Australian Punk band Cousin Betty return with an explosive new single "Taxes and Death" on January 10th, taken from their upcoming debut LP, The band have been riding high with the releases of their two EP'S, Left and Overs.'TAXES & DEATH' is based on President Benjamin Franklin's famous quote and sees the band venting their frustrations at selfish record labels.

Cousin Betty was formed by renowned guitarist and songwriter, Damien Stofka who has created riffs and written songs for Molten Universe, Death Mattel, LITTER and various other projects for the last 15 years. Stofka formed the band after seeking inspiration from The  Desert Sessions. The guitarist seemed disillusioned with being part of a standard band, he decided to spend his downtime compiling albums worth of material with contributing artists and performers he liked.

'Taxes and Death' is a rousing track, clocking in after one and a half minutes. The guitar-driven song is punchy and aggressive. The band shout over sharp riffs and pummeling drums. This feels like a punk anthem for the reality we find ourselves in.

Words by Anselm Anderson

 'Taxes and Death' WILL BE AVAILABLE on January 10th, click here to pre-order the track.https://linktr.ee/cousinbetty

Click here to read about the band's other songs.

SONG OF THE DAY Cousin Betty - Drone | Rambling Man's Reviews (anselmanderson.blogspot.com)

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Rising female-fronted Rock act Smoking Martha has released their sophomore effort, Universe, a follow up to 2017's widely received debut 'In Deep'. The album features the band's diverse sound, combining pop vocal choruses with blistering riffs and infectious hooks over 12 tracks.

Smoking Martha, fronted by the charismatic charms of Natasha Doherty, hail from Brisbane, Australia. The quartet has steadily forged a strong cult following with notable support slots with some of rock's recognisable acts, such as Thunder, Uriah Heep and Saliva. The band have also made regular appearances at local festivals in their native Australia, including an appearance at Hard Rock Hell in 2018 in England. The LP was produced by Matt Bartlem and Luke Palmer (Dead Letter Circus), recorded at Studio Circus in Queensland, Australia.

The LP starts with the thunderous drum intro of "Good Girls". Doherty's distinctive rich vocals sound similar to No Doubt's Gwen Stafani with added zest. Next up is the mesmerising tones of "Only Love ". The clean guitar breaks blend with strong drumming to produce a real rocker to kick this album into touch.

The album can, at times, feel disconnected between the vocals and the music. Nonetheless, the band show mature songwriting skills to produce a diverse album to include blues, soft rock,and hard rock.
Lead single 'Liquid Sunshine'  shows they can also do ballads, too. The song's heartwarming melodies combine with sweet vocals and hazy riffs to create a nice track

It is at this part of the LP that feels like it has been split into two EP'S, The first sounding like a real rock album, the second part of the LP feels more experimental with more variation in the band's musical abilities. The bluesy "Intermission" is a surprising addition here. Other highlights include the sonic guitar sounds of the radio-friendly "Ghost" and the vibrant "It's A Lie", complete with dirty riffs. The funky "Wild and Free" sounds like something from the seventies classic rock book with Doherty crooning over pounding drums and a dynamic rock sound. The title track "Universe" wraps things up with this ballad that sounds like a farewell to this satisfying release.

Overall, Smoking Martha come out firing on all cylinders with another sterling effort released from Xelon Entertainment. The band show promise in their attempts to create something fresh for an avid rock fan.

Words by Anselm Anderson

'Universe' album tracklist:

1. Good Girls
2. Only Love
3. I Tried
4. Wonderful Happiness
5. Liquid Sunshine
6. Intermission
7. Neon Lights
8. Ghost
9. It's A Lie
10. Wild And Free
11. In The Shadows
12. Universe

Smoking Martha is:

Tasha D – Vocals

Mick Broome – Guitar

Matty Mulheran – Bass

Jordy Poynter – Drums


Official Website – https://www.smokingmartha.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/smokingmartha @smokingmartha
Twitter – https://twitter.com/smokingmartha @smokingmartha
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/smokingmartha @smokingmartha
You Tube – https://www.youtube.com/user/smokingmartha



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Stockholm based alt-rockers AD MELIORA returns with the premiere of the video to the new single "No Yellow Bricks."

It is the first track since this year's debut EP The Void, The Time, The Path. 'No Yellow Bricks' is a melodic rock song about struggling to overcome doubt and depression to achieve one's personal goals. The quartet consists of experienced musicians from Spain, Italy and The Canary Islands. Ad Meliora combines alternative rock with math-rock elements and melodious passages.

The song opens with an alternate finger-picking guitar style that erupts explosively into a distorted riff. This repetition of the riff builds throughout the first verse, slowing towards the bridge. The tempo slows in between verses, as lead vocalist Paolo sings in a reflective tone. The passages are intricate and mellow, as the tempo builds to a climax. The song finishes with a return to the heavy riff that greeted the start of the track, which identifies vocalist Paolo Alabau screaming out all his frustrations. Drummer Ioan Ebbasta maintains a rhythmic drumming style. Guitarist Sergio Ortiz and bassist Abby Suarez build up some unusual arrangements that support the vocalist to sing openly.

Words by Anselm Anderson

Click here to read all about the debut EP from Ad Meliora










Horror rock quartet EB &THE DEADLIGHTS unleash hell on their much-anticipated debut EP Still See Ghosts. The ghoulish Irishmen hail from Belfast, Northern Ireland, consisting of lead vocalist Ethan Beattie, rhythm guitarist Matt McCabe, drummer Alex Williams and keyboardist/lead guitarist Andy McCarney.

The band's mix of punk, razor-sharp riffs and contagious choruses all stems from their influences, including Murderdolls, Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper. The album is five tracks long, clocking in at roughly under 20 minutes. The EP begins with the abrasive "Nightmare Of Reality", a raging two-minute blast of harsh aggressive vocals, frenetic guitars, and enough rawness to start things off.

Next up is "Heathen of The Mind", a full-throttle blast of raw anger and angst. The song's groovy riffs, pummeling drums, and a cross between feral screams and clean vocals make this the standout track on the EP. The Deadlights play music on their sleeves with an experimental look through their inner selves to find the right music to suit them. The album can at times sound a lot like their influences. However, they have enough ideas and talent to forge their own sound going forward, This writer personally feels the music sounds better when Beattie uses clean vocals as it catches his true voice.

"Devil Between Me and You" is an example of a track that does just that. This is more of a blues-orientated song. The acoustic guitar intro is dark and atmospheric, and Beattie does his best Billy Idol impression in time with the rhythmic drumming patterns. The song concludes with a scintillating solo that is short and effective.

Next up is the sinister tones of "Empty Frames" which sounds similar to "Beautiful People" by Marilyn Manson. The cutthroat riffs resonate within the ear, along with an eerie keyboard sound, menacing vocals and another solo to add to the band's impressive arsenal for killer riffs.

And finally, the title track "Still See Ghosts" is a sombre farewell steeped in melancholy and pain.

Overall, EB & The Delights may be seeing more than ghosts after this pleasing debut. The band's got an interesting concept they need to stick with

Words by Anselm Anderson





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Australian Multi-Instrumentalist Aquilus AKA Mr Horace Rosenqvist returns with the first of a two-part opus entitled Bellum-I via Blood Music Records. The 62-minute eight-track release is heavily influenced by dark, atmospheric metal, European folk and classical music.

It is rare to feature such a record on the Rambling Man's pages, but this album has an overall sense of something epic emerging here. The musician hails from Melbourne, Australia and features several musicians on this album. 'Bellum- I' opts to feature some traditional instruments such as acoustic guitars. piano, violins, mandolas, balalaika, mandolins, banjos, gusli, bow psaltery, and fipple flutes.

Aquilas first came to prominence ten years ago with his debut album, 'Griseus'. which was preceded by a series of demos released in the 2000s. 'Bellum-I 'brings together eight tracks of melodious symphonies, harrowing vocals and an ethereal adventure all to your stereos.

The sombre tinkles of the piano-laden "The Night Winds of Avila" sets the scene for what feels like a gothic horror movie. "Into Wooded Hollows" sums up that previous assessment with a riveting six minutes of a macabre journey through deathly growls, tender pianos and bone-chilling string arrangements that would please horror novelist  Clive Barker.

Bellum-I seems a statement of intent from the one-man band to bring something unique to the mainstream. Each track feels like a soundtrack to some epic waiting to be discovered in the cold arms of winter.

The 13-minute " Eternal Unrest" is the longest on the album. This feels like an interlude with each augmentation of dissonant chords growing in sound. The song feels like it is broken into four parts with some nice melodic piano leads followed by death growls and jagged symphonies sounding like a battle between good and evil.

"The Silent Passing" is anything but with a more heavy metal edge.  The resonant cries of loud and catatonic vocals regurgitate over menacing guitar riffs. The album closes with two nine-minute tracks "Lucifer's Gate" and "Empyreal Nightsky" which sound like they could be two cinematic masterpieces that offer a series of emotions. Aquilus encaptures sadness, pain and brevity through a remarkable choice of instrumentation and symphonies.

Overall, 'Bellum-I' may very well alter your perceptions of classical music and dark metal because Aquilus has created a sound that makes them both work.

Words by Anselm Anderson



The Night Winds of Avila

Into Wooded Hollows

Eternal Unrest

Moon Isabelline

The Silent Passing

Embered Waters

Lucille’s Gate

Empyreal Nightsky

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A close up of a logo

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Bath-based Independent Record Label Pale Wizard Records present a tribute to Alice Cooper's 1971 album 'Killer'. The shock rocker's fourth studio album proved to be an influential one on many successors because it proved to be a turning point for the band. 'Killer' was a statement of intent to the critics hung up on the band's theatrics and make-up.

The English based record label was formed in 2007 by friends Tim Hilleard and Dan Flitcroft. The duo picked eight of their best acts to sing on the album, including a cameo by Dan Flitcroft's Sergeant Thunderhoof. They wanted to pay a special tribute to their favourite artist, so they thought it would be a good opportunity with 'Killer'. The album was originally released on November 27th,1971.

Killer: 50 years later... features some upcoming acts from the world of hard rock, psychedelia, and the stoner underground putting their own spin on this legendary album.

London's Psychedelic Green Lung kicks off with a camp rendition of "Under My Wheels". The act put a glam rock touch on the track with searing keys and a sizzling solo. This cover feels more like a celebration of the star. Next up is Oxford's desert rockers' The Grand Mal, who add their own charisma and charm to "Be My Lover" Dan Flitcroft's Sergeant Thunderhoof do a sterling job making "Halo Of Flies" darker and more psychedelic than the original.

The album is a fun concept with many of England's lesser-known acts grabbing an opportunity to showcase their abilities on such a huge album. However, there are times on here when the tracks don't click. The down-tuned riffs of 1968 are an exception on "You Drive Me
Nervous" sounds more menacing than Cooper's version. This is where the album makes the concept
work with tracks like Ritual King's "Desperado" and Mos Generator's "Dead Babies" sending shivers down this writer's spine.

The album finishes with the quirkiness of Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell singing on the title track "Killer" There are four bonus tracks for the CD and Digital formats. The Female-fronted hard rock act Alunah adds grit to "I'm Eighteen" with sultry vocals and mesmerising guitar work. Suns Of Thunder's highly-charged rendition of "Billion Dollar Babies" Possessor's heavy,groove-orientated "Muscle Of Love" and finally the macabre screams of "Sick Things" from Sound Of Origin.

Overall, Pale Wizard Records deliver a pleasing trip down memory lane with some talented acts on hand to help.

Words by Anselm Anderson

Pale Wizard Social Media



Song of The Day: The Justin Kemp Band - 'Borrow A Kiss'

Country artists The Justin Kemp Band return with a track for all those lonely men and women striving to find that special someone. 'Borrow A Kiss' is a traditional country track with an atypically touching subject in the form of love.

The legendary Larry Baird helped produce the track in Nashville, Tennesee. 'Borrow A Kiss' starts with a pleasant fiddle playing in the background, accompanied by the steady strums of the steel-string acoustic guitar. Kemp bursts into song in an affable and warm fashion, which makes this track even more relatable to the topic. The tempo builds in the bridge to a melodic and pleasing chorus that results in a satisfying climax.

New Mexico-born Kemp was brought up along the Texas border. Growing up in a musical family, he began to pick up the guitar at the age of eleven years old. He began songwriting in High School and pursued music at South Plains College in Levelland, Tx. Kemp has received much support in his career from his father David, who also plays bass in the band. Justin co-writes many of the original songs from the band, including recent releases  'Better Man', 'Heart’s Desire' and' Legends Never Die'. Justin and the band tour nationally and he also performs as a trio with David and their fiddle player Megan Poppe. They have opened for many major acts including Joe Nichols, Chase Rice, Dylan Scott, Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, Josh Abbott Band, Kevin Fowler, and Wade Bowen to name a few.

They recently played with Confederate Railroad, Neil McCoy, Wade Bowen and this month Aaron Watson and LoCash.

Words by Anselm Anderson










Multi-instrumental songwriter Hani Abadi has now released his latest single  "Distance." from his upcoming solo project album that is coming in Spring 2022. Abadi is an original member of the Jordanian metal group, formed in 2001.
He was born in the former Yugoslavia and raised in Jordan in the Middle East. His band have toured Europe and his home continent, as well as received wide coverage in Terrorizer and Decibel Magazines.

'Distance' is a melodic track that evokes images of the grim realities of our planet. Abadi croons over simply strummed chords and a rhythm section that sounds intimate and personal to the listener. The beautifully arranged flamenco influenced outro is evocative of the message behind the track.

The song was recorded in the North Bay of California – USA and mixed and mastered by Tom MacLean in his studio twelve-tone in the UK. Tom Commented on the song: "If Pete Steele had been the frontman of Opeth
on Still Life." 

Hani further  Commented on the single release:
"This project has been on my mind for
many years, and at last, it came to fruition. With "Distance," I've tried
to capture our current grim reality, and I hope listeners will relate to
the song in their own way as we all experience the same event in different
ways on a global scale. It was a pleasure working with Tom as he was able
to capture the soul of this project. "

The song is currently available on all digital outlets such as Bandcamp,
Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify.

Words transcribed by Anselm Anderson


This week The Rambling Man grabbed an opportunity to speak with Firewind Guitarist Gus G about his fourth solo album Quantum Leap, released last month via AFM Records. 

The release is a follow up to 2018's Fearless record and is the guitarist's first instrumental solo album. I spoke to the guitarist about the album, his history performing with acts like Arch Enemy and Ozzy Osbourne, and how the pandemic shaped this impromptu album. Scroll down to read the full interview below.

I am here today to talk about your latest album ' Quantum Leap', which came out last month. What can you tell me about it, and what has been the reception to it so far?

Yeah, um. Well, this is my fourth solo album overall, and my first all-instrumental album for the first time, so it was quite the task for me personally. It was like, um, overcoming a lot of insecurities that I had about doing this all-instrumental project I kinda' thought about for years. And, um, yeah, it was written during the first lockdown, mostly. The reception has been good, actually. I didn't expect anything really going into this project. I know it is like a much smaller corner if you like. You know, the overall business of whoever is listening to this kinda' thing. But, yeah, I was pleasantly surprised. The album had charted in the States, and, yeah, it was great!

That is great. With music these days being heavily focused on vocals. It is impressive to release an all-instrumental album. How significant is it currently to release an instrumental album?

Um, I think right now we are living in a time that there aren't really any taboos in the market, at least. Ten to fifteen years ago if I went to a record label and said that I want to do this they wouldn't even look at me, or sign me to this. They wouldn't even pay me in advance to record because they would be like "Nobody cares about that", Um, nowadays! it's a different thing because I feel there is a place for everybody. You can play whatever you want, whatever you put out. whatever music you want. And, um. There is an audience for that. It seems to be like that because of the demise of the physical product. Because, you know, with print, media, friends. All those things. Everybody is turning online, scouting for these things. You know, things like that.

 We are relying on things like algorithms. It's kinda crazy, right! To talk about these things. A lot of people discover music that way and there are fans of everything out there, man. so, ya, know, but like I said, I wasn't looking for this to be commercial to be accepted, and things like that. I am just happy that my fan base supported me and they, um, love this record. So, at the end of the day, it all comes down to that, who is your supporters, and will they support you, even if you experiment a little bit, which I did here. Yeah, but luckily everybody responded positively".

You started Firewind in 1998, and you have performed with many acts like Arch Enemy, Mystic Prophecy, Nightrage, Dream Evil and England's very own Ozzy Osbourne. How much of that experience do you feel has helped you throughout your career, and improved you as a musician?"

 It has helped me loads. It's done amazing things for my career, just, you know, collaborating with other bands, being a member of other bands. Learning so much from other people, you know, bands that it didn't matter if I was a founding member or a hired gun playing a smaller project or a bigger project. Obviously, bands that I have played with gave me other things to bring to the table. Um, but yeah! All these things shaped up who I am today. You know, all those collaborations, all those participations, projects and bands. So, they have been very important.

I say you have been lucky. You have had a very storied career...

Well, yeah! It takes luck. It is about being in the right place at the right time and everything. Meeting the right people in your path, but also, I believe its opportunity meets preparation. You have to be the right guy for the gig. so, ya know. Believe me, I have had other opportunities that I felt I was not the right guy. I just didn't do it. I could've been with other bands as well. Big bands! hahaha.

What is the difference in your mind to preparing material in a band in contrast to writing and preparing material for a solo album?

'Umm... Usually, the way I look at the solo project is like the project I will put ideas that will probably not be used in Firewind. Whatever has a little bit more difference, whether it is metal or rock, it doesn't matter. Whenever I have something that feels like, 'Yeah, that doesn't suit Firewind's style' and I can't hear the vocals over it I will leave it on the side for a solo project. You know, with that said, there have been quite a few times I have written things and thought this will end up for a solo record and ended up on Firewind. Um... and vice versa about songs and ideas I thought 'This is going to be a great Firewind track' and all of a sudden it is like 'oh, this is perfect for the solo project now, so it's kinda strange, I don't know how to explain it. 

I think it depends on the mindset when I go into a project each time because I collect a load of riffs and I have a vault of loads of riffs I pick and choose whenever I get started on a project and whenever I set to work on a new project and um..that gives me some type of direction and then I go from there so, nowadays, I write and try not to separate the two so I write a bunch of stuff and leave it on my computer and when the time comes I go back and listen and see what I like and feel is the right way to go. And then based on that, I have half-finished ideas and finish them.

I read that 'Quantum Leap' came about during the lockdown and you had some ideas lying around. Was this like an impromptu project?

Um..it was, you know. What happened with this album was I wasn't even considering making an instrumental record. It was, like, I was writing ideas and doing press for Firewind, just like I am doing with you now, and between phone calls actually, I was like, waiting for the next interview and, like, opened up my Pro-Tools. I put down a little riff here and there. I would do that every day and, then I thought, maybe I should do something with these ideas, and I had some ideas I wanted to record in my head, so I did that and thought 'Well, I better save up' because, you know, the pandemic, this thing is boiling. We might need to cancel things and sure enough, we had to cancel things and stuff.

 I started writing things here and there and then eventually went back to my old ideas and thought I better start working on these. I was keeping all these ideas and I thought ' well, I better start making a new album' and I was trying to find what type of album this could be. I didn't want to make another thing with vocals I just did an album with Firewind and there is not going to be a tour, so I just wanted to do something different. So, making an instrumental record was what made the difference to me. It made me excited to work on it, so it was a combination of all the other ideas. Things I kept writing at the moment and, yeah, just figuring it out.

The album is quite diverse with different elements of prog, blues, and metal. There are some aspects of it that sound like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. What were your influences, and what was the reason behind the album being is so diverse?

Well. I like making albums so diverse in general, even in Firewind. I don't like making albums that sound the same, ya know. I just blend rock stuff, 80's stuff and more palm metal stuff. And the same thing goes for my solo stuff. I thought now is the time to even branch out even more so, like I said, you hear bluesy stuff and there is even a synth-wave track, more proggy things and more adventurous arrangements so, I just went all in and thought why not there are no vocals and I don't have to worry about that anymore, I just had to worry about making really cool melodies and, speaking of influences, yeah, Joe Satriani and Vai you mentioned were big influences because I listened to those guys when I was growing up so, um, yeah, I guess it shows I listened to a load of them and was influenced so, yeah, even many other things too. 

The way I was trying to go with this was to make was an album that was 40-45 minutes long with plenty of soloing. So, it was just a case of making 45 minutes of actual music, of songs, you know, the guitar is taking the place of the voice.

So I am going to ask you about how the album came about. I read it was due to a chance meeting with drummer Vincent Velazco. What can you tell me about that?

Vincent reached out to me. He is always making something on social media and he was like,' I am working on some stuff.' I mean he just reached out. I didn't even know who he was. He just said send me some links and said,' dude, if you need a drummer for this project. I would love to play and love instrumental music' and I checked him out. Luckily, he had a studio at his home he could record his drums because at that time last year we couldn't fly anywhere, we couldn't go anywhere. We were all stuck. You know, if I didn't have a drummer like Vincent who had recorded himself, I probably would have had to do it myself and use the drum machine and programmed drums myself, you know, which I did originally, but luckily, he was able to track everything in his own studio and, yeah, that is how he joined the project.

 I read that you programmed the drums, and played keyboards on the album yourself?

Me? Yeah, I did everything myself. I basically played everything, ya know, on demos I play everything. I programme drums I play guitar, keys whatever it is, ya know. The only thing I don't do is sing. Um, I do everything, ya know, I give it to the other guys and the drummer does his part and then I went to Dennis Ward and I asked him to play bass and if he felt like it. Actually, he didn't even play bass on the whole album. I think he left a couple of tracks to my own basslines on there. He thought they were good enough on their own.

How did it come about that UFO guitarist Vinnie Moore appeared on the final track 'Majeure'?

That is an older song actually. That song is from 2018, which I released as a stand-alone single right after my album 'Fearless' came out. And I was going to go out on tour to America with Vinnie Moore and I put out this instrumental I thought, it was like some leftover idea, but for some reason, I didn't put on the 'Fearless' album for some stupid reason, so I had it there and I knew it was a great song and, I was like, I'm going to put this out like a separate single to promote the tour. so, I asked Vinnie to do a solo, and that is the story for that song, and it became my really most popular tracks, you know, my solo tracks and it is like the biggest track I have on Spotify, and it is doing really well and whenever I play it live people love it. So, it was not part of these sessions, but I thought it would be nice to include it on an album. So, we have it now and it exists on an actual tracklist because that is why I included it and I put it last there.

It was one of my fave singles on the album, too. You have released four singles and videos for 'Into the Unknown', 'Exosphere', 'Enigma of Life' and 'Fierce'. What can you tell me about those tracks, and how they play a part in the formulation of the album?

I mean the idea was to put out singles first because that is the new formula that labels are trying out. I mean it is almost like old-school when they put out, you know, 45-inch vinyl and stuff back in the '60s, and they then include singles on the album. I guess that is what is happening now in a digital era. They were like let us put out some singles every 1-2 months and let it do its thing. Keep the excitement and give people some new music every couple of months and go from there. That was the initial idea. I chose a few songs and did a few videos, and we went from there basically. We just tried things out really because it was like uncharted territory for me, and each song is a little bit different from one another. 

The response was great on all the singles. And then you announce the album and that is it.

One video I liked was 'Fierce', in which you are dressed as some type of death metal artist at home. What was the story there?

That was the peak of my quarantine boredom hahaha! I started trying on makeup, Ya know, corpse makeup. And I thought instead of doing another performance video why don't we do a home video. So, you know, I made my wife put on that corpse paint makeup, so I came up with a script about this kinda sad rocker who keeps his girl in his cellar, who is somehow a prisoner, and then they eventually fall in love and form a band with their cats haha. I don't know, it is one of those surreal things, I guess I stayed locked up for far too long. It's a fun video. People enjoyed it.

Do you have any favourite tracks on the album?

Umm... 'Enigma Of Life' is one. 'Chromestesia' is another. I like 'Judgement Day'. Yeah, I like them all, to be honest. I feel strongly about this album. Even though I did it one year ago, listening back now I think it is one of my most complete works, even though there are no vocals on it, but I don't usually look back on stuff. It is a little bit easier now making an instrumental album, rather than listening back on other things, Personally, it feels like the complete work for me because it is 100%, Gus.

There is no co-writes with anyone. This is a total thing that came out of me. I didn't rely on other collaborators, so I'm proud in a different way, ya know, like in a way that doesn't mean I am not proud of the other records, but the other records have been collaborations with so many singers. Everyone brought their thing, you know, it was like a totally different vibe, but this one, there is something to be said to make an instrumental album totally on your own.

I guess it is like writing an autobiography, it is cathartic.

Yeah, you are right. Every album is cathartic. Maybe doing it on my own, maybe even more.

And in conclusion, what is next for Gus G?

We are doing some things with Firewind. We have just announced a 20-year anniversary tour for next year, so we are touring Europe. So that is what is up next. I would like to reissue the first album because it is the twentieth-year anniversary next year of our debut album. I will see if I can do some solo gigs, as well. See if I can fit something in. 

It is a strange time right now, but, um, we'll see because it is under current discussion. Maybe if the right opportunity comes up, I will do some gigs in some specific countries, but I am not sure if I am going to go on an extensive tour. To be honest, I didn't make this album to tour, I did it to pass lockdown, but we'll see if there are some gigs for next year. It is under current discussion for next spring, or sometimes. We'll see. And then, maybe. we will go into making another Firewind album record, you know, right now we are getting offers for worldwide tours and festivals almost every day.

2022 is almost fully booked. And then again, we will have to be careful and see if we can travel everywhere. It is a weird custom in 2022/23 to see if we can do them There are a load of exciting things in the pipeline. And in the middle of all that we shall try to find time to write another album.

Thank you for taking time out to speak with the rambling man's review.

Thank you, you are welcome. Take it easy, my man!

Interview conducted by Anselm Anderson


'Into The Unkown'

'Enigma Of Life'



Album Review- Apollo Stands- Interstellar

UK Progressive Metal Act Apollo Stands have released their highly expected album Interstellar. Formed in Norwich, England five years ago, the band first gave insight into their unusual blend of modern drum and bass, progressive metalcore, and contemporary metal with debut LP 'Join Us', which ensured the band's place on regular slots supporting acts like Sertraline, and Fingers Crossed , as well as festival appearances at Rockstock, Trick Bag festival and Volume 19

As of 2019, The band consists of Alexei Swatman - guitars, vox, keys, lead vocalist Ry Hase, lead guitarist Olly Smith, bassist Matt Heyward and drummer Edgar Taljaard. This seven-track follow up to 2019's  EP 'Minds' combines classical elements with film scores to create something far-reaching to a rock product.

One such piece of evidence comes in the intro "Void", which sounds like an eerie theme tune to some Sci-Fi Netflix show segues nicely into "Insolarus", a track stuffed with a charging guitar sound, accompanied with soaring melodic vocals cancelled out by the erratic, and unnerving harsh vocals. It is a regular component throughout the album that sees Swatman and Hase trading differing voices over some awe-inspiring musical qualities. The band seem to have paved the way with their own identity, as a means to move away from bands that try similar ideas.

This continues with the latest single "Pick Up",  as Swatman is on double duties with some nice synths throughout the LP. The two vocalists exchange clean and harsh vocals over enchanting passages, as Smith contributes with thunderous breakdowns. Smith and bassist Heyward prove a skilful combination as they make each track sound like a force to be reckoned with.

There are some tracks that feel disconnected between parts, but this is overridden with the intense "Please Wait", a true metal song with elements of 2000's nu-metal bands, whilst "Hive" explores the vocal range and emotions of Ry Hase over mid-tempo instrumental phrasing. And finally, "The Arbiter" sees the band finish on a brutal finale. The groove and swagger of the riffage let Hase loose with hollowed howls and thunderous drumming by Taljaard. 

Overall, 'Interstellar' is an intriguing listen with some well-written musical passages and impressive vocals adept to a seemingly new love for metalcore. It will certainly leave you feeling out of this world.

Words by Anselm Anderson

 ‘Interstellar’ track listing: 

1. Void; 
2. Insolarus;
 3. Synthetic;
 4. Pick Up; 
5. Please Wait; 
6. Hive; 
7. The Arbiter.





All-female Hard rock act Plush release their highly-anticipated self-titled debut LP Plush via Pavement Entertainment, this Friday (October 29th).

The supergroup of sorts is made up of four of rock's most prodigious female talents under the age of 21. They combine pop melodies with edgy hard rock. The quartet consists of Lead singer Moriah Formica, best known for her appearance on NBC's The Voice, The self-proclaimed "Rock Angel" Brooke Colucci on drums, Berklee College of Music graduate, Bella Perron on lead guitars and "The Female version of the late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton", Ashley Suppa. Plush was produced by Johnny K.

The LP begins with concert fave "Athena", a resounding crowd pleaser with its eerie intro that segues into harrowing guitar breaks, and lung inducing vocals that mark a statement for the band to be taken seriously. Next up is the anthemic "Champion". This dark and daring track with tenacious riffs feels like a cobra stalking its prey. 

The album continues in this vain with formulaic rock-friendly tunes, which would benefit any FM radio station. The four women each have individual talents that combine well here to write enticing rock songs that certainly will get the odd headbanging. It is here it begins to tailer off with some pop ballads, such as "Sober" and "Don't Say That", which plays to the strengths of Formica as a singer. Formica grows in strength with great versatility and range, as each track passes.

Songs like "Better Off Alone" and "Why Do I Even Try", are melodic pop tracks that play to this strength, as well as the other three members. Each song was written and produced to perfection in order to highlight the band's skills as songwriters and musicians.

The Lp wraps up with the infectious "Will Not Win", a defiant rock song that shows these women are no walkovers. And finally, the sentimental "Walk Away" completes this first outing replete with beautiful laden vocal harmonies and arranged musical instrumental breaks.

Overall, Plush make a statement that they want to be taken seriously as rock musicians with polished production, simple songwriting, and songs designed to rattle your emotions.

Words by Anselm Anderson

PLUSH Album Track List:

01. Athena

02. Champion

03. Hate

04. Found A Way

05. I Don't Care

06. Sober

07. Better Off Alone

08. Sorry

09. Why Do I Even Try

10. Bring Me Down

11. Don't Say That

12. Will Not Win

13. Walk Away


PLUSH has just completed a US tour with Seether and Nonpoint. Future dates include Mammoth WVH, Evanescence, and Halestorm.

5th Nov – Portland, OR – Rise Quarter w/ Evanescence and Halestorm

7th Nov  – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena w/ Evanescence and Halestorm

9th Nov – San Jose, CA – Sap Center w/ Evanescence and Halestorm

10th Nov  – Inglewood, CA – SoFi Center w/ Evanescence and Halestorm

12th Nov  – Las Vegas, NV – The Cosmopolitan w/ Evanescence and Halestorm

13th Nov  – San Diego, CA – San Diego University w/ Evanescence and Halestorm

15th Nov  – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Federal Theater w/ Evanescence and Halestorm

17th Nov  – Salt Lake City, UT – The Union w/ Evanescence and Halestorm

20th Nov  – Fort Worth, TX – Dickies Arena w/ Evanescence and Halestorm

21st Nov  – Houston, TX – 713 Music Hall w/ Evanescence and Halestorm

Connect with Plush:

Official Website: https://plushrocks.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PLUSHOFFICIAL/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/plushrocks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PLUSHROCKS

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4eb0vj0-OExwbK1ngRTH6w




Swiss modern metal heavyweights Ophelia's Eye have unleashed a tantalising three-track EP called,  Fight For Us, as an appetiser for their muchly anticipated LP. The Swiss quintet has decided to release three songs that are close to their hearts, telling a short story about what they have to offer the world.

The five-piece formed in the 2010s under various pseudonyms, including Project Penny and Red Fire Dragon, before settling on the exotically named Ophelia's Eye, based on a character in the E.L.A Hoffman novel The Sandman. Fight For Us combines harsh vocals, ripping guitar play, and lyrics are written as escapism through music from the struggles of everyday life.

The title track " Fight For Us" begins with an all-out musical assault on the ears with raging guitar leads, earth-shattering blast beats, and deathly growls sound like an act on a mission.

Next up is "Speak of Words of Destruction" which is a modern metal track about improving one's communication through more harmonious needs. Lead Vocalist Michel Egloff- Sieber growls once again, as they feel more angst-ridden, rather than angry. The double harmonies of guitarists Corinne Ryter and Remo Leap add depth and emotions to the song's subject

And finally, " Ophelia's Eye" wraps up a short outing with a beautiful acoustic intro that segues into intense chugging, rumbling basslines, and infectious melodies to supplement the harsh vocals.

Overall, Ophelia's Eye takes us through a perilous journey of self-discovery and reflection. The band create enthralling songs with an engaging topic we can all relate to. The band bring big riffs, intense vocals, and an ability to write songs we can all headbang to.

Words by Anselm Anderson

The Band are currently in the studio recording their new LP.

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Vocals: Michel Egloff-Sieber

Bass: Sandro Suter

Rhythm Guitar: Corinne Ryter

Lead Guitar: Remo Lemp

Drums: Marco Schweizer



 All female-trio Muddibrooke release their eagerly expected debut EP lunacy today (October 22nd).  Produced and mixed at Snug Recordings Co in Nottingham by the band and producers Robin Newman and Richard Collins. Joe Caithness helped master the EP.

The trio consists of lead vocalist Harriet "Brooke" McDonnell, bassist and backing vocalist, Anna Melidone and drummer Mary Prince hail from Derby, England. They formed last January, releasing two music singles in the process, which received airplay on Kerrang! and earn " Track of the Week" for BBC Introducing. The five-track release tells the tale of acceptance and rejection within society through 90's alternative rock stylings, emotional vocals, and storied lyrics.

 The opener "Devil" is an unsettling tale of an acrimonious relationship that turns sour. Lead vocalist "Brooke" combines sorrow with defiance over long, distorted guitars. Next up is "Liverpool Guy", an anthemic track with thunderous basslines, rapturous guitars, and huge, hook-laden choruses. The lunacy continues with the edgy "Straight Jacket". a track with dark tones, aggressive, distorted guitars and angst-ridden cries take this out of a '90s alt-rock playbook.

Photo courtesy of Jason Bridges

The EP takes a step back and turns to more melodic songs for the last two tracks. Firstly, the melancholic "Turn to Dust" is a certainty for the lighters at gigs whereas, the final song "Fake It", enraptures you like a warm jumper in the winter. The lead vocals are evocative and emotive with choral harmonies, thumping drums, and a dynamic guitar edge that will certainly win over even the most hard-hearted of us all.

Overall, Muddibrooke shows that it isn't "Lunacy" to write engaging and vivid music that appeals to your average rock fans.

Words by Anselm Anderson


1. Devil

2. Liverpool Guy

3. Straight Jacket

4. Turn To Dust

5. Fake It

Official Website: https://www.muddibrooke.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MuddiBrookeMusic @MuddiBrookeMusic

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtdgASysI-Ko9v9hXX4L7aQ

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/MuddiBrooke @MuddiBrooke

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/MuddiBrooke @MuddiBrooke

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@muddibrooke @MuddiBrooke

"Straight Jacket"

"Liverpool Guy"





The enigmatic "Horror Rock combo" King of The Dead has released their much-anticipated EP The Summoning with an accompanying comic book.

The band's infectious pop/punk is a nod to bands like Alkaline Trio, Ghost and 30 Seconds To Mars. King Of The Dead are lead by the masked individual, known as "The Familiar", who is said to sit between the worlds. The EP is a concept based on a tale of sacrifice, possession and the occult through five videos. released in chronological order on how the singles appear on the EP.

Opener "Control" is a driving alt-rocker with impassioned vocals, exhilarating guitars, and rumbling basslines. Next Up is the upbeat tempo of "Destroy My Name", an evocative pop-rock track with hook-laden choruses, bouncing rhythms and edgy guitars, supplemented by dazzling synths.

The EP continues to tell this story through fast-paced songs, accompanied by emotive melodies that hark back days to the aforementioned "Emo-bands" of the late 2000s, early 2010s. The third instalment of this enthralling journey is "Running Out Of Time" with its pulsating three-chord guitar refrain that assaults your ears with as much intent as the song's story of sacrifice. Huge choruses, choral voices, and a mesmerising piano outro complete an addictive edition to this release.

"Damned" is a commercially accessible pop-punk song about possession with thumping drums, choral cries, and energetic riffs. And finally, "With Love", is the closest the band will get to a ballad with its emotional outpouring of letting go over dynamic guitar leads.

King Of The Dead unveil an intriguing tale of mystery with "The Summoning". The band's fresh and innovative approach proves a winning formula in the end.

Words by Anselm Anderson




"Destroy My Name"

"Running Out Of Time"


"With Love"



 Alternative rockers' Dig Lazarus self-released their debut LP, Don't Threaten Me with A Good Time this past Friday (October 15th) The follow up to 2019's EP Figure It Out was produced by Dave Draper (The Wildhearts) and features some special guests in the guise of EODM frontman Jesse Hughes and The Virgin Mary's Ally Dickaty.

The album is ten years of hard work for long time friends, Vocalist Ash Tustain, drummer/percussionist Jack Cotterill and the spectacularly named bassist/vocalist Atticus Hall Mcnair hail from Nuneaton, England. The band's anthemic rock boasts plenty of catchy choruses and meaty riffs to keep one happy.

The aforementioned Mr Hughes opens things with a humorous sermon, declaring to his congregation "You don't threaten me with a good time" soon segues into the solid rocker "Road Runner", a singalong track with pulsating riffs to get the album off to a good start.

Next up is the groovy rhythms of "Never changes", a true stoner track with rolling basslines and laid-back vocals. The album progresses with an even tempo stacked full of memorable songs that stick in your ear. This is apparent with the Thin Lizzy-Esque "DTMWAGT" with crunchy guitars and a hook-laden chorus to keep those ears appeased. "Joker" follows suit with its in-your-face attitude, ballsy riff, and hypnotic vibe.

 It is here the album picks up momentum with some heavier choices like "Keep It Clean" and "Outlaw". The leading track "Sky Tonight" is a radio-friendly tune full of soaring guitar lines, pounding drums, and sweet melodies. And finally, "Time Froze" completes a satisfaction for the men from Leicestershire. This track is a slow-burner, featuring The Virgin Mary's frontman, and close friend, Ally Dickarty. The sludge guitars and hazy vocals make this a hidden gem off the album.

Overall, Dig Lazarus create a fresh and accessible rock album British rock can feel proud of.

Words Written by Anselm Anderson

Dig Lazarus is:

Ash Tustain - lead vocals and guitars
Atticus Hall-McNair - vocals and bass
Jack Cotterill - drums and percussion


Official Website: https://www.diglazarus.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dig_Lazarus @Dig_Lazarus




Singer/songwriter Jaime Kyle has released "Wild One", a track with as much a coloured history as Kyle herself.

Kyle wrote this track in the early nineties, before being taken up by Faith Hill and earning the songstress a number one spot. Jaime Kyle is seen as something of a trailblazer in the industry, becoming the first female artist to sign a major record label out of Nashville. Jaime Kyle continues to garner respect for writing and recording music, as well tours across the US and Europe. her songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Nancy Wilson to Kelly Clarkson, selling 19 million records worldwide.

"Wild One" is an anthemic rocker with all the charm and grace of Kyle as a singer. Kyle's warm and mellifluous vocals croon over a guitar-driven sound. The searing guitar solos and choral harmonies leave this sounding like the perfect radio hit.

Words by Anselm Anderson

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French Metalcore outfit Primal Age burst onto the scene with Masked Enemy via WTF Records, A follow up to 2017's EP Silent Wound. the band hail from Normandy and was first formed in 1993.

The band combine groove-laden riffs with pummeling drums and death growl vocals in the cause of animal rights, vegetarianism and human rights. They consist of vocalist Didier, bassist Dmitri, drummer Rudy and guitarists Florian and Benoit.

The album opens with a spoken word intro that segues into the eerie "Wise Old Men", a slow, menacing build that combusts into a full-throttle snarl. Next up is "The Devil Is Hidden In Shadow", an equally apoplectic track with abrasive riffs, long double harmonic passages, and double blast beats that will leave the listener empathetic with the cause.

Primal Age continues to build tracks this way through inventive means. The band combine long, pulsating harmonies with sharp, angular riffs to appeal to fans anew, and loyal, to the outfit. Each track is bombastic in musicianship and songwriting, but not in the serious messages the band hope to deliver.

Another leading single "The Two-Head's Monster" is another track that can be attributed to these aforementioned qualities. Lead vocalist Didier and bassist Dmitri combine howls, and anguished harsh vocals over dark, harrowing guitar lines and earth-shattering drums. Other highlights are the title track "Masked Enemy" with obvious death metal influences, the ferocious punk attitude of "Who Dare Wins", the horrifying rhythmic chugging of "Blinded By Cruelty" that is reminiscent of the nightmares of its subject and, finally, Masked Enemy wraps up with an instrumental outro to seal its fate.

Overall, Primal Age has produced a powerful and emotional reminder of the horrors that permeate our earth with signature thrash, death and metalcore stylings that will appeal to a new audience.

Words by Anselm Anderson


Hello, How are you? Could you introduce yourself to the readers?
Hi everyone, I'm Dimitri, I do the bass and some singing in Primal Age since the beginning. Didier, our singer and I, are the two members of the original lineup.

When did you form, and what were your reasons to form Primal Age?

We created Primal Age in 93. Didier and I had our own band at the time, but nothing serious. We both wanted to do more than make music with friends and stay in our town. 

How would you describe your sound to new listeners?

 We do a mix of Metal and Hardcore, with a very aggressive sound. We are one of the first European bands to do that and for sure, one of the last survivors of this huge period. 

Primal Age recently released "Masked Enemy" in June via WTF Records. Could you tell me about the album and the general themes behind the release?

Of course. We're very proud of this project, hard to achieve but finally our best album ever. We always denounce the abuse against animals and Earth. These topics are in all our albums, but of course not the only ones. This one is more political. 

You have released two music videos for “ The 2 Head's Monster” and “The Devil Hidden In Shadow”. What could you tell us about the videos, as well as the message behind the tracks?

Because of this shitty period (there was a curfew in France), and the lack of money, as usual, we had the great contribution of Marine (Didier's wife). It's very important for a non-professional band to catch some competencies around us. "The 2 Head's Monster" is about the collusion between the food industry and big pharmacies: on one hand we produce some shit to feed you and make you sick, on the other hand, we have the pills to cure. 

With "The Devil is hidden in Shadow", it all boils down to the loss of landmarks: those who lead us parent themselves with virtue, and those who resist are every time demonized.

What was the recording and writing process going into making this album?

I wrote the lyrics four years ago and began to make the first tracks because I'm the only musician here from the start, and we had two guitar players who had never composed for Primal Age. Fortunately, one of them, Florian has joined me in this process and gave us some wonderful tracks. For this reason, we have a very rich album with relief. 

What are the reasons behind the name “Masked Enemy”?

It's the main idea in this album: our elites, those who rule the world and pull the strings have a so huge power of manipulation that we don't even know who to blame when we feel angry. They are most of the time backstage, hidden behind politicians who are just puppets on the frontline. 

I understand a lot of your songs cover Vegetarianism and animal rights, How important do you feel raising subjects like this are for your fanbase and music?

We don't really know if the guys who are listening to Primal Age have the same thoughts. It doesn't matter, we hope to plant seeds in minds. We hope to share what we feel. 

Is this something you would like to see more bands do?

I don't want to give any lesson, do what you want with your band. My point of view is that music is a huge medium. So if you want to explain some ideas to help people being more aware, why not ? 

What else do you do to help raise awareness of these subjects within your fanbase and beyond?

At each show, we let some flyers of associations defending this cause. We also make a partnership with one association for each album in order to put a light on it. 

What are the ambitions of Primal Age going forward?

We always want more 'cause some of us are old and we have this passion deep in our hearts. So we hope to visit some countries we don't know yet. 

And finally, what next for Primal Age?

We feel very confident with this album, so we just want to play it live and share it with those who follow us.

Interview conducted by Anselm Anderson



"The 2 Head's Monster"

"The Devil is Hidden in Shadow"