UPDATE April 2019:
THE DEEP-Watching You (independent)
I remember seeing THE DEEP many times. The band consists of former members of DEEP MACHINE that performed live at the Dynamo in Eindhoven in the mid-eighties. After the release of their full-length album "Premonition", it became rather quiet around the band and now they're back with a vengeance. This eight track single is called an EP, although it's more like a second full-length CD because the songs are worthy of over forty minutes of brilliant NWOBHM. Just take a bite at the ballsy and catchy opener "Prepare To Rock". Obviously, the band proves that they still rock at full force. I bet, you will sing along to the chorus after hearing it for the first time. This song grabs you by the balls right away and turns back the time to the good ol' heydays of the NWOBHM. The harmony vocals work just fine and the guitar solo will most likely give you the chills. After all, the two guitarists are well armed and forever looking for a chance to fire their solos at you. The next song "Dead Man Walking" has got the same power. Just have a listen to that magnificent voice of front man Tony Coldham, who was one of the original members of DEEP MACHINE that I was talking about earlier. He was also part of TYTAN for a short while and I'm so glad that we saw them in Kortrijk, Belgium a couple of years ago. He did two shows there, one with THE DEEP and one with TYTAN and both were just incredible. The guitar work on "Dead Man Walking" is really breathtaking. Check out the amazing guitar solo here, which will make you bang your head even harder. By the way, the first two tracks are recorded with Alan Mogg on drums, while the second two studio tracks have Fraser Powell on drums. Just to set the record straight. Title track "Watching You" brings some rest after that overwhelming and dynamic start. The other ingredients are the same. The song is very catchy and it has some incredible guitar licks. The eyes on the sleeve are looking at me, as if they see what I'm writing. I'd better be positive, as they probably know where I'm living, too. There is also a slightly creepy feeling in this song, like ALICE COOPER does it, who is the master of creating a horror type of atmosphere. In "Taking Over", the band steps on the gas again. And although the NWOBHM era is far behind us, many bands are still there and they keep on playing that particular heavy metal sound of these glory years in the British music history. I think that if the band had released these four songs in the early eighties, they would definitely have received a lot of amazing reviews. They stay very close to the sound that was presented back in those days and that's exactly the way I like it. They don't care about innovation or any commercial bullshit and they just stay true to that amazing original NWOBHM sound of the 1980s. These four songs are a throwback in time and a must to every devoted NWOBHM fan. However, this is only just the beginning because the EP contains four more songs. These are four live tracks recorded at the British Steel Festival in Fismes, France in 2016. I hear some air raids go off. Something is about to happen here. This is your final warning! Hide in your shelters!! There is no escape!! THE DEEP is in the house and they are going to take you by storm. I love it, when songs are starting this way. You know that something special is about to happen. And there is, I can tell you that much. The sound quality of the four live tracks is really superb and above all, it sounds very powerful. The band starts off with "Premonition". What a freaking and amazing song that is. Guitar solos keep coming. Mick Feleppa and Paul Smith are the guitar wizards here, who share equal leads, which is topped by that powerful voice of Tony Coldham. This sounds like NWOBHM at its very best to me. "The Rider" is on next and this is my personal favorite track of the "Premonition" album. It has got a very catchy hook and again you can easily sing along to the chorus, if you want to and who doesn't? "All I Want" is also made to sing along to with the catchy chorus parts. The good vibe of a live band is being captured here very well and you almost can feel that you're among the audience, when you listen to these recordings. The EP closes with a live rendition of "Night-Stalker", which is another song on my list of favorites from the "Premonition" album. One more time, you can sing along to it on top of your voice. The speed change in the middle is really great. The two guitar players are standing in the spotlight once again. What a treat for all the fans of this band. Four brand new tracks, four amazing live songs and two spooky eyes staring at you. The "Watching You" EP is more than you would expect. It's the power of the live tracks that really blew me away, but it's also the strength of the four new studio tracks that keeps me going until the next full-length album by THE DEEP. This will be without guitar player Mick Feleppa, who sadly enough left the band. They are still searching for a suitable replacement. But how can you replace a brilliant guitar player like Mick? I hope that they will, because this band is simply too good to die young. Good luck to Mick and thank you very much for these magical guitar moments on this eight tracker. Buy or feel sorry for the rest of your live. THE DEEP are Tony Coldham on vocals, Mick Feleppa on guitar, Paul Smith on guitar, Phil Reeve on bass and Alan Mogg on drums. Go to: http://www.thedeepband.co.uk or http://www.facebook.com/TheDeepUK for all the latest information about this incredible band.
(8,9/10- Toine van Poorten)
UPDATE October 2019:
SACRILEGE-The Court Of The Insane (Pure Underground Records)
Welcome to our request corner. Sometimes, I also write a review on demand by certain band members or a record label or whatsoever. I wish, I would have more time to write about CDs, that don't belong in the Metal Maidens or Holland Heavy Metal section, which is already a fulltime second job, next to my daily job during the week. This time, I'd like to write about a band, that surely belongs to the cult metal scene in England. I'm talking about SACRILEGE. Their new CD is called "The Court Of The Insane" and it contains ten brand new tracks, which will knock you off your feet in about fifty-five minutes. The court is entering the room, so all rise and pay some attention. From the very first notes on, it's quite obvious that this is not a standard party metal CD. The dark tones will introduce you to "Celestial City", the place where SACRILEGE is at its very best. It's a cold and dark place, where evil dwells and horror rages on. The low tuned vocals fit just perfectly here and the creepy atmosphere will get you in the right mood. If you're into some good horror type of metal, then this is definitely something for you. Their sober and down-hearted sound can also be very up-tempo at times, although their message is certainly not positive. Have a listen to "Lies" and judge for yourself, if it's true or just one big lie. Well, I can assure you, that this is true as hell. Check out the horrific high scream at the beginning or the guitar solo in this fast rocker for that matter. What a killer song and I'm definitely telling you the truth. Those fast, heavy pounding drum beats of drum-beast Neil Turnbull, who is referred to as "The Devil Himself" in the CD booklet are stunning and f*cking heavy. That's exactly the place where he's living, when he is not behind his drum kit with his glow in the dark drum sticks. He's a true legend in my eyes and if you dig very deep into your memory, you will remember him from his days in DERVISH. Talk about cult metal or what??!! In the meantime, we have arrived at the title track of this album, which is called "The Court Of The Insane". SACRILEGE knows to capture very well, that this court is not the average one. Just listen to the end: it's a court that rules with madness and it's a really gruesome place. I hear anger, I hear fear and I hear the truth. This is a place where you can get confused, where there isn't justice for all, like in a usual court. Check out the guitar work and the almost aggressive sounding shouts near the end. "Bring Out The Dead" is next and my mind directly goes out to the "Monty Python And The Holy Grail" movie, in which the dead collectors have that hilarious part with the horses pulling the car on which the dead bodies have been carried away. Oops, I got a little distracted here and this song by SACRILEGE is something completely different and they are not funny at all. The dead collectors have arrived and this is some serious stuff. So far, I would compare the sound of SACRILEGE as a good mix between GHOST and DEATH SS, to name two bands that get very close to the subjects that this band is dealing with and also musically, they have got a lot in common. This is heavy metal with some dark elements and a horror kind of approach. Oh, and did I mention the fantastic guitar solos already?? "Depression" continues with a leading role for Jeff Roland on bass. He's a killing machine, he's 'Mr. Rock and Roll' himself. The music however keeps me far away from a depression. On the contrary, it gives me a lot of strength. "No Bequeath" has some nice speed and mood changes and the absolute stunning guitar work of Dave Lear, who replaced Tony Vanner, at least on this CD. What an enormous power he presents in his playing here. Think about Brad Gillis in his heydays, fast and raw, just the way I like it. "The Prophet" starts with some moody vocal parts, that hold the middle between King Diamond and Ozzy Osbourne, at least there is the same sadness in Bill's voice. By the way, if you don't know their front man yet, just let me introduce you to the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Bill Beadle. as he's the man behind all those sick thoughts and lyrics of SACRILEGE. I'll take my hat off with deep respect for this man and make a very deep bow for creating so many beautiful albums over the years. It's all done for the love of heavy metal and every album contains so much high quality, that I really don't understand why this band never got any bigger than the underground scene. "Unhinged Mind" has got some early MOONSPELL and GHOST influences and the guitar parts sound more than magnificent. If the songs weren't that good already, they would definitely bring them up to a much higher level, because of the instrumentation. This band definitely knows the drill. "I Can Hear The Silence" is next. It has got a nice and very catchy hook that would do justice in a live situation, if you'd ask my honest opinion. I'm still telling you no lies. The last song will bring you back to the world of today. You slowly crawl outside the dark mind of SACRILEGE and return to a more airy subject. Get your bike and 'Ride Free" and feel good. That's the perfect song to escape the dark thoughts of Bill Beadle and SACRILEGE, who astonished me once again with the high level of hard rock and heavy metal on this brand new album. You will find the verdict at the bottom of this review and I suggest to play it as loud as you possibly can. You can not argue against the verdict of a judge, can you?! SACRILEGE consists of Bill Beadle on vocals, rhythm guitar and keyboards, Neil 'The Devil Himself' Turnbull on drums, Jeff Roland on bas and Dave Lear on guitar. Tony Vanner plays lead guitar on "Lies", "I Can Hear The Silence" and "Ride Free". For more info about this demonic NWOBHM band, visit their official website at: http://www.sacrilegenwobhm.com or go to their FB page at: http://www.facebook.com/sacrilegerock.
(8,5/10- Toine van Poorten)