AMPLIFIED FESTIVAL 2018: PREVIEW
This year sees Amplified Festival returning for its second year with an impressive three day line up of bands from across the globe that includes legendary acts such as Soil, Evil Scarecrow and Therapy? on the main stage. The festival’s three stages will also see fresh up and coming bands with eyes full of ambition - all gathered to ensure this weekend of rock and metal is a memorable experience.
In 2017, the festival suffered from the great British weather and the organisers were forced to make difficult decisions to ensure the event went ahead. Their respect for those who came to the festival and the bands who were gracious in the face of adversity has earned the festival a loyalty from its ticket buyers and performers that many similar events should be rightly jealous of.
The festival is running from 6th to 8th July at Quarrydowns, Eastington in Gloucestershire and tickets are on sale via their online sites here -
We had the chance to speak to a whole host of bands who will be playing at the festival and asked what they’re all about. Here are some of the highlights of those interviews as a prelude to the Festival weekend.
ANIMATOR hail from Ireland and have played across Europe delivering their tight, powerful thrash metal on stages alongside the greats, such as Megadeth and Rob Zombie.
The line up of James Doughty (Vocals), Ryan Treanor (Guitar), Barry Ryan (Bass) and Darren Bradley (Drums) aim to be the tightest band on the stage and we caught up with James to ask about his take on what they play - “We love to play thrash. We love to play fast with a groove. We’ve been influenced by Megadeth, Metallica and Pantera. We listen to a lot of stuff. We’ve been together for 15 years on and off and started off having a craic playing covers. We started taking it a bit more serious and we released ‘Blacklisted’”.
The band have a real '80s thrash metal vibe and deliver an intense, tight performance that has earned them glowing reviews. We asked them what we should expect at Amplified - “We can’t wait. It’s our first festival since Wacken last year. I hope we get a decent crowd and they enjoy the set. We’re gonna play fast, go crazy. We’re gonna give it all”.
The band hope to tour more and release a new album in the future but in the meantime Animator are playing on the Very Metal Art Stage on Saturday 7th July. You can find out more about them here -
ASHEN CROWN have lit up the dark Midlands skies since their formation in 2016 with their brutal, punchy metal influenced by such behemoths as Lamb of God and At The Gates. Their first gig was as recent as 2017 and have quickly gelled as a powerful five piece with one of their first gigs being a heat in Metal To The Masses. That show catapulted them through the heats and they rapidly found themselves earning a place in the final which they won. This journey saw them playing at Bloodstock and the pace hasn’t let up.
The line up of Phil (bass), Chris (drums), Jay (lead guitar), Ste (rhythm guitar) and Kieran (vocals) is a brotherhood of metalheads whose focus has been on live performance rather than recording to this point. We spoke with Chris about their music - “It’s dark. It’s dirty. It’s from the home of metal. We play heavy, hard metal. It is aggressive but we’re all adorable guys - we have to tell Phil to stop smiling on stage because we’re meant to be grim and evil”.
With a sense of humour that can’t be contained on stage, they are surely a must see at the festival. Chris confirmed that - “We’re the heaviest band of all the weekend. We have a lot to live up to really. A brutal assault on their senses. We’ve got a thirty minute set and there’s a new track going in that we’ve never played live. We don’t stop. You’ve got thirty minutes of extreme metal - full force”.
The band have recently released a video and have used the prizes from their Metal To The Masses successes to record a five track EP that will be ready at the end of the Summer. Until then, you can see them live on the Very Metal Art Stage on Friday 6th July and check them out here -
HELL’S GAZELLES are a riff-driven band with a big sound and anthemic vocals all wrapped up in a live act that has graced stages such as Bloodstock and Hard Rock Hell Roadtrip. Their current influences are broad ranging from Royal Blood to the live energy of Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes and their material has classic elements of Motley Crue with some hints of Rob Halford in the vocal range.
Cole Bryant (vocals), Nath Digman (guitar), Rik Ridemark (bass) and Luke Evans (drums) are all about the live experience and we asked Nath what to expect of their live show at Amplified - “There’s stuff that everyone in the rock spectrum is gonna like. There’s times when it’s heavy enough to interest the metal heads and there’s times when people into their classic rock will get something out of it. We cover quite a broad spectrum”.
The band are looking forward to the impending release of their ‘Take Your Medicine’ EP on 27th July and Nath described what’s on the record - “We think it really represents our current sound at the moment and how we’re going to continue going in that direction. From an artist’s perspective, it’s an album we can listen back and know we actually nailed this one”.
If you like guitar driven rock with outstanding vocal acrobatics, the band will be playing on G’s Bar Stage on Sunday 8th July and you can check them out at -
IDESTROY are a super busy live band who have recently toured the UK and Europe in support of their ‘Pure Joy Of Life’ EP that was released earlier this year. Their brand of party punk has an edge that reminds of Joan Jett in her raw early days and are angry with a smile.
The three piece of Bec Jevons (guitar/vocals), Jenn Haneef (drums) and brand new addition Nicola Baker (bass) are a bundle of frantic energy that makes for a powerful live experience. We spoke with Bec about their music and her influences - “Three piece punky….I really like bands like Nirvana and Garbage. I hope people can hear a bit of influence in that. Quite hooky three piece, punk-ish, I’m not very good at describing this (laughs)”.
The band are hoping to put out an album this year and their appearance at Amplified on G’s Bar Stage on Friday 6th July is something the band relish given the punters will be kicking their weekend off. Bec revealed that the band would have to leave after their show as drummer Jenn is getting married on the Saturday. But, here’s why you should go check them out - “I’ve never been to Amplified and we’re playing in the bar stage. I’m hoping it’s gonna be packed in there and people are starting to get up for a party. May be a tough gig as people will be just arriving but I think we’ll get the party started”.
OBZIDIAN are a mighty metal machine who have been prowling the stages in the heart of the UK’s metal for a healthy length of time. The band have a positive outlook grounded in their love of ‘80s thrash and metal that has lasted the test of time.
Matty Jenks (vocals), Baz Foster (guitar & vocals), Paul Hayward (drums & vocals) and Matt Jeffs (bass) are a group of people who have differences in influence but that melting pot has endured 13 years in its current guise. Fresh from the rehearsal studio, we spoke to the band about what they’re all about - “As fast and as heavy as we want to be. We’ve always tried to keep that old school touch. You’ve got to keep the groove. The old-school stuff keeps that groove rather than turning into one of these bands which is just a full-on onslaught. Pantera were a massive influence to us in the old days”.
Their appearance at Amplified is another tick on their lengthy bucket list and they spoke about the opportunity ahead of them - “I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved this year. We’ve done some great things in the past. We’re fucking heavy and a good time! It’s all about having a good time”.
The band are hoping to release a single at the end of the summer and an album is on the way to pre-production. When pushed on whether they would play the new single at Amplified, they were coy but eventually admitted that’s the plan so best make sure you include them on your list of bands to see. In the meantime, go have a good time with them at the Very Metal Art Stage on Saturday 7th July.
Not made your mind up? Check them out here -
PHOXJAW offer a refreshing blend of rock, grunge and a slice of new wave angst that is delivered with genuine emotion. The band’s unusual name came from their obsession with animals and they changed the word ‘fox’ to ‘phox’ to “keep in with the kids”.
Their two year life so far has seen them grow in stature and we caught up with guitarists Josh and Glenn to ask them to describe their style - “Deftones kind of riffy metal kind of rock, but probably since Glenn and Hugh joined it’s become more spacey and atmospheric, the dynamics have grown. We’re quite happy to drop it right down and have a quiet section now.”
The band’s Danny Garland (vocals/bass), Josh Gallop (guitars), Kieran Gallop (vocals/drums), Glenn Hawkins (guitars) and Huw Allen (Keys) are busy in the studio and described what they were up to - “We’ve been recording a new single that will hopefully come out around the the times of the festivals. We’re in doing the guitars just now”.
With a new EP hopefully being ready before the end of the year, they are looking forward to their appearance at Amplified on G’s Bar Stage on Sunday 8th July. They described the show ahead - “It’s gonna be energetic. We’ll strive to put on a really visual show. It’s not just five guys standing around. We take a gurney live feel - trashy, energetic. You’ll be entertained. We might even put our keyboard player out in the crowd in a wrestling mask! We can maybe all come dressed as wrestlers”.
The band will certainly put on a show and know they have to work to engage an audience embarking on their third day at the festival but a more committed group of musicians you won’t find. Go see for yourself at -
RIVAL BONES enjoy the unique sound and visual aesthetic only a two piece band can deliver. Their ability to create a massive sound with drums and guitar is something that deserves attention and their appearance at Amplified is sure to draw a crowd. There are Audioslave and Biffy Clyro elements in their use of the space available which makes for a musically mature sound.
James Whitehouse (guitar & vocals) and Chris Thomason (drums) started life as a two piece and quickly realised they could work efficiently together and create something sonically unique.
Fresh from a road trip to see his heroes Queens Of The Stoneage, Chris spoke to us about what the duo are all about and what they’ve been up to - “We’ve done pretty well I think. We played South Korea last year with a couple of other bands. It was an incredible trip. Ever since that, we’ve done some decent support slots and festivals. It’s rhythm based and we’ve been compared to Black Sabbath and Mastodon”.
The guys are playing the Main Stage on Saturday 7th July and Chris spoke about the experience ahead - “We both have a fond place in our heart because that (Amplified) was the first big festival we were really looking forward to playing at. We made a bunch of friends and also we get to play a really cool stage. We played the main stage last year on the Friday. So I’m hoping that on a Saturday - higher up (the bill) more people will be out watching”.
The band have just finished their second EP that will likely be released in September but I’d recommend you see them in the flesh at Amplified. Go and have a look at what they’re all about here -
TEMPLETON PEK take to the Main Stage on Friday 6th July riding the wave of adoration following the release of their new album ‘Watching The World Come Undone' earlier this year. The band’s long history has seen them develop in style and attack but they have maintained their original DNA in passionate punk with an energetic delivery.
The three band members Neal Mitchell (vocals/bass), Kev Green (guitar) and Simon Barford (drums) have toured with significant acts such as The Offspring and Rise Against. The new album is lyrically challenging as the band face a number of political points head on. This may sound like a difficult subject matter but the musical delivery is strong and, whilst the album may be concept in nature, it isn’t pretentious. We spoke with Neill about the journey so far - “It doesn’t feel like ten years. We’re on our fifth album now, touring constantly, writing and recording. We’ve covered a lot of ground and we’re still enjoying it. That’s the only reason we do it”.
The band’s pedigree is strong and the opportunity to play at Amplified is as important to the band as any show and Neill explained what that means to the band - “Really, really stoked. Main stages are always fun and obviously everyone will be in full gear by then having had a few beers by then. Pretty much half our set will be the new album. Looking forward to it and we’re gonna put a hundred percent into it. And obviously we’ll have a few beers afterwards”.
One thing is certain, Templeton Pek will put on a great show and will move you both lyrically and musically. Follow their progress here -
Headlining the Very Metal Art Stage on Friday 6th July are five piece rockers THE DIRTY YOUTH. The band have established a firm following in the UK and further afield into Europe. Their band interests on social media are as much a mission statement as anything in proudly claiming that they pursue touring, making new music and partying!
Danni Monroe (vocals), Matt Bond (guitar/keys), Luke Padfield (guitar), Leon Watkins (bass) and Freddie Green (drums) are a bundle of talent with a punchy blend of rock and anthemic punk that comes to life on stage.
We spoke with vocalist Danni on a sunny Saturday and she told us about her background and how the band came about - “I’m a diva through and through. I was brought up on Freddie Mercury and Aretha Franklin. All the entertainers in the world. It wasn’t until I met Matt at a festival when I was sixteen - he asked if I wanted to be in a band.”
The band’s journey is nearing a decade in the making and they have built a firm reputation on the back of tours with Korn and Fozzy among others. Touring in their own right has built on this and they have a healthy recorded catalogue on their CV that is particularly listenable with their third album due for release soon. We asked Danni about Amplified - “It’s awesome. It’s good to get back into the metal world. The first festival we played back in 2008 was Bloodstock and that was a heavy festival for our first gig. Off the back of that we got booked for metal shows. It progressed with the second album and we were doing pop festivals which was great for the diversity but it’ll be good to get back to metal”.
So if you want great music and a party while you listen, go see them on the Very Metal Art Stage. Danni did reveal that there will be a surprise when they play but wouldn’t elaborate so best go see for yourself.
You can also find out more here (check the website first - trust me!) -
THE HYDE PROJECT
has an air of mystery about them given their apparent anonymity as band members and, of course, their macabre subject matter. Their songs describe the rather taboo matter of serial killers and the psychology, motivation and deeds of both the infamous and lesser known murderers of recent times.
We managed to do some digging and discover who was in the band and spoke with drummer Kris Perrin about this unique endeavour - “It was initially a project and we had no idea we’d take it out live. It was just three of us - Dan MacAninch (vocals) and Ron Darling (guitar). We’ve known each other for the best part of 22 years and we’ve all come from different bands. We started to write and putting riffs into drop boxes because there’s about two or three hundred miles between us. We’ve got there. It turned out to be absolutely brutal. The serial killer theme -what makes these people tick. I mean, when you’re playing brutal heavy metal you’re not gonna sing about puppy dogs and dandelions (laughs)”.
The serial killer theme makes for some edgy lyrics that may have some listeners uneasy but as the best songwriters always aim for an emotional response, surely this is no different. The band have taken their baby on stage a number of times now and Kris spoke about what we could expect at Amplified - “An open field festival should be full of everything from black metal to Britney Spears pop. It gives people the chance to go and see something they might not normally. If you’re into your Pantera, if you’re into your Meshuggah. I guess those bands are incorporated in our album. Every single song is about a specific killer - from start to finish”.
The band will bring their bucket of pure brutality to G’s Bar Stage on Sunday 8th July and you can find out more here -
are a metal band who keep a groove and have a huge sound for a three piece. The line up of Marc Cleave (bass), Kurt Johnson (drums), and Rimmy Sinclair (guitar) are a tight and punchy outfit who have already played Bloodstock in 2017. Their knowledge of the music industry is broad and they are particularly grounded as Kurt explained when we asked him about the band and what has influenced his career - “Torqued is difficult to describe. We don’t like to pigeon hole ourselves. Me and Mark - we’ve worked together for years. We used to be in a band together called Mad Hatter. Rimmy is a new addition to the band. My influences are very much from me listening to punk. Being a drummer I have to like everything”.
The live experience is professional, solid and impactive and Kurt explains what people should expect at Amplified - “If they haven’t seen us before they’ll probably go “Well they’re a bit different!”. We’re trying to finalise our sound at the moment and we have backing tracks on stage. It’ll definitely be different from what we’ve done in the past. When Rimmy joined the equation, we’re ‘new Torqued’. It’s very in-time - is the best way to describe it”.
The new EP ‘Resurgence’ will be released on 29th July and the band are grateful for their fans being patient in the release. They admit that they have put their blood, sweat and tears into the post-apocalyptic record and it is sure to be something very special.
Torqued play the Main Stage on Friday 6th July and you can find their current single and more information here -
are raising eyebrows across the country by playing a majestic blend of rock, stoner and metal which has an undeniable catchy groove. The band have just released their ‘I, Of The Storm’ album to strong reviews with many noticing the technical ability of each band member.
Richie Barlow (guitar), Jimmy Collins (drums) and Christoff D (bass) have a truly entertaining live show and their gig diary is as busy as any major act. Their delivery of 86 shows in 2017 is as good a sign as any that their focus is on the live side of music.
We spoke to bassist Stoff about that live experience - “I’ve described us as groove rock n roll. It’s just fun. We can play to one person - we can play to a hundred people. It’ll be the same power, the same energy. You can put us anywhere and people will hopefully enjoy it”.
The band were booked for Amplified in 2017 but were unfortunately unable to take to the stage as a result of the weather issues. The band are a modest group and they respect the importance of the festival going ahead again this year and are genuine in their delight at being invited back.
The band are keen to embrace the festival experience and like many of their peers, intend watching the other bands on over the weekend. They have a plan ahead for more festivals into 2019 and they are focusing on rehearsing the album but would hope to start writing again in 2019 if they can find time between all those shows!
Witch Tripper are playing the Very Metal Art Stage on Friday 6th July and I’d recommend you get along to see the onstage antics. Their final word on what you should expect couldn’t be more succinct - “Blood, sweat and beers!”
For more information, you can check the guys out here -