When Motorhead folded after Lemmy’s death in 2015, everyone wondered what would become of guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee. Would they stay together and form another band? As it turns out, that wasn’t to be, these days Mikkey sits on the drum throne for German metal titans the Scorpions, and Phil Campbell turned his side project while he was in Motorhead; Phil Campbell’s All Starr Band into something permanent and changed the name of the band to Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. The Bastard Sons in question are of course Phil’s actual sons Todd, Tyla and Dane on guitar, bass, and drums respectively.

 A self-titled EP was released in 2016 and they released their debut album ‘The Age of Absurdity’ in 2018 on Nuclear Blast records. The album was well received, winning best album at the 2018 Metal Hammer awards. The band succeeded in salvaging some of the Motorhead swagger with a modern edge that helped them fit in to the NWOCR movement.

 Their second album ‘We’re the Bastards’ which was released in the autumn of 2020, followed on nicely from the debut with more fist pumping anthems. In 2021 the band parted ways with vocalist Neil Starr. Andrew Hunt from Buffalo Summer/Valhalla Awaits filled in for some live dates including a headline spot at 2021’s Steelhouse Festival while the band looked for a full time replacement for Starr.

In January 2022 the band announced Bootyard Bandits front man Joel Peters as their new vocalist after completing a UK tour with PCATBS. The band have always been a force to be reckoned with live and with this latest release ‘Live in the North’ we have been given a great insight into just how good they are as a live unit. I have been lucky enough to have seen the band live numerous times now, and they never disappoint. The album was recorded in 2021 at the Independent in Sunderland and the track listing has a dusting of both studio albums as well as some Motorhead classics and material from Phil’s solo album ‘Old Lions Still Roar’.

Kicking off with a rousing rendition of ‘We’re the Bastards’ the band are on fire throughout the set. Joel Peters sounds like he’s always been there fronting the band, he really is a fine front man, engaging the crowd and singing his heart out. The Bastard Sons themselves are all fine musicians and play a blinder here as always. Drummer Dane is world class and shows his fine-tuned chops here driving the band all the way. Todd and Tyla sound great, Todd’s crunching guitar sound works perfectly and Tyla has that rumbling bass sound that’s worthy of every Lemmy lick he plays. Then we have Papa Campbell himself, still playing like his life depended on it every night, he really is an inspiration. ‘Bite My Tongue’ swaggers along nicely, ‘Rock Out’ sounds revitalised here with a little more pace than the Motorhead original. ‘Spiders’ grooves along with a riff that Tony Iommi would be proud of. ‘Son of a Gun’ is an absolute belter of a track that sounds so much better live. Motorhead anthem ‘Born to Raise Hell’ is full of rock n roll boogie and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. ‘High Rule’ is another track that sounds better live with its double time chorus that Dane has a ball with. ‘These Old Boots’ pumps along nicely with Peters taking on the vocals that Dee Snider of Twisted Sister provided on ‘Old Lions Still Roar’ with ease.

We are then treated to a breakneck speed version of ‘Ace of Spades’ which rolls into a clap along rendition of Hawkwind classic ‘Silver Machine’. ‘Ringleader’ brings us back to the band’s original material with a bang before we are ‘Going to Brazil’. ‘Dark Days’ does what it says on the tin, a brooding chug fest that comes into its own in a live setting. ‘Big Mouth’ from the bands debut EP is a mainstay in the bands set and always goes down a storm. The album closes with a fantastic execution of Motorhead’s ‘Killed by Death’.  

Live in the North’ is a solid representation of Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons in a live setting. A great listen from start to finish, and with 15 songs and just under an hour’s duration, you get plenty of bang for your buck. As I write this, the band are taking pre orders for a signed CD version or a T shirt and CD bundle. Get on it quick people! Oh, and fuck you Tyla Campbell!!


Buy Here

Author: Kenny Kendrick

On the hottest day of the year, the hottest ticket in town would be The Hives playing The Fleece in Bristol. As the 450 lucky punters crammed into the old venue in anticipation of seeing the Hives up close and personal for the first time in many moons they kindly wedged in this intimate show amongst their support slots around the countries football stadiums ahead of their new album due this August. As the Swedish superstars hit the stage in their wonderful new suits the fun kicked off with huge grins as the near-perfect sound was cranked up and away we go!

In the one hour the band were on stage they managed to wedge in no less than five stonking new tunes beginning with the barking ‘Bogus Operandi’ before launching an all-out aural and visual assault on our senses with the magnificent ‘Main Offender’ which led straight into ‘Walk Idiot Walk’ and I paused for a second to appreciate how many awesome songs these Swedes have in their arsenal.

The banter from Howlin’ Pelle was, as always top notch as he introduced the most excellent ‘Rigor Mortis Radio’ the frantic bop of ‘Good Samaritan’. ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’ sounded super tight (as you’d expect) but it was the new songs I was excited to hear and ‘Trapdoor Solution’ was an instant classic and exactly what I wanted to hear from the Hives in 2023 but then ‘Countdown To Shutdown’ might just have topped it with that dirty Garage Bassline thumping the band on to play harder, faster and more intensely The Hives were on fire tonight and it was fantastic to see them in such tight confines the last time I saw them was pre pandemic in a field with about 90,000 people and of course they were awesome that night but this was special.

The conquering heroes leave the stage briefly before returning to finish the job and knock out an encore of impeccable quality with ‘Come On’ followed by the epic ‘Tick Tick Boom’. They were done, no more, take a bow and get out of dodge leaving the crowd wanting more. the Hives are back and still your favourite band. A new album is coming in August and hopefully, more dates to support it where I will be down the front singing and dancing, ‘Come On’! Ladies and gentlemen The Hives are still your favourite band and on this form who could argue?

Author: Dom Daley

When I started writing this review I tried to think if there are any thrash metal bands from Ireland that I had heard of… I couldn’t think of any, and a quick Google search didn’t help. Interesting that I had sitting in my lap the new album from Dublin based thrashers Unmaker. ‘Limb From Limb’ has one foot in the glory days of thrash, the band wear their influences on their (leather studded) sleeve, I can pick up early Sepultura, Kreator, and Possessed vibes throughout the album.

Opening with the brutal ‘To War’, Unmaker show that they mean business from the off. Crunching staccato riffs, pulverising drums and shouty vocals make the perfect blend for some old school sounding FRASH!! Drop Dead is a bouncier affair with a more atmospheric approach. The title track brings us back to more breakneck riffs and some double bass gymnastics from drummer Jake.

The album is very engaging, it really grabs you from the start and makes sure that you pay attention to what’s going on. ‘Control’ has a more modern feel with a nod to Bullet For My Valentine. The instrumental Point Break starts off with some dreamy guitar work and works its way up to some impressive guitar soloing from guitarist Sean.

The second half of the album kicks off with the Machine Head-tinged Rise, another impressive track with the band showing how well they work as a unit. ‘False Disciple’ highlights vocalist Aaron, he has a touch of Billy Milano in his delivery. The album closes with the epic ‘Breathe’.

Unmaker have done themselves proud here, a strong album that definitely puts Irish Thrash on the map!

Buy Here

Author: Kenny Kendrick

We’ve reached ‘Live Evil’ in the super deluxe reissues from Black Sabbath and whilst the box sets have been of the highest standards the last few Dio year’s releases have been something else. from the quality of the packaging and what in the sets for Sabbath fans it’s been the ultimate treat as far as reissues and remastered packages go they’ve truly gone the extra mile for the fans. So ‘Live Evil’ might get its critics for featuring the remastered vinyl and the original but I guess it would be live evil overload to include an extra live show as part of this set anyway seeing as the original was culled from various live recordings as part of the tour.

In this box, you have a hard case with superb artwork from the original as well as the heavyweight records but the cream of this package is the lavish 40-page hardback book depicting the Dio era of Sabbath which had its critics but it also took the band in a different direction of creativity and threw up the two mightily impressive studio albums that provide the majority of the material on this live album. As you’d expect BMG has done a pretty amazing job on the remaster as they have done on all the Sabbath box sets thus far and the inclusion of the book to muse through whilst revelling in the remaster is a beautiful thing.

Stop moaning about having a pristine 180gm version of the original and marvel at yet another top-tier Sabbath box to add to your collection. Adding Dio to the ranks of Sabbath was always contentious due to the shadow cast by Ozzy but Dio committed 100% to the task at hand and with one of the most amazing vocals in metal he delivered on all fronts holding his own in such an iconic role. The myths and stories about the recording of this record have never gone away but the one thing I can say is his vocals stand tall and are incredible after all these years and Wyn Davies has done a brilliant job on the remastering ‘Neon Nights’, ‘Mob Rules’, ‘Heaven And Hell’ easily stand up to the interpretations of Sabbath classics such as ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Paranoid’ and the monster version of ‘The Sign Of The Southern Cross’ is still a magical highlight from any of the band’s output.

With this being the band’s first live album it stands as a true testament to the awesomeness of Ronnie James Dio’s vocals and live presence. A masterpiece in live albums for many many people and on the evidence of this box set BMG and Camp Sabbath have done yet another truly awesome job. Add live Evil to your collection as a matter of urgency. Sabbath mark ii was truly a giant and rightly so. What next? ‘Born Again’ please and give some kudos to the Gillan mark iii era of Sabbath. Buy it!

Buy Here

Author: Dom Daley