1914 (Ghosts Of No Man’s Land)

An intriguing one for me next. Playing Hard Rock Hell’s second stage immediately after Faster Pussycat have finished is Lawless.

Intriguing as they’re from Stoke-on-Trent and I am yet to see them live. I’ve managed to miss them twice so far in the last 12 months or so and I literally found out 5 minutes ago that they supported Y&T in Buckley two days ago AND they arranged a bus to take locals there! D’Oh!

Formed in 2012 by two members of NWOBHM stalwarts Demon – another local band – they gave already released their sophomore record late last year.

If melodic hard rock with nods towards hair metal and the obvious NWOBHM is your thing then you’re not going to go wrong with Lawless.

This track is the opening number from the latest album R.I.S.E. and considering today is Armistice Day very appropriate.



I’ve often though what would have happened to Iron Maiden if they had carried on with Pail Di’Anno at the helm?

Undoubtedly the two biggest bands to emerge from the late 70’s / early 80’s New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene were Iron Maiden through sheer hard work, relentless touring month after month, and Def Leppard by virtue of breaking America so early in their career. Neither band have looked back.

Bands like Saxon, Venom and Motörhead have always been that step below.

Then there’s those who were around briefly, released some mighty fine tunes but drifted away into obscurity. Metallica have always acknowledged their NWOBHM influences. Just take a look at the track listing and bands featured on the Lars Ulrich compiled NWOBHM ’79 Revisited CD and see how many of those 24 bands Metallica have covered over the years.

Hard Rock Hell has always found slots for many of the reformed bands over the years and they have gone down really well as so many people never got the chance to see them three decades ago.

Over the years at their two events I’ve seen Angel Witch, Witchfynde, Gaskin, Jameson Raid, Vardis, Persian Risk, Avenger, Sweet Savage and Witchfinder General amongst others. I wonder if Iron Maiden might have been added to the list if they hadn’t gone stratospheric?

This years NWOBHM offerings are…

More formed in 1989 from London – who had a vocalist who was briefly in Iron Maiden! They were also the first band to tread the Monsters of Rock stage at Donington Park in 1981.

Trespass knocking around Suffolk in 1980.

And relative newcomers – forming in London in 1983 – Chariot.

Here’s a taste of one of those bands. Warriors from Chariot’s 1984 debut The Warrior.

Bathroom Wall

Back to North Wales for another band making an appearance at Hard Rock Hell.

Residing in Hollywood, California – come on where else are they going to be from? – I give you Faster Pussycat.

Named after a Russ Meyer exploitation film, Faster Pussycat formed in 1985 and had their feet firmly in the second wave of the Sunset Strip hair metal scene. Even though they never made it as big as some of their contemporaries, based on the first three albums alone they still have a place in people’s hearts and made an impact in their first 7 year run.

It’s been written time and time again in this blog and I’m sure it will be many more times to come, the band imploded and ending up splitting up, only to return in one guise or another. At one point there were two Faster Pussycat’s. A reunited version with original vocalist Taime Downe (tie me down) even went all industrial!

This set is going to be one that will be absolutely fantastic and talked about for weeks to follow – or a complete car crash to watch. Obviously I’m hoping for the first option as Wales could do with some LA sleaze!

Ain’t Got No

I’m trying to bring all things Hard Rock Hell a bit more up to date and modern, but listening to Brighton based band Black State Highway it sounds like they’ve ignored the last quarter of a century!

They’ve got that blues rock / southern rock vibe going on. Throwing in the melting pot a slice of Led Zeppelin, a chunk of Black Crowes, a dash of latter day AC/DC and at times a hint of heavy metal.

When they appeared early on the second stage at last years edition of Hard Rock Hell I think it was more of a case of there’s no one else to watch and “they have a girl singing”, but they blew everyone away with their eight song set. I’m sure vocalist Liva Steinberga said she was suffering from a cold, so seeing them firing at 100% should be fun – even if they are on at 23:45 on Friday night! Destined for big things in my view.

Ride Like The Wind

Here’s the first of a couple of posts today on Hard Rock Hell’s “must see bands” over the weekend.

Here for your aural entertainment is Barnsleys finest sons Saxon. Formed in 1976 during the early years of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene, Saxon have enjoyed moderate success in the intervening years.

Ride Like The Wind won’t be the first song you’ll associate with the band, for those of you who are aware of the band, but for me this song is my earliest memory of them.

Their video was receiving a lot of air play on Headbangers Ball and the Power Hour – oh those days of setting VHS video recorders to record music shows at stupid o’clock in the morning! And it is a very catchy tune.

It’s actually a cover of a song released in 1980 by Christopher Cross. However, in the UK the most successful version in relation to the charts was in 1991 by Italian dance act East Side Beat which reached number 3 in the charts (compared to 69 for the original)

I first saw them on a bank holiday Monday in 2001 at the first Bloodstock Festival, held indoors at the Assembly Rooms in Derby. Since then I have seen them nearly a dozen times, but most of those appearances have been at festivals. I find it quite bizarre as I don’t own any physical release by the band!

The Live Arena 3

Next week is a four day week at work then I “should” be off for 10 whole days, but things never seem to work out that way with the people I work for! Also, I hope I’m clear of this niggly cold and sore throat.

Thursday – Manchester Apollo.

Megadeth roll into town on their Dystopia tour. Quite a package has been put together for the UK leg. Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler will be pulling double duty and Children of Bodom from Finland and the UK’s own Sylosis will all be treading the boards.

Friday & Saturday – Haven Holiday Camp, Pwllheli.

Two long days of metal and free flowing alcohol is looming. Forty odd bands over three days, but I’m only there for two. From 80’s New Wave of British Heavy Metal to Los Angeles sleaze via German power metal and some of the UK’s best up and coming rock bands, there is quite a choice for your viewing pleasure.

I Want Out

Next weekend – Friday 13th to Saturday 14th – I’ll be attending Hard Rock Hell 9 held at the Haven holiday camp in Pwllheli, North Wales, the second of my biannual trips to the camp.

Hard Rock Hell is one of a number of events ran by Chic Events, most at this location, but more recently a few others venues. Our other visit is for Hard Rock United in March which now encompasses the heavy side with Hammerfest and their AOR event. They used to be on consecutive weekends, but now all joined together. The festivals are held at the holiday camp during the camp’s close season. A few thousand rockers who stay on site watching live music and drinking plenty of alcohol certainly makes someone some money when the place would usually be closed.

Over the next week I’ll be posting videos of some of the 45+ bands playing I’ll be attempting to see. As with any multi stage venue you’re not going to see everybody, but I’d hope for at least 7 a day!

First up Friday headliners, German power metalers Helloween.

I’ve been listening to this band since I got into heavy music. Their first few release were very thrash metal, but when the Keeper of the Seven Keys albums came out they lost some of their heaviness and became pioneers of the European power metal scene (power metal – somewhere between traditional heavy metal and thrash metal)

I lost touch with all things Helloween after they released the truly awful Pink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon albums and vocalist Michael Kiske (once rumoured to be Bruce Dickinson’s replacement when he left Iron Maiden) was fired. I’ve only seen the band live once at 2008’s Bloodstock festival, so it’s time to give them another go!!

I Want Out is taken from 1988’s opus Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt II – the band wanted to release both albums together as a double, but their label said no.