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The Classic Grand, Glasgow
Saturday 5th October

Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid

johnny main

highway to hell 4

In case you weren't aware, Hard Rock Hell run the annual Highway To Hell competition throughout the year to find the very best unsigned acts to perform at their various festivals and for the second year in succession, the final was held at the Classic Grand in Glasgow over the weekend of Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October.

A review of the winners can be found here but since the standard of the entries were so high this year (as like last year), I thought I'd write a short review of each band, so here are the other acts that featured on the Saturday night in alphabetical order...

Article continues below...

Hailing from London, were Alexa De Strange, a four piece who started well with the Gothic sounding 'Russian Roulette' which was received well by the crowd. From this point on things seems to unravel for them as the band seemed to lose focus and vocalist Frankie Lee struggled with an impending wardrobe malfunction.

alexa de strange

After the event the band explained that they had "no monitoring, no instrument mixes, (and) we couldn't hear each other or ourselves", which is a shame but these things happen to the best of bands and it can be quite disappointing when it happens at such an important gig as this.

alexa de strange

Their final song was a cover of 'Sleeping In The Fire' by American Metal band W.A.S.P. and was the best of the performances tonight but alas this wasn't enough to get the band through.

One of the numerous Northern Irish bands to feature this weekend were Belfast based four piece Baleful Creed who put in a good solid performance with their first song 'Autumn Leaves' getting a particularly good reception. Their signature song, 'Baleful Creed' (with which they closed their set), was also well received as guitarists Fin Finlay and John Allen worked in harmony to produce an almighty sound.

baleful creed

The cover song they chose was 'Third Man On The Moon' from US hard rockers Masters Of Reality during which bass player Stephen Fleming was just a mass of hair whilst drummer Mark Stewart worked hard at the back to produce a faultless performance.

baleful creed

Beggars Fixx are a Brighton based five piece Glam band fronted by singer Chazza B Bennett who is not unlike Dee Snider of Twisted Sister-fame both in look and mannerisms, whilst lead guitarist Danni Oakheart really shows what he is capable of on their high energy number 'Outta Control'.

beggars fix

Their second song is a well received cover of Hanoi Rocks' 'Day Late Dollar Short' which gives Billy Kidd a chance to show his skill on drums whilst Bennett shows how good his vocal range is.

beggars fix

Guitarist Mykki Felix plays a good solo here but this is, unfortunately, lost in the mix. Certainly the only all out Glam band this weekend, the band are pure showmen though and through and put in, overall, a very enjoyable performance.

Durham based Fallen Mafia started off well with the fast and frantic 'Lock And Load' which featured an accomplished guitar solo from Chris Johnson whilst bassist Andy Milburn throws Metal poses and headbangs his way throughout the band's set. Although vocalist Hannah Neil seemed quite nervous at the start by the time the band launch into their second number, 'Down', she seems a lot more comfy on stage - maybe her nerves have been replaced with a rush of adrenaline.

fallen mafia

The band's cover is 'Holding Out For A Hero' (as originally sung by Bonnie Tyler) which is given the heavy treatment although Neil does seem to struggle slightly but it's a very good rendition nonetheless - all in all a good overall effort from the band.

fallen mafia

Leeds three piece Honeycomb Love manage a respectable cover of '53rd And 3rd' by The Ramones but it's their self penned song 'Bad Taste In Women' that gets a terrific reception. Drummer Shaun Marsh works hard at the back whilst guitarist Matt Hipkiss produces a very good solo.

Of their five song set though, it's 'Run For Your Money' that made a lasting impression on me. Each member of the band gives it everything they've got to produce one of the best performances of the night and on the strength of tonight, this is definitely a band that I'll be keeping an eye on in the future.

Last band of the night are Glasgow four piece Temple Dawn who show that despite bands from all over the country appearing over the weekend, there's still an abundance of local talent available too. Drummer Martin Hutchison holds a steady beat on the first number 'Battlefield' before vocalist Kevin McConnachie takes charge of the stage with an outstanding performance of 'Breathe'.

temple dawn

The band's final number is a cover of 'Go With The Flow' by Queens Of The Stone Age and it brings to a close not only a very accomplished set but an evening of great music.

Alexa De Strange -
Baleful Creed -
Beggarz Fixx -
Fallen Mafia -
Honeycomb Love -
Temple Dawn -

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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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