A birth and two deaths dominate this month’s news from the Northern Ireland scene – but, first, a word of warning to our brethren across on the mainland: stand by to be invaded.
A grand total of three NI acts are making the short journey across the Irish Sea to Wales over the weekend of 1st – 3rd December, to take part in the fifth annual Hard Rock Hell festival at Prestatyn. The charge is being led by guitarist Simon McBride, who opens for Girlschool and Tygers Of Pan Tang on the Thursday evening. He is followed on the Friday by Million Dollar Reload – who will be sandwiching the gig in between support slots with The Quireboys and The Darkness in their hometown of Belfast – and up-and-coming retro-rockers Sweet Taste, who won their slot at Hard Rock Hell via the recent ‘Highway To Hell’ competition in Glasgow.
Now to that birth: a new record company is being officially launched at the end of this month. Savour Your Scene has been set up by two members of the hardcore band Gacys Threads – drummer Stephen Currie and vocalist Aaron Vance. Not surprisingly, perhaps, one of the label’s first releases is their own group’s new EP, ‘The Ignorance Of Impurity’ which will be launched, alongside the label, on 26 November. This date also marks the launch of Savour Your Scene’s other debut offering, ‘Built On Respect’ from Savour Your Scene. The label also has signed Savour Your Scene, from Galway, and a UK distribution deal with CODE7. See www.savouryourscene.co.uk for more details.
Sadly, two of Norn Iron’s most respected bands – Interrogate and September Cross – have both decided to call it a day. Interrogate’s demise in particular took most people by surprise, as they had just released a highly acclaimed new EP ‘Silence The Fallen’ and returned from a US tour. Guitarist Mark Johnston and drummer Stephen Brown aren’t sitting around for long, however, as they currently are advertising for a new bassist and vocalist, with the indication that they are seeking to head in a much heavier direction than their former band. The future for the four members of September Cross seems less clear.
Good news, however, from young thrash quartet WarCrux, who have attracted attention from as far away as Los Angeles. During the recent Belfast Music Week – which was organized by Belfast City Council in the run-up to the MTV European Music Awards, which were held at the city’s Odyssey Arena on 6 November – the LA-based PR firm, Green Room ran a competition to find five bands to be featured on an EP entitled ‘EPic Belfast’, which will be digitally released worldwide next March. WarCrux were the only metal band to make it through: for the record, the other winners were Captain Kennedy, Cedric Has A Name, Havana House Party and The Red Velvetines.
There was also good news for another NI thrash outfit this past weekend: Alaskan Death Jacket have just signed to Rising Records. More information on this in the near future.
For those who like their metal very much in the classic, NWOBHM style, then you could do a lot worse than the newly-released third album from Stormzone: ‘Zero To Rage’ is already attracting rave reviews, and is available now on Steamhammer/SPV. Stormzone, incidentally, feature one Davy Bates on drums: he was the original drummer with Sweet Savage, with whom he recorded and released ‘Killing Time’ – which later was covered by Metallica and featured heavily in their early sets, eventually surfacing in recorded form as the B-side to the UK version of ‘The Unforgiven’ in 1991 (seen as somewhat of an irony by Sav’s fans, as the song itself was originally a B side, to ‘Take No Prisoners’).
That’s it for this instalment. Until next time – keep ‘er lit!