the Stoberihallen concert hall. I felt a weight of responsibility on my shoulders – the only non-Dane, the ‘new boy’, re-interpreting songs laid down so impressively decades before original singer Alex Savage for an audience of friends, long-time supporters and family, not to mention original guitarist Ole ‘Cole’ Hamilton.  But….. I like a bit of pressure. It sharpens the mind, focuses the senses, and if harnessed correctly, feeds the fire on stage.

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The day before we’d ran the set exhaustively and felt ready. The hard work paid off, and the guys delivered a blistering, celebratory set on that Friday night, featuring songs old and new. We were also fortunate to have a guest appearance from A.C., the drummer from the ‘Fit for Fight’ album,  and we stormed through classics such as ‘Fight the fire’, and ‘Nightflight to Tokyo’, side by side with our new compositions, including ‘Bird of Prey’, ‘Metal Nation’, and ‘Ride with the Wind’. They slotted in seamlessly, they belonged in the set. We left the stage, the applause ringing in our ears, soaked with the sweat of our labours. Spent, exhausted, but sated. We’d come here to revisit an era when metal mattered, and we’d served the reminder. I felt elated and proud to be fronting this rebirth, for make no mistake, that’s what it is. Witch Cross is rising again.

Screen shot 2013-06-03 at 21.07.02Photos: Jesper Callesen, john-son

Kev Moore

June 8, 2013 Posted by | Metal, Music, Recording, Thoughts, Touring, Witch Cross, Writing | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Michael Schenker – Twice!

schenk

After catching German axemeister Michael Schenker live during our trip to Dublin, Miki and I decided to do another collaborative work based on him. I’ve followed his career for many years, starting with the UFO album “Force It” when I became instantly hooked on the melodic rock tones issuing from his trademark Flying ‘V’. As with my artwork of Phil Lynott, I once more continued on with the rough version I presented Miki with and created another stand alone piece myself. So here they both are for your delight! As you can see we’ve once again opted for different backgrounds: Our collaborative one recalls the venue where we saw him and his backdrop, and mine is a surreal nod to his time with the legendary German band The Scorpions..

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You can buy prints and greeting cards featuring both of these artworks by clicking on the widgets below:

Photography Prints
Photography Prints

Kev Moore

May 26, 2013 Posted by | Artwork, Metal, Music, Rock | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment