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steve goldby

Pythia. Riding For Glory...

The two best female fronted current British Metal bands went head to head in London for a true display of Girl Power. The real kind and not the purile, brainless poppy bilge that will not be mentioned on this site.

Mortad's lead singer Somi Arian is actually Iranian but she is permanently resident in London now and did class the band as "from London" from the Borderline stage tonight so I'm marking them down as British for the sake of the above paragraph.

There was real, true talent on display tonight but it won't get a single line in the glossies or the cheap, tatty popular magazines because it's music that requires a little bit of thought and effort on the part of the listener, something that the braindead fans of today's airbrushed popsters who command all the fame and headlines by rising on the coat-tails of stupidity and banality are incapable of doing.

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It's a sad, sad fact of life that bullshit records by airhead bilge merchants like Britney Spears and Cheryl Cole can command millions of listeners and sales whilst proper talent like that on display at The Borderline tonight goes, relatively speaking, unnoticed.

But this is a discussion that has been had a million times over. It was exactly the same when Warlock, Rock Goddess, Zed Yago and Girlschool brought out their first releases in the 80s (I know because I was there!) and it will probably never change.

But that makes what these two very special acts are doing even more impressive as they've worked - and are still working - their way up the ladder the hard way and any success they get will have been earned the right way and not 'manufactured'.

Yes, both bands deserve a much bigger audience and that is surely (hopefully?) going to come because what you have here is real belief in what they purvey, which is a high level of intelligent music designed to garner emotions and encourage radical thought and free speech and give you faith that within today's musical arts, there exists some who will stand up for what they believe is truly the right way and not just jump on the first Cowell owned bandwagon that rolls into town.

Mortad. Hitting 'The Heights'...

Both bands are quite unique and very different in musical styles, yet the pairing fitted together very well indeed. An inspired billing if you like.

Mortad opened proceedings and from the off, Somi had the crowd on the edge and up for it. The setlist flowed with each track hitting you like a juggernaut and leaving you open mouthed and wide eyed. Mortad carry a big fucking sledgehammer and you better duck if you see it coming towards you.

This is a band with a seriously powerful armoury and some seriously interesting guitar work going on, courtesy of Andrew Matthews of Snakebite who was standing in for Johnny Hughes. This could be the element that gets them more noticed than their comtemporaries because it gives their thrashy, deathy, black sound a different dimension and provides the listener with plenty of surprises along the way.

Joseph Perumal looked so comfortable on the bass - totally in command and at one with the music. It was a pleasure to see a band so accomplished and with a front lady like Somi, who is truly capable of lighting up any audience, the sky really could be the limit for Mortad.

Mortad are currently advertising for a second guitarist and once that position is filled, their sound could be taken to a whole new level. I will speculate and say that the second guitarist will be responsible mainly for rhythm, thus freeing up Johnny to expand his lead sound even further and take it to a new dimension. For sure, this will be interesting.

I've said a lot about Pythia in recent months and tonight just reinforced the whole lot.

Click here for my review of Pythia at the 100 Club supporting Dragonforce, click here for my review of the album launch gig at The Borderline and here for 'An Insight Into 'The Serpent's Curse' With Emily Ovenden'.

There's a mystical, ethereal quality to Pythia which does not dilute their Metalness in any way at all. There's also a real determination in the band, one which coupled with a solid understanding between the band members and incredibly strong songs performed at a staggeringly high level makes Pythia possibly the hottest prospect in Metal today.

The band's confidence seems to have grown since the last time I saw them, not that it was ever lacking before. But this time round they seemed even more assured than on previous outings and this obviously bodes well and is with good reason.

The release of 'The Circle' video moved the band up a level and the forthcoming release of 'The Serpent's Curse' album in new territories should do the same.

But the brutal reality is that there is still a long way to go before they receive the success their creativity so badly deserves and it will take true Metal spirit to travel that long road to the end. Pythia are probably going to have to pay their dues in full but they have the spirit to do just that and once they do get to the top, they will have earned their plaudits in fine style and fully deserve them.

Success: The favourable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors. "I've been in purgatory, I've been in chains for oh so many years, And it's a mystery, How this neglect can bring me ever near."

There is no decent YouTube footage of this gig so here are a couple of select studio tracks from Britain's best two female fronted Metal bands.

Wannabe? No - Pythia and Mortad just are!



Betray My Heart
Sarah (Bury Her)
Kissing The Knife
Just A Lie
The Circle
Army Of The Damned
Cry Of Our Nation
No Compromise


All That's Born Must Be Destroyed
Waste of My Rage
The Heights
Feels Like Suffocation
The Myth of Purity
By Default
The Voice
That Which Is Humane


Back to Steve's Heavy Metal Chronicles index page



Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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